Are you new to the running? Starting out on your New Years resolution? Getting fit trying to follow the couch to 5km? Or is running a way of life for you?
There are many benefits to running. It helps build strong bones and muscles, improves cardiovascular fitness as well as clearing the mind. And its free, all you need is a good pair of runners and the open road. Unfortunately like all sports there are certain risks. Keep reading to see how you can notice and prevent these common foot injuries.
The Achilles Tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It is a band of tissue attaching your calf muscle to your heel bone. Although the achilles tendon can hold up to 7 times your body weight, it is prone to injury.
Achilles Tendonitis is a painful and debilitating condition where the tendon becomes inflamed at the back of your heel. It affects up to 20% of runners especially recreational joggers and runners who have not trained or conditioned themselves properly.
As a result of constant stress, micro tears occur in the end of the tendon causing local inflammation to the back of the heel. You pain feel pain on pressure when touching the back of your leg or a sharp sensation when your heel touches the ground.
To prevent achilles tendonitis it is important to warm up your legs and ankles before hitting the road. Make sure your runners are shock absorbing and after your run always allow yourself 5-10 mins to stretch out correctly.
Blisters are small pockets of fluid which occur after prolonged friction to the skin, particularly from shoes which don’t fit properly. Sometimes if there is prolonged exposure to friction, blisters can fill with blood.
Never ever burst a blister!
When new skin grows underneath the blister, your body reabsorbs the fluid in the blister and the skin on top will dry and peel off.
If your blister does burst, this can increase your risk of infection. Soak the blistered area in warm salt water, pat the area dry and dress it with a hydrocolloid dressing, which is easily available from your local pharmacy. This has shown to help prevent discomfort and encourage healing.
Recently In clinic I have seen some adverse reactions to blister plasters, so I recommend wearing sterile Mepore dressing which can be purchased in the pharmacy instead.
If you are getting blisters on your feet regularly, change your runners or consult your Podiatrist who will see if this is a result of poor foot function or a bio mechanical stress.
Remember, shoes never require breaking in, they either fit or they don’t!!!
The Plantar Fascia is a strong band of tissue running along the sole of your foot from your heel to your toes.
It becomes inflamed when it is overstretched causing debilitating pain first thing in the morning, feeling like you cannot walk, but this pain eases out throughout the day.
The plantar fascia can become inflamed due to over exercising, tight calf muscles or poor foot control. It is one of the most common running injuries affecting up to 50% of runners at one point or another.
To relieve this pain it helps to roll your foot up and down a cold bottle of water. Foam rolling your calf muscles another beneficial exercise to prevent this injury.
Runners Knee -Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Runner’s knee is the most common stress related joint pain experienced by runners. The runner can experience a dull ache around the knee cap. It is rarely caused by a direct injury, but more commonly from over running when the knee is not moving correctly in the joint.
There are two major causes of this condition; firstly it can be caused from weak quad (thigh) muscles and secondly from over-pronation of the feet (flat feet). Excessive pronation during running or walking can cause the knees to rotate inwards, increasing impact shock to the knee joint.
This condition can be easily corrected with the right footwear and orthotics.