Six Foot Ailments that Sideline Runners
by Jon Vredenburg
If you are a runner, there is a good chance that you will experience an injury at some point in time. Given the miles of pounding that the feet will endure, it is no surprise that many of the common running injuries are connected to the foot.
Ankle sprain – “Sprains and strains are some of the most common running injuries we see in our practice,” states Dr. Bartell of the North Florida Foot and Ankle Clinic. Because of their increased prevalence many runners may dismiss them as nothing serious, but an ankle sprain requires immediate attention. RICE therapy of rest, isolation, compression and elevation is the classic treatment protocol. After a period of four to eight weeks you should be able to resume regular activities.
Blisters – Blisters may not typically bring someone to a foot doctor, but a poor fitting shoe can increase their likelihood. Dr. Bartell suggests runners get their feet professionally measured as a safeguard against blisters and other problems. “When you are in the correct shoes, the chances for injury are lessened.”
Stress fractures – These tiny cracks in the bone can be caused by the repetitive force placed on the foot during running. “There are 26 bones in the foot, so it is very easy to put too much pressure on one area of the foot,” states Dr. Andrew Bartell. Pay attention for pain and tenderness in a specific area of the foot to help you determine if you need medical attention.
Shin splints – When your shins ache and throb after running it could be a sign of shin splints. Runners often experience them after making changes in their running regimen, such as the surface they run on or the intensity of their runs. Rest, ice and pain management usually help with the healing.
Tendinitis – Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendon that connects the muscle to the bone. Runners usually experience this condition in one of three tendons in the foot. Achilles tendinitis may be the first that comes to mind in running, since the Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. However, the peroneal tendons, which run alongside the outer ankle, and the posterior tibial tendons, which connect the calf to the inside of the foot, are other common source of tendinitis.
Foreign body injury – While their frequency may not be on the same level as sprains and strains, they often require more immediate medical attention because of the increased risk for infection. Keep an eye on the tread life of your shoe and ask your podiatrist before considering a radical change to your running routine such as barefoot running.
For additional information about typical running injuries, visit North Florida Foot and Ankle Center of Jacksonville’s website, nffac.com, to learn more about their services or call 904-236-5023 to schedule an appointment.