As a runner, it is not unusual for your feet to be a little sore, especially after a hard workout or a lot of miles on bumpy, rocky trails. But it is important to know the difference between soreness and an injury. When the pain is isolated to a specific area and lasts more than a day or two, it is probably an injury and not just soreness. The following are two kinds of foot pain that should prompt you to see the podiatrist if you're a runner.
Intense Pain on the Bottom of Your Heel
Do you feel pain deep within your heel bone every time you step down? The pain may be dulled a bit when you're wearing cushioned running shoes, but when you're barefoot, it can be unbearable. It affects your gait and may even make it uncomfortable to stand on that foot. Chances are, this pain is due to a calcaneal stress fracture, or in other words, a stress fracture of the heel bone. These fractures are not as common as stress fractures in the tibia or metatarsals, but they do happen to some runners — particularly those who heel-strike, or land on their heels.
A foot doctor can diagnose a calcaneal stress fracture with an X-ray. If you do have this injury, treatment will generally involve wearing a protective boot and taking time off from running. When you get back into running, you will likely want to work on adjusting your stride so you don't land so heavily on your heel. A foot doctor may be able to give you some form drills or recommend different shoes to help with this.
Pain Along the Inside Of Your Foot, Above the Arch
Do you feel a tightness and pain just above the arch of your foot towards the outside? This pain may be worst when you first start running, fade away a bit during the run, but come back with a vengeance after the run. This type of pain is usually due to a tear of the flexor hallicus longus, or FHL. This is the primary muscle that controls your big toe. It gets a lot of work when you run, but when it becomes this painful, it is often because of a muscle tear.
A foot doctor can do some imaging, such as taking an MRI, to see whether there is inflammation in the FHL. Inflammation, along with the symptom of pain, usually points to a tear. Treatment generally involves rest, progressive exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscle, and sometimes cortisone injections to speed healing.
If you're a runner who develops either of these types of foot pain, make sure you see a foot doctor. Both injuries often require professional care to heal.
For more info, contact a local foot doctor.Share