Today we present you with four of the most common running injuries: heel pain, neuromas, tendonitis, and broken bones.
Heel pain is the bane of many runners, particularly those who run longer distances, increase their mileage too quickly, are over-pronators, or who wear old or soft shoes. Heel pain in runners is most frequently due to inflammation of the plantar fasciitis, the ligament which runs the length of the bottom of the foot and attaches at the heel. The first line of defense when heel pain begins is to incorporate stretching into the training routine, to wear shoes with greater stability, and to use arch supports. If the pain does not go away, podiatric intervention is typically necessary and often includes custom orthotics, cortisone injections, physical therapy, or extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT). Shockwave therapy, a specialty at Kansas City Foot Specialists, is a technologically advanced treatment for heel pain with most patients reporting significant improvement with their first treatment.
A neuroma, a nerve disorder in the foot, causes a burning sensation in the ball of the foot, along with pain and numbness. It is the result of a pinched nerve between the toes and is typically the result of a shoe with excessive flexibility. Although any runner may develop a neuroma, female runners who wear narrow shoes with pointed toes on a regular basis are particularly at risk as these types of shoes, combined with the stress of running put excess pressure on the feet. Those with particularly flat or low arches are also at greater risk. Without treatment the condition worsens. Treatment depends on how far the condition has progressed and ranges from conservative therapy such as simply wearing wider shoes to much more aggressive treatment such as surgery as a last resort.
Tendonitis is related to overuse and often results from excessive training or from adding too much activity too soon. It is especially common in beginning runners who are excited by their new running hobby and who want to train more frequently than their feet are prepared for or who regularly increase their running distance without enough preparation. Treatment for tendonitis starts conservatively with rest, ice, stretching, and anti-inflammatory medications; however, patients who ignore tendonitis symptoms long-term may cause more damage requiring surgical repair.
Broken bones in the feet and ankles are another common running injury which many runners may not even realize they have. Many runners suffer from stress fractures which may not be obvious right away. While most of us think of fractures with sudden pain and an inability to move or apply pressure to the affected area, a stress fracture is significantly less obvious. There may be pain and swelling, but it won’t typically be as severe as with other types of fractures. If the pain and swelling continue after three or four days of conservative treatment with rest, ice, elevation, and compression, a physical examination by a podiatrist is needed. A physical examination combined with x-rays will be required to determine if a fracture exists or if there is some other problem causing the symptoms.
If you are suffering from any of the above conditions or have other foot-related concerns, the podiatrists at Kansas City Foot Specialists are here to help. Call us today at 913-338-4440 to schedule a consultation.