The 3 most common foot problems when running!

By Podiatrist Chris Mccormick

As the weather rolls out of the winter doldrums and into the bright light of spring, it’s the perfect time to dust off those running shoes and get moving again! The days are getting longer and warmer, and the running event calendar is building; it’s already less than 3 months to the Melbourne Marathon! As we increase our running distance and frequency in preparation for the running season, so too does the injury rate, especially to those beautiful, hard working pedals at the bottom of your leg – your feet!

Here are the most common running related injuries of the foot, and how to successfully manage them:

Plantar fasciitis: This is the most common injury that occurs to the foot due to running. While its name suggests it’s an inflammatory condition, this is misleading as this type of heel pain is due to many factors, including nerve compression, fascial adaptation and the loss of shock attenuation. People with this type of pain report morning stiffness out of bed, pain after rest and often report soreness while running. Thankfully, the Podiatry team at Pinnacle Health Group is well equipped to get your back on your feet! The range of treatment options includes: strapping or orthotics, footwear adjustments, foot mobilisation, running re-training and adjustments and strengthening of the foot or ankle through a tailored programme. We also offer treatments such as massage, dry needling and shockwave therapy. Shockwave therapy especially has been shown to be very effective in reducing pain quickly.

Forefoot pain: This is pain under the ball of the foot, commonly reported while running, especially under the 2nd and 3rd toe joints. People who are experiencing this pain often report a dull ache or shooting sensation under the ball of their foot. Most commonly, this pain occurs due to an inefficient movement pattern of the feet, resulting in injury due to overload. Treatment is focused on restoring normal foot function through orthotics, strapping or padding, foot mobilisation, dry needling, and foot or ankle strengthening.

Stress fractures: We most commonly see stress fractures when people ramp up their training too quickly. Our bodies are great at adapting to new stimuli, but we need time to do this. People will describe a dull ache like sensation through a bone, which can sometimes ache in bed at night. Stress fractures feel worse when undergoing high loading activities such as running or jumping. A period of modified rest is often needed initially to allow the bone to heel. During the rest period, we aim to address all the risk factors that contributed to the problem through dry needling, strengthening of the foot or ankle, foot mobilisations and possibly orthotics.

Our feet are amazing things, they have 26 bones, 33 joints and 33 muscles or tendons per foot. The best way to avoid any foot injury is to slowly build yourself up with your running frequency or distance, giving your body and feet the time they need to adapt. If you suffer from any pain in your feet or legs, don’t delay, book an appointment with our podiatrists.

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