How Can You Prevent Foot And Ankle Injuries While Running?

Posted on: 1 July 2015

Whether you're new to the world of running or have been increasing your distance for years, you may be cognizant of the effect healthy feet and ankles have on your performance. Nothing can derail your progress (and fitness) more quickly than strains or sprains that prevent you from running or walking without a noticeable limp. Read on to learn more about what you can do to protect your feet and ankles from strain or overuse injuries.

What foot and ankle injuries are common among runners?

There are several injuries that are especially common among runners. These include plantar fasciitis (which can cause heel pain, particularly after sleeping or sitting for an extended period of time); neuromas (which can cause pain or numbness on the bottom of the foot); and stress fractures (which involve tiny cracks in the bones of the foot and ankle). Although there are some treatments for both plantar fasciitis and neuromas, many of these ailments can be eliminated simply by taking some preventive measures while running and ensuring that your feet and ankles get enough rest.

What should you do to prevent overuse injuries in the foot and ankle?

Achieving proper running form (and foot support) is key to preventing injury. Running with improper form can place undue pressure on your hips, knees, and ankles, weakening these joints and making them more prone to injury. And running in shoes that provide poor shock absorption and arch support can also place extra pressure on your joints. Be sure to invest in high-quality running shoes and replace these shoes at the recommended intervals.

You might also wish to be professionally fitted for a shoe insert that will provide extra cushion and protection to the underside of your foot. This protection will dampen the force of your feet hitting the ground, making running a less high-impact exercise.

If you've already begun noticing a twinge or stiffness in one or both feet, or have begun "rolling" your ankles and tripping periodically, you may be on the path to an overuse injury. Try to shorten your distances (while still getting your heart rate up) and be sure to rest your feet in an elevated position after running. You may even need to take a break from running for a few days or weeks to allow your body time to heal. Unfortunately, the longer you run on feet and ankles that are already beginning to show signs of injury, the more damage you may inadvertently do. Contact a clinic like Elmhurst Podiatry Center Ltd for more information.