As the temperatures rise, people are going outside and moving more. There are countless benefits to an active lifestyle, including better glucose regulation, improved heart health and increased endurance. When the conditions are favorable, going for a run is a great way to get some exercise. Unfortunately, it can also lead to injuries. Here, we’ll take a closer look at some of the more common running injuries and how they’re treated.
Foot and ankle stress fractures
Foot and ankle stress fractures are common in patients who enjoy running, jogging and walking for exercise. The primary areas of concern are:
- heel stress fractures
- metatarsal stress fractures
- stress fractures of the ball of the foot
Heel and metatarsal stress fractures can result in pain all over the heel bone. Stress fractures in the balls of the feet often cause dull, aching pain and pain on top of the foot. Typically, these symptoms start slowly and progressively get worse.
Treatment usually includes weight-bearing in a fracture boot for six weeks, allowing you to perform daily functions while decreasing your running, jogging or walking activities.
Sprains, strains and plantar fasciitis
Foot/ankle sprains are often indicated by a popping sensation after the original injury along with soreness and swelling in the affected area, such as the outside of the ankle and bottom of the foot.
Plantar fasciitis usually results in deep pain at the inside of the bottom of the heel.
Treatment for these types of injuries includes over-the-counter shoe inserts, ankle bracing or physical therapy. Many patients are back to regular activity within four weeks.
Preventing running injuries
A good way to prevent injuries like this is by wearing proper running shoes. Very active runners will need to change their shoes every 4-6 months or 400-500 miles in order to maintain the type of support and cushioning their body needs. Your running shoes should support your arch and be semi-rigid at the balls of your feet.
Every runner is unique when it comes to footwear and support needs. Some runners over pronate, meaning their arches roll inward or downward when they take a step. These runners may need a stability running shoe, which has a firmer arch to help correct their gait and help prevent injuries to the feet, ankles and rest of the body.
Others may have a more neutral gait and don’t need the additional stability from their shoes, so those runners can opt for neutrally cushioned shoes.
Avid runners, joggers and walkers should also make sure to get proper levels of vitamin D to ensure good bone density. Proper stretching before your run can also go a long way in preventing injuries in ligaments and tendons, even plantar fasciitis.