As you can imagine, feet are very important to a runner and for the most part we have our ups and downs with our feet. We have all had our fair share of blisters brought about by the repetitive pounding from training and races. This is normal, there are more serious types of foot pain such as tendonitis and stress fractures that we should pay closer attention to.
Most runners have a love-hate relationship with their feet. Because runners’ feet endure the brunt of the repetitive pounding of the sport, black or missing toenails, blisters and callouses can result from a long run or race. But there are more sinister ways that foot pain can stop runners in their tracks: stress fractures, tendonitis and soreness that isn’t “normal.”
Most runners have heard of the plantar fascia tendon. This tendon is located on the bottom of your foot and runs lengthwise. If you have ever experienced a sharp pain in this area this is most likely Plantar fasciitis.
In order to treat this injury you need to pinpoint what is causing it. You also need to make sure that your running footwear provides sufficient support and you may need to look into getting an insert or orthotic.
If you are particularly susceptible to this injury you should stretch your feet. You can use either a tennis ball or frozen golf ball to roll the affected area.
Stress fractures most commonly occur in the metatarsals although can happen in many of the bones in your feet. They usually occur during a phase of increased training volume and intensity. If you are unlucky they can also be caused by a freak incident like miss-stepping in to a pothole or rock.
If you are unfortunate enough to have a stress fracture, I am sorry to say that you are going to have to take a break from running. You can do some cross training. The one bit of good news is that once it is healed, unlike tendonitis, the problem should be solved for good.
Tendons are present in your shin and run down the top of your feet before they break up into each toe. Their job is to aid in the movement of your feet as well as straight and pull your toes. These tendons can become inflamed, the symptoms of this are somewhat similar to a stress fracture which can make diagnosis difficult.
Causes of this are varied and might be due to improper footwear, imbalanced calf muscles or a tight Achilles tendon. For treatment you should try icing the tendon, this should bring down the inflammation. You should work on strengthening and stretching your calf muscles. Again, footwear might be a problem in that they don’t provide enough support so lo
ok into getting an insert.
Adductor and Abductor Hallucis
These are muscles in your feet, the adductor hallucis is on the top and the abductor hallucis along the arch of your foot. If you are having problems with either of these muscles it is most likely being caused by insufficient arch support and is most common if you have bunions.
In order to treat this condition you will need to do stretches and strengthening exercises. Some useful stretches include toe pulls and a seated toe stretch. For strengthening exercises try some toe pulls using resistance bands and arch raises.