Did you know that one of the most beneficial ways to lead a healthy life is to incorporate cardio into your workout routine? While it proves to be one of the best ways to stay fit, unfortunately, running can also lead to injury. Despite your feet’s extraordinary resilience, high-impact activities can put tremendous pressure on your joints, muscles, feet, and ankles. Ouch! Without sufficient care, your feet can become vulnerable to injury.
Although a running injury can occur in numerous parts of the body, the lower limbs tend to be the areas most affected. Whether you’re into CrossFit or casual morning jogs, you’ve likely experienced one or more of the following running injuries. Luckily for you, we’ve got some tips and tricks to get you back on your feet and running in no time!
1. Ankle Sprains
It’s no coincidence that this injury is at the top of our list—an ankle sprain is one of the most common sports-related injuries. In short, ankle sprains are torn or stretched ligaments due to abnormal movement within the ankle.
Although most cases are mild, sprains can have painful consequences depending on the location and severity. Low ankle sprains are less severe and can likely be remedied using the RICE method—rest, ice, compression, and elevation. High ankle sprains, on the other hand, are more severe and may require special care. If you’re an athlete or runner, a high ankle sprain can leave you on the sidelines for several weeks. Additionally, if you hear a “pop” when your ankle is twisted or you notice swelling, that’s an indicator that you should seek medical attention.
Many people who experience ankle sprains don’t require any professional medical attention. However, there are indicators to help you determine when you should see a doctor about an ankle sprain.
2. Plantar Fasciitis
Regardless of anatomy or gait, most people have experienced discomfort in their heels. Within the sole of your foot is a band of tissue called the plantar fascia. Over time (and with excessive use), this band can become inflamed and swell, making the foot less flexible. This painful swelling is classified as plantar fasciitis and is characterized as a sharp, stabbing pain on the bottom of the foot—almost as if you've stepped on a Lego.
If you think you have plantar fasciitis, be on the lookout for signs of increased pain in the morning and after sitting for extended periods. Additionally, if you're someone who frequently wears unsupportive footwear, has flat feet or very high arches, you are more likely to experience plantar fasciitis.
Looking to get a leg-up on preventing or relieving your heel pain? Consider doing stretches to help prevent plantar fasciitis, investing in shoe inserts, and adding foot care to your self-care routine. As always, if you experience intense ongoing pain, consult your physician as soon as possible.
3. Stress Fracture
Because running requires constant impact on your feet, excessive strain can cause a stress fracture or a small break in your foot bones. Like many other running injuries, stress fractures most commonly occur over time as a repetitive and gradual discomfort begins to worsen. Without proper care, a stress fracture can worsen and cause additional complications as broken bones cannot provide adequate support. To prevent stress fractures, be sure to get plenty of vitamin D, wear appropriate footwear, and gradually increase to more strenuous physical activities.
If you feel as if you have experienced a stress fracture, it's important to schedule an appointment with a foot and ankle specialist to determine the best course of care for your injury. Don’t wait—let our expert doctors provide you with personal, specialized care. Visit our stress fracture information page to learn more.
In summary, although these injuries can range in severity, it's of utmost importance to take precautions while partaking in activities that put stress on your feet and ankles. To prevent or reduce the chances of sustaining a running injury, consider incorporating the following activities in your daily routine:
- Warm-up and cool-down after exercising
- Take breaks and rest often
- Wear proper footwear
- Slowly increase exercise intensity
If you’re experiencing one or more of these common running injuries, don't hesitate to seek treatment until the pain becomes unbearable. Let one of our expert podiatrists help determine the best course of treatment to get you back to living your life pain-free! Visit our contact page or call (717) 757-3537 to schedule an appointment.