5 Common Feet & Legs Issues for Runners and How to Prevent Them

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Running is an excellent way to stay fit, but it comes with various challenges. Foot injuries can be frustrating, especially when they occur often. Some feet and legs problems require the expertise of a podiatrist and derail your activities for weeks while others might heal after a few hours or days. Avoiding running injuries completely is not practical, but with some cautionary measures, you can decrease the risks. For this reason, it helps to know some of the frequent injuries that runners deal with.


1. Runner’s Knee

Also called patellofemoral pain syndrome, runner’s knee is one of the most common foot injuries. With this condition, pain occurs at the kneecap, usually due to misalignment. You feel pain when squatting, going up a flight of stairs or bending the knee for long periods. It is one of the injuries that are a result of overuse. If you are training, schedule your practice properly to avoid overworking the knee. The wrong footwear can also contribute to runner’s knee, so insist on wearing proper running shoes.


2. Achilles Tendonitis

About 11% of common foot pain problems can be traced back to this condition. The Achilles tendon links the heel with the calf at the back of the foot. Its biggest role is helping lift the heel off the ground when walking. Too much stress on this tendon can cause inflammation and tightness. Stress on the tendon results from overuse and tight calf muscles. Reducing your running distance and taking adequate rest minimises the risk of Achilles tendonitis significantly. Doing calf stretch before you start a run helps a great deal.


3. Shin splints

The shin is the area between the knee and ankle. Sometimes, this area can suffer pain, which is what shin splints are all about. Formally, the condition is medial tibial stress syndrome and is very painful. You can experience shin splints after increasing your running distance because you place too much stress on the joints, muscles and ligaments. Running on concrete surfaces like pavements or uneven terrain will also cause shin splints. Watch out for worn-out shoes, poor form and weak muscles. Take sufficient rest to avoid aggravating shin splints. Consider reducing your pace when running and fit the correct shoes. Proper warm-ups and practice will strengthen the muscles and prevent frequent shin splints.


4. Muscle Pull

Muscle strains are other common foot problems for runners. This condition occurs due to a tear in the muscle as a result of overstretching. Overuse, poor flexibility and fatigue are some of the risk factors for muscle pulls. To reduce prevalence, ensure that you are in good form when running through adequate warm-ups and stretching. Muscle strains can vary wildly from mild to severe, depending on the degree of the tear, which can occur in any section from the ankle to the thigh.


5. Plantar Fasciitis

Among the most devastating injuries that a runner can suffer from is plantar fasciitis. This condition is due to the inflammation of the plantar fasciitis, the tissue that connects the toes to the heel. This band of muscles is responsible for arch support, and too much stress can cause inflammation. In severe cases, the intervention of a podiatrist may be necessary. It is frequent among long-distance runners and people with flat feet or high arches. Proper-fitting footwear and compression socks are some of the preventative measures that you can take to prevent this condition.


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