How To Avoid Foot Pain After Running

By:    Published: December 5, 2011

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Many people have experienced foot pain after running, and while some cases may be attributed to an injury or medical condition, other instances can be avoided with a few precautionary measures. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), running causes a force that is two to three times a person’s body weight on the lower limbs. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort in your feet that is unrelated to a particular medical condition or injury, these tips may help you.

Running Shoes

Proper footwear is very important when it comes to avoiding foot pain after running. If you are wearing inappropriate foot wear, you may not have enough support for your feet or ankle. This can not only lead to foot pain after running, but also an ankle sprain or strain or other type of injury in the lower extremities. Another thing to be mindful of is wearing running shoes that are worn. If the cushion and soles are worn, your feet may have a harder impact with the ground. Also, be sure to check the bottom of your shoes for proper tread. If your tread is worn, you may not be receiving enough traction while running, which can lead to slips and spills.

Just because you have a brand new pair of running shoes, doesn’t mean you’re not at risk for experiencing foot pain after running. Keep in mind that fitment is just as important as wearing the appropriate running shoes. If you are unfamiliar with finding the proper shoe to fit the shape of your feet, speak to someone knowledgeable with the subject like an athletic trainer or specialist at a shoe or sporting goods store. You also want ot avoid wearing shoes that are too tight, which can create pressure on the nerves in your feet leading to foot pain.

To avoid any potential blisters, it’s important to have proper fitting shoes and the proper socks. Look for socks that have been labeled as “blister-proof” or look for some comfortable fitting socks made of cotton. Avoid the nylon varieties, which may be more abrasive. You can also lubricate any sensitive areas around your feet. Compression socks can be another viable option to protect your feet and manage the blood flow around your lower limbs.

Surface

If you’re experiencing chronic foot pain after each and every run, you might want to consider running on softer terrain. Concrete and asphalt are some of the hardest surfaces to run on. However, asphalt tends to be softer than concrete, so choose the road as opposed to the sidewalk when running, but only do so when it is safe.

Another option would be to locate a running trail. While you might not be used to the uneven surface, rocks and gravel, your feet will take less of a beating because of the softer surface. An open running track beats out the running trail option, although these aren’t always easily accessible. Running tracks tend to feature all-weather running surfaces that can be described as running on a rubbery surface. A good idea would be to locate various surfaces and trails for you to use, and rotate the surfaces you use for your weekly runs.

Of course, you can forego any hard, outdoor surfaces by taking your running indoors through the use of a treadmill. Using a treadmill may be easier on the limbs, although some people prefer running out in the open as opposed to indoors.

Know Your Hot Spots

There may be certain areas of your foot that are prone to pain or discomfort. These are commonly referred to as "hot spots," and can be the cause of pain during or after running. These areas may also be prone for developing calluses. Here are several things you can try to prevent pain in the hot spots of your feet:

  • Wear comfortable socks that provide extra cushion and support, and do not irritate your feet while running.
  • Try taping up the known hot spots of your feet.
  • Toughen your feet by soaking them in tea everyday for several weeks.
  • Look for different inserts that you can place within your running shoes to add extra cushioning and support.

Make Sure You Warm Up And Stretch

To avoid injury, it’s important to start your run with a warm up before going at your full pace. Starting with a walk or a light jog works, or you can try dynamic warm-up exercises. After warming up, take a few minutes to stretch out your muscles. It is important to stretch out other leg muscles to prevent foot pain. Many athletic trainers and specialists recommend warming up your muscles before performing any stretching exercises. This is often considered the best method for preventing injuries.

Don’t Overexert Yourself

Keep in mind that pain is not necessarily a bad thing. It is merely your body’s way of telling you that something might be wrong. If you begin to experience foot pain for no apparent reason in the middle of a run, stop and take a break to assess the problem. If you try and push through the pain, you run the risk of causing further injury to your feet. If you’ve been running for a longer distance than you’re used to, your body may be telling you it’s time to call it quits. Whenever you plan to extend the duration of your run, make sure to do it in gradual increments. In other words, don’t jump from a 1-mile run to a 5-mile run in just one day. Slowly work your way up to allow your body to adjust to greater distances.

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