How important is improving performance for a runner? Obviously, speed is one of the more important abilities that every runner should possess. It does not matter if you are a sprinter, marathoner, cross-country runner or a jogger, improving performance requires your feet to be healthy.
According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, keeping runners’ feet in optimum condition can be challenging when faced with foot problems. What are these common challenges to runners’ feet?
The complexity of the human foot can be likened to the masterpieces of the great masters of the arts. This is because the intricate interconnection of bones, ligaments, and tendons gives us the mobility and stability to do daily chores as well as more stressful and intensive ones like running. Despite the strength of its complexity, the foot is not completely spared from stresses and injuries; more so if you are a runner.
There are many risks for runners’ feet and if not immediately treated, it can lead to more serious and damaging conditions. One of the more common challenges for runners is the condition known as neuroma. This happens when a nerve is pinched just between the toes of your feet.
This results in numbness, pain, and burning sensation usually around the ball of your foot. One of the best ways to deal with this condition is to make sure you have supportive running shoes that offer adequate padding & lots of space for the toes to move, without causing the joint space around the neuroma to be tight. An arch support with a metatarsal pad may also help.
- Heel Pain
You don’t have to be a runner to experience heel pain. Are you one of those who have experienced this type of foot pain at one time or another? For runners, especially marathoners, this is quite possibly one of the most common complaints.
This is because this condition results in the inflammation of the plantar fasciitis or the ligament responsible for holding up the arch of your feet. The pain is the result of the inflammation.
For many athletes, the cause is often traced to overpronation as well as faulty mechanics of the foot. Usually, pressure is unequally applied and distributed to the inside of their feet, which results in heel pain. Runners also have a penchant for overusing their shoes. It is important to point out that heel pain can also be attributed to wearing shoes that are either too soft or worn out.
This is where the importance of stretching before doing any strenuous activity comes in. Stretching exercises for the feet will help a lot in easing the pain. It is also important to use running shoes that provide ample arch support and have a sturdy design and material specific to the type of running that you do.
An arch support designed to support the foot & prevent overpronation will also be of help.
This type of foot condition is often associated to engaging in intense activities without giving your foot ample time to rest and recover. For many runners there are usually warning signs before its onset; which when ignored can lead to a very painful and irritating experience.
Tendonitis actually comes in different forms depending on the area that is attacked. One of the most common is at the Achilles. Many runners who feel the warning signs and slight pain usually resort to resting, using ice, and stretching their foot. Beginners who get carried away are normally prone to having tendonitis. Again, this is where the importance of stretching before doing any strenuous activity comes in. It is also important to use running shoes that provide ample support, especially at the heel area.
An arch support designed to support the foot & prevent overstretching of the tendon may also be of help.
- Broken Bones
With so many bones in our feet, it is not surprising that you will encounter at least one broken bone at one point in your life especially if you are a runner. The mere pounding of your foot on the pavement is enough to cause fractures. However, what is normally misunderstood with this condition is that many runners believe that broken bones make it impossible to walk, let alone to run.
This wrong understanding about broken bones often lead to runners not being aware of the condition. The reality is that normally it would take a couple of days before pain and swelling can be experienced, especially when dealing with a stress fracture. Just to be on the safe side, if you suspect that you have a sprain or fracture, you may want to RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate) it. Quality footwear & a good arch support helps to relieve stress on the feet during running, so can also help protect the bones in your feet from the effects of pounding hard ground.
Are you a runner? Then you definitely have to be on the lookout for these foot conditions. Of course, even if you are not a runner you should take good care of your feet. Get in touch with Foot Solutions in your area and protect your feet today!