Runners are tough people. You can see them jogging through heat, splashing through rain, and tromping through snow. They find ways to hit the trail at any time and love to push forward to new goals. All of this is admirable and makes runners excellent athletes. The hard impacts from pounding the ground, however, can take their toll on your body and lead to common running injuries. If you’re not careful, the sport you love can lead to all sorts of pain.
The Impact of Running
Your feet allow you to run. They absorb the hard impacts when your foot strikes the ground, support your body weight, and push you forward for the next stride. All of the bones and supporting tissues in your lower limbs have to work together to make this happen. In doing so, they absorb the shock of each step and distribute your bodyweight evenly.
Over time, though, the repetitive pounding and motions can wear out your feet, leading to overuse injuries. Sometimes worn out shoes change your running mechanics, stressing your foot and exhausting it. You end up with painful problems that limit your ability to run. Overuse conditions aren’t the only injuries, of course. Sometimes you land a footstep wrong, or trip and fall. Accidents on the trail can create sudden, painful problems that put you out of commission for a while as well.
Common Running Injuries
Overuse and general accidents can lead to a variety of injuries in runners, but some are especially common:
Plantar Fasciitis – The most frequent source of heel pain, this inflammation in the bottom of the heel develops when overuse strains the plantar fascia.
Achilles Tendinitis – Overwork and tightness in your Achilles can create painful inflammation that makes pushing off the ground uncomfortable.
Shin Splints – Repetitive hard impacts can stress the tissues in the shin and create inflammation and swelling there.
Metatarsalgia – Excessive pressure and hard impacts can damage the ball of the foot, creating a variety of issues.
Stress Fractures – Eventually, overwork from repetitive pounding can stress your bones to the point that they crack.
Ankle Sprains – A sudden twist of the ankle joint damages the stabilizing ligaments and makes running very painful.
Taking Care of Your Feet
Dealing with common running injuries means taking steps to address any and all pain when it arises—and not waiting until the pain forces you to stop. The sooner you have the condition diagnosed, the easier it can be addressed. Our team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. will carefully examine your lower limbs, your gait, and even your shoes to determine what might be the source of your pain and injury. From there we can help you handle the problem.
Typically healing does mean taking time off from running. While no runner likes to hear that, a brief break from your regular routines is better than suffering a much longer recovery process down the road. You might need to change or replace your running shoes, or even start using orthotics to support your feet better. Physical therapy exercises to stretch and strengthen your lower limbs may help as well.
Running is a great sport and can be very healthy. You just have to be aware that it also poses some risks for your lower limbs—and be prepared to deal with those problems. Injuries in runners can escalate the longer they go untreated. Don’t wait until you’re sidelined to get help. Contact Dr. Oberholtzer-Classen and the team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. in Castle Pines and Parker, CO, for more information or an appointment. Just call (303) 805-5156 or use the web request form to reach us.
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