Running is an activity that helps keep you in shape, maintain a healthy weight, and build muscle. But running can also put stress on your feet and ankles and result in injuries. If you are new to running, there are some safety tips to consider that can help you ease into a routine and keep your feet healthy.
Avoid Running Injuries With the Right Shoes
Injuries from running can happen for a variety of reasons, including wearing the wrong type of shoes. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the shoes you wear play the biggest role in preventing injuries due to running. You can consult with a podiatrist for recommendations on specific types and styles of running shoes based on your gait, foot type, and activity level. Running shoes should be comfortable as soon as you put them on and not need to be “broken in.” When purchasing shoes for running, you want to make sure they have cushioning, arch support, and room in the toes. Not wearing the proper shoes can cause foot pain and lead to problems such as:
- Ingrown or black toenails
- Ankle sprains
- Plantar fasciitis
How to Avoid Common Running Injuries
In addition to wearing the right type of shoes, new runners should consider these other safety tips:
- Start slow. You want to ease into running gradually to avoid the risk of injury. Shin splints are one common injury suffered by new runners who try to run too much, too soon. To avoid shin splints, start off slow and work your way up to longer distances and speed.
- Warm up and cool down. It is important to warm up before a run and to cool down after. Warming up and cooling down can stretch and strengthen the muscles in the feet and legs and help prevent injuries caused from tight or overworked muscles.
- Mix up your routine. To avoid repetitive strain on your feet, mix up your running routine. Running on different surfaces, for different times and distances, and at a different pace can all help take strain off your feet. Running injuries such as Achilles tendonitis are due to overuse. These injuries can often be avoided by mixing up your routine.
- Take time to rest. As part of your running routine, you want to have rest days to give your feet and body time to recover. If you feel pain while running, take a break, and see if the pain eases up.
- Wash your feet daily. Running shoes can trap in moisture and cause conditions such as athlete’s foot. To avoid this, wash your feet daily, and be sure to dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes.
- Use custom orthotics. If you have a problem with pronation, consider using custom orthotics inside your running shoes. Injuries such as runner’s knee are caused by overpronation of the foot. Orthotics can put the foot in proper position while running to help avoid this injury. Orthotics can also provide extra support and padding where you may need it.
When to See a Podiatrist
Many running injuries can be treated conservatively by:
- Applying ice
- Using compression to help reduce swelling
- Elevating the foot
- Taking an over-the-counter medication to help with pain and inflammation
More serious injuries may require surgery to repair any tears or fractures. Some signs that the injury should not be ignored and you should seek immediate medical attention are:
- Swelling or redness
- Feeling warmth
- Persistent pain
- Hearing a popping sound when you were injured
- Unable to bear weight on the foot
If you have pain that is lingering or getting worse after you run, contact the team at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists. We can examine your feet to determine the right type of shoe to fit your personal needs and create a treatment plan to help keep your feet safe, pain free, and healthy. To schedule an appointment in our Grapevine or Keller office, fill out our online contact form, or call us today.