Common Foot Injuries for Runners

The foot is an incredible structure made up of bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It is designed not only to provide movement but also give support and stability. This is the reason why runners rely so much on the performance of their feet to cover vast distances. However, constantly running hundreds of miles daily may lead to repetitive injuries. When running, the feet endure the strain from repetitive pounding caused by running. Thus, aside from dead toenails, calluses, and bruises to name a few, they also suffer from other common foot injuries.

Plantar Fasciitis

The foot is supported by the plantar fascia tendon, which runs lengthwise, from across the bottom of the feet. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia and it is characterized with a sharp and stabbing pain usually felt at the base of the heel. Runners who suffer from plantar fasciitis say that the pain is similar to stepping on a nail.

The most frequent reason for this common foot injury is overtraining and overusing the foot. The use of worn-out footwear can also lead to this inflammation. Once the foot is overused, the muscles on the foot weaken and the heel is no longer able to carry the load of your body.

Runners who experience this type of foot injury often wear stability or orthotic shoes to temporarily reduce the symptoms. Patients are also advised not to go barefoot and do stretching exercises of the calves.

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendonitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is a tough tissue that connects the calf muscles of the leg to the heel, allowing the foot to pivot and make other types of movements. Achilles tendonitis is characterized by painful sensations at the back of the lower leg and just above the lower leg. It is also characterized with swelling on the heel area.

There are many reasons why Achilles tendonitis occurs, but experts associate the inflammation to having tight calf muscles. Having tight calves or lower legs creates a lot of strain on the tendon, eventually causing the tendon to be inflamed. The tight calf muscles are often caused by over training or wearing unsupportive footwear that can cause too much burden on the tendon over time.

If you have Achilles tendonitis, you can improve the condition of your foot by resting and doing stretching. Putting on cold compress to the affected area as well as wearing structured footwear may also help. If you constantly suffer from Achilles tendonitis, you can prevent this injury from happening by doing calf exercises like dead lifts, leg squats, calf raises, and box jumps.

Extensor Tendonitis

The tendons that extend from the muscles of the shin to each toe digit is called the extensor tendon. It allows you to do complicated movements with your toes and eventually in moving the entire foot. And just like any other tendons on the feet, the extensor tendon can also be inflamed thus the name. Extensor tendonitis is characterized by painful sensations isolated on the affected digits.

There are many reasons why extensor tendonitis occurs. These reasons include wearing unsupportive shoes and having weak (or tight) calf muscles. The inflammation tends to go away after a few days of resting the foot, but the condition can be improved by wearing shoes with appropriate support as well as stretching the calf muscles.

Inflammation on The Adductor And Abductor Hallucis

The foot is comprised of both the adductor and abductor hallucis, which is a type of muscle that provides support and structure to the foot. While the adductor hallucis runs horizontally across the top of the foot, the abductor hallucis muscle runs lengthwise; thus, creating an arch.

In most cases, the inflammation of both muscles is associated with other foot injuries like the plantar fasciitis. You are also likely to experience this foot injury more if you are also suffering from bunions. Inflammation of these two types of muscles is often caused by not having enough arch support on the foot, thus wearing appropriate shoes is very important in preventing this injury.

Stress Fracture

The foot is one of the most abused parts of a runner’s body. The constant exposure to vibrations can cause small fractures or fissures to the bone. In fact, it is common for most runners to experience stress fracture in the metatarsal bone.

Unlike other common foot injuries that occur almost immediately, a stress fracture is a slow process and requires time for the issue to build before any symptoms are felt. Once the condition is worst, that is the time when runners feel a sharp pain on the bone. In most cases, a stress fracture is often misdiagnosed as tendonitis or other more common foot injury.

If you suspect that you are experiencing an aggravated stress fracture, you can ask your doctor to look into your bones via X-ray or MRI if the stress fracture is too tiny. Other tests may also be conducted to isolate the problem.

Dr. Jamshidinia at Century City Medical Plaza is a board-certified foot surgeon trained in all areas of foot and ankle surgery. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. For concerns regarding common foot injuries do not hesitate to contact us today!