A Foot to Stand On

How To Prevent And Treat Running Injuries

People take up running for many different reasons. Some people run because they enjoy the competitive nature of the sport. Others run for weight management reasons, and some people run because they enjoy the meditative qualities running can provide. No matter why you run, it's important to protect your feet and ankles. Running can be a healthy sport if you do it correctly. Here are three ways a foot and ankle specialist can help you prevent and treat running injuries.

1. Evaluate your choice of running shoes.

Running is an inexpensive sport that requires almost no special equipment. All you need is a pair of running shoes. However, the type of running shoe you choose makes a big difference. Wearing the wrong pair of shoes can increase your risk of injury. A foot and ankle specialist can help you find out if you're wearing the right shoes by analyzing the way you run. You will run on a treadmill in the podiatrist's office so they can see if your feet curve inward or outward while running. These curving motions are called overpronation and underpronation, respectively. People who overpronate will need more padding on the inside of their shoes. Your podiatrist will tell you if you should switch to a different type of running shoe for optimal foot health.

2. Diagnose pain.

Many runners visit a foot and ankle specialist for the first time when they're experiencing pain. If your doctor finds no evidence of broken bones, they will likely refer you to a podiatrist who can provide more specialized help. Many cases of foot and ankle pain are caused by soft tissue injuries. Your podiatrist will diagnose you based on the symptoms you report. Plantar fasciitis commonly manifests as pain in the heel. It often affects runners who primarily heel-strike while running. Achilles tendinitis is another common runner's injury that causes pain in the back of the ankle.

3. Offer home care tips.

Many running injuries are caused by repetitive stress and can be resolved without surgery. Your foot and ankle specialist will give you tips to help you care for your feet and ankles at home. They may recommend that you tape your foot to reduce pressure and pain. They may also suggest icing your feet or elevating them after a run. Your podiatrist may advise you to cease running for several weeks until your body has the chance to fully heal. Failure to rest can cause the injury to worsen to a point where surgical intervention is necessary.