For anyone who has experienced foot pain at any time, it is a nightmare – you cannot really avoid walking and every time you do the pain comes back. If you’re a runner it can just stop you in your tracks. Here we look at some common causes of foot pain and what can be done about them:
Plantar Fasciitis (Pain on the bottom of the foot)
This is known as “joggers heel” and is an overuse injury which means runners will often be the sufferers! You have a tendon which runs along the bottom of your foot towards your toes (it allows you to curl your feet) and overuse can cause that to thicken.
You know you’ve got this if you have pain in the foot which is worst when you’ve rested and then take a few steps – the first few steps are normally really painful, but then it can get a bit better after those.
To cure plantar fasiitis, you have to know what’s causing it. It could be a lack of support in your shoes, it could be that you’re used to high heels and are switching to flat running shoes, it could even be your Achilles tendon is too tight and you need to stretch that more.
You should try an orthopedic innersole (click the banner below for the ones I’d recommend, they have different options depending on your symptoms and have helped me with arch pain), but you should also rest from running until the pain has gone away. I found that innersoles basically cured me, but I have to keep using them and be aware to reduce my mileage if I feel pain.
Extensor Tendonitis (Pain on the top of the foot)
This pain is felt on the top of the foot and is due to inflammation of tendons which allow you to lift your toes up. It can feel like you have a fracture or a painful bruise.
To check if this is the source of your foot pain simply have someone press your toes down and try to curl them upwards. If the pain is experienced during this movement you almost certainly suffer from Extensor Tendonitis.
This is normally caused by friction on the top of the foot – so for runners a badly fitting shoe which rubs on the top of your foot could well be the problem.
The first thing to check is that you haven’t tied your shoes too tightly and tie them missing out the hole nearest the pain (seriously, this actually works). Next, consider if you need a different shoe entirely (see here for a guide). Next you need to rest it until the pain stops and finally, try using this cream – it has saved my running life many times!
Okay, a fairly obvious one, but Blisters are the curse of the long-distance runner. They form quickly and without warning and can take ages to get rid of.
I think everyone knows this, but you will see a bubble on your skin which is filled with fluid. When running they can often form and then burst, which leaves them prone to infection. The fluid is normally clear, but can also be blood.
The firs thing is prevention – you need good anti-blister socks (these are the best I can find). You also need to change into dry socks and shoes if you’re doing ultra running.
Once you have a blister, I recommend only running with blister plasters on (and preferably not at all). I say this because I once ignored blisters and ran a 24 hour race on them, I then got an infection which spread into my blood and resulted in a hospital visit. Not ideal. If your blister does burst, wash it and put a dry dressing on.