Feet are one of the most important parts of the body, keeping us upright, mobile, and balanced for life’s everyday activities. But runners have a special relationship with feet. Feet are the reason for their running success—but feet can also let runners down when they need them the most.
In this blog, the Arlington podiatrists at AllCare Foot & Ankle Center will outline the most common foot and ankle injuries in runners. You’ll learn the causes, signs, and symptoms of these injuries, as well as ways to avoid these injuries so you can keep running and making fitness improvements.
- Plantar Fasciitis – Inflammation at the intersection of the fascial ligament and the heel bone. This injury causes pain and swelling on the bottom of the foot, and typically occurs due to excessive pronation of the foot during running motions. To treat this condition, use pain-relievers and anti-inflammatory medications, wear custom orthotics, and take a break from running until your pain and swelling subsides.
- Achilles Tendonitis – Inflammation of the achilles tendon near the heel. This condition is usually caused by overuse of the feet and ankles from excessive running. This condition will resolve itself, so treat pain with pain-relievers, use specialized achilles wraps, and once again, take a break from running to ease your pain and swelling.
- Metatarsal Stress Fracture – a broken bone in the foot caused by overuse. It takes anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks for these fractures to heal—follow the RICE protocol, and use crutches to keep weight off of your healing foot.
- Ankle Sprain – By far, the most common running-related injury, usually caused by an accidental twist of the ankle outward from leg. For treatment, follow the RICE protocol, wear a brace, and use crutches if ankle pain and swelling is particularly severe.
- Subungual Hematoma (Blackened Toenail) – A blood blister that underneath the toenail, usually of the big toe. The blisters “scabs” creating a black appearance under the toenail. Caused by a runner wearing shoes that are too narrow or short. Subungual Hematoma can take many forms, and puts you at risk for infection, so pay a visit to your podiatrist to survey your treatment options.
- Ingrown Toenail – A toenail (usually of the big toe) that grows into surrounding soft tissue and causes pain, discomfort, and sometimes, infection. Occurs most commonly in runners with flat feet/low arches, as this puts a great deal of pressure on the big toe during the running motion. In cases of infection, antibiotics will be necessary to treat the problem, along with partial or full removal of the toenail.
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome – Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome is a pinched nerve on the inside of the ankle, which causes pain and discomfort. This is an overuse injury, and increased activity will only increase tarsal tunnel pain. Custom orthotics and shoes can quickly treat tarsal tunnel conditions, but surgery might be necessary for more extreme cases.
- Sesamoiditis – Coining its name from the “sesame seed” bones in the ball of the foot, sesamoiditis is the inflammation of these bones due to high-impact running and overuse. There are many ways to treat sesamoiditis, but the most effective way is to keep weight off of these bones for reduced inflammation.
- Big Toe Joint Injuries – The big toe joint can experience a variety of injuries that cause pain and swelling, including bone spurs, stress fractures, “joint jamming,” or arthritis. There are orthotics that can relieve pain for just about all of these issues, and cortisone injections can relieve pain and temporarily increase mobility. For fractures, at least six weeks of walking on crutches with a brace or cast will be needed.
- Peroneal Tendonitis – Tendonitis of the tendon that runs from the ankle to the outside of the foot. Runners with this condition will usually experience pain on the outside of the foot or ankle. For treatment, custom orthotics, pain relievers, and rest will do the trick.
If you suspect you have any of these injuries, pay a visit to AllCare Foot & Ankle Center to learn about your treatment options. With a little rest and the right treatment regimen, we can help you get back and your feet and back on your runs. Schedule an appointment today!