As spring is coming into full effect, the thought of going for a run sounds more appealing, but you should beware of common running injuries. Plantar Fasciitis, an inflammation in the bottom of the foot, is perhaps the peskiest problem that plagues runners. The common characteristic of this condition is a sharp, tight, painful sensation at the base of the heel that can be anywhere from annoying to excruciating. Overtraining, overuse, and improper or worn-out footwear can cause pain in your heel, but the root of the problem lies in tight and weakened muscles in the foot. If your feet are weak, the heel takes on an excessive load and can’t handle the training you are trying to do. Orthotics and stability shoes oftentimes serve as effective treatments and can help eliminate symptoms in a short period of time.
Any time you see “itis” at the end of a word, it means there’s inflammation involved, so Achilles tendinitis is simply inflammation of the Achilles tendon. The healing process for an injury such as Achilles tendinitis is often slow due to decreased blood flow to tendons. Tight calves can also be the culprit. Tight lower legs put a lot of strain on the Achilles tendon, and over the course of many months of hard training, this overuse injury can develop. Aside from tight calves, unsupportive footwear can overburden the Achilles tendon over time, or a quick increase in volume and/or intensity can have the same effect much more quickly, so it’s important to pay attention to both your feet and your training—especially when you’re training hard!
Feel a constant ache underneath your kneecap when you run? You likely are experiencing runner’s knee or patellofemoral knee syndrome. The main symptom is pain just below the kneecap that usually worsens as the intensity of exercise increases. If your knee continues to hurt, don’t run. If there’s inflammation, work on reducing it with the anti-inflammatory/icing regimen. Long-term, switching up the surfaces you run on, strengthening the knee, making sure you’re running in the proper, not worn-out footwear, and perhaps employing some simple form fixes such as shortening your stride and striking the ground directly underneath your center of gravity, will help keep your cranky knee from getting even angrier. If any of these symptoms can’t be fixed by your home remedies, you should stop running immediately and schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists.