Running is a natural way to maintain good health. However, too much stress on any body part is a recipe for disaster. One is advised to exercise caution while pursuing any fitness plan. The same applies to running too. Runners have to deal with many foot injuries due to stress and other related factors. More often than not, they are not aware of how to deal with these injuries. Sometimes, they are not even sure of what is wrong with their foot.
The job of rightly diagnosing the type of injury and treating it is best left to the professionals. We are only aiming to spread general awareness regarding the kinds of common running foot injuries and a few recommended ways to deal with them. This is not a substitute for medical treatment, especially if you feel that your injury is severe.
(a) Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fascia is a tendon that runs across the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes. Plantar Fasciitis is the condition where the runner experiences a stabbing pain across the bottom of his/her foot. There are many causes – ill-fitting running shoes, weak calf muscles, irregular training schedules (such as increasing the volume or intensity too fast.
If you are affected by Plantar Fasciitis, try to identify its cause so that you can work towards fixing the injury. Use shoes that fit well. Orthotic shoes are recommended. The soles should provide good support and comfort. Other common remedies include acupuncture, self-massage, chiropractor visit, stretching and taking prescribed medication. Rolling the affected foot on a ball is also found to be helpful.
(b) Athlete’s foot
For a runner, the foot is the most overused body part. The foot is often exposed to dampness – sweaty areas between the toes, wearing socks/shoes for long hours, walking barefoot on the locker room floor, etc…Due to dampness, a fungal infection develops in the sweaty regions of the foot. This is called athlete’s foot. It is contagious, so avoid direct contact with the affected region in another person’s body.
The athlete’s foot is common and can be treated with over-the-counter medicines. Simple hygienic practices also help in avoiding fungal infections. Wash your feet thoroughly after practice. Switch between different pairs of shoes so that you can dry the sweaty ones before using them again. Wear socks with breathable fabric. This way you can ensure that your feet do not become sweaty soon.
(c) Stress Fracture
This is one of the common running foot injuries. A stress fracture occurs due to pressure build-up on the bones near the foot. One is usually not aware of the stress on one’s foot. It accumulates slowly over time and finally gives in. Due to the bone fissure, the affected person experiences a sharp pain in the foot. A stress fracture occurs when you suddenly raise the intensity or volume of your practice. Lack of proper equipment or improper technique also contributes to the issue.
Rest is the primary remedy for a stress fracture. Give your foot some time to recuperate before you get back to intensive training.