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Running a Local Race? How to Keep Your Feet Healthy


SPONSORED CONTENT -- (StatePoint) Whether you’re a novice jogger embarking on a couch-to-5K program or a marathoner serious about racking up finishers’ medals, it’s critical you take great care of your feet.

“Running is an amazing form of cardiovascular exercise, but because it’s a high-impact sport that involves repeated trauma to the feet, everyone from long-distance runners to casual joggers is at risk for developing painful and debilitating foot conditions,” says Bryce A. Paschold, DPM, FACFAS, a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon and a Fellow Member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS).

To help you identify signs of some of the more common foot issues associated with running so you can get proper treatment before the condition keeps you from the activity you love, the foot and ankle surgeon members of ACFAS are offering the following insights:

• Plantar Fasciitis:Plantar fasciitis is perhaps the most common complaint from runners. Presenting as heel pain, it’s caused by inflammation of the ligament that holds up the arch. At the first sign of heel pain, Dr. Paschold advises runners to stretch the calf, wear sturdier shoes and use arch supports. In some cases, icing and anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, are helpful. Should pain continue, visit a foot and ankle surgeon, who might recommend custom orthotics, injections and physical therapy.

• Neuromas: A neuroma is a pinched nerve between the toes that can cause pain, numbness and a burning sensation in the ball of the foot. Overly flexible shoes are often the cause, and padding, orthotics or injections are usually effective treatments.

• Tendonitis: Runners can be sidelined with tendonitis if they ignore the warning signs of this overuse condition. There are several forms of tendonitis that affect the Achilles and other areas, and all are treated with rest, icing, strengthening, stretching and anti-inflammatory medications, and sometimes with orthotics and physical therapy. Because overzealous training is usually the cause, especially among beginners, it’s important to ramp up mileage and speed gradually. A running coach can tailor your training plan to your current fitness level.

• Broken bones: Don’t assume that because you’re able to run, your foot is not fractured. Signs of a stress fracture can include pain, swelling, redness and possibly bruising. If a fracture is suspected, remember to practice RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). You should also see a foot and ankle surgeon for an X-ray and proper diagnosis. Remember that like with other overuse injuries, stress fractures are often brought on by trying to do too much too soon. A general rule of thumb is to increase mileage by no more than 10 percent week to week.

• Lisfranc injuries: One misstep can lead to a sprain, fracture or dislocation of the Lisfranc joint. Consider wearing a headlamp in low lighting for surer footing. It is also a good idea to incorporate exercises into your regimen that will keep ankles and feet mobile and strong.

“While completing a marathon or even longer distance race may seem like the ultimate goal, it’s wise for new runners to start with shorter races first. This conservative approach will keep your feet in good shape so you’re able to run pain-free for years to come,” says Dr. Paschold. “And of course, it’s vital to listen to your body and seek care from a foot and ankle surgeon whenever a foot problem is suspected.”

For more information on foot care or to find a foot and ankle surgeon near you, visit, the patient education website of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.


Photo Credit: (c) lzf / iStock via Getty Images Plus

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