Foot and Ankle Health Tips for Runners

05/26/2016

Your feet and ankles provide balance and support for your entire body, absorbing shock and propelling you forward. However, improper foot and ankle treatment may lead to pain or serious injuries.

4 Common Foot and Ankle Problems

  1. Toe pain and blisters from friction with shoes often results from running in shoes that are too small.
  2. High arches are likely to be poor at absorbing force from running, leading to lower back, knee, or hip pain.
  3. Flat feet typically have too much mobility and not enough support. Tendon pain on the inside of the ankle and knee or arch discomfort at the heel (plantar fasciitis) may also occur.
  4. Pronation is the ankle’s natural flexibility to self-adjust, maintain balance, and dispel shock where the foot lands on when running. Problems occur when an ankle is unable to neutralize a mid-stance when the foot lands on the ground, instead tilting too far inward or outward causing a foot or ankle injury.

 Foot and Ankle Pain Prevention

  1. Dry feet help to avoid blistering and fungal infections.
  2. Good (low impact) running surfaces may prevent injury.
  3. Running breaks reduce the impact to your feet and ankles.
  4. Start slowly, building up your distance, speed, and endurance in increments.
  5. Appropriate shoe inserts may also reduce pain and strain to your feet, knees, ankles, hips, and/or lower back.Immediately address any foot and ankle pain or discomfort by consulting a health care specialist. Rest, treatment, and modifying your training program are essential to healing and preventing further injury.
  6. Proper footwear designed for running and your specific foot and ankle conditions can help prevent pain and injury. Some athletic shoe websites have questionnaires that may help determine the right shoe for you.

 

For more information about proper foot and ankle health, contact a Concentra health specialist or physical therapist or a podiatrist. Our physical therapists can provide a detailed analysis of your running style and recommend modifications for injury recovery and performance improvements.