How To Prevent Common Foot Injuries

If you're a runner, then you've probably experienced some foot pain before. Runners' feet endure a lot, and the foot is a complex extremity made up of bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles that all have to work in harmony. If one small thing goes wrong with the foot, it can cause the whole foot to stop functioning the way we need it to. Robert Raines MD, a foot and ankle specialist with the TriHealth Orthopedic & Sports Institute describes the most common foot injuries for runners and how to prevent them so you can keep on running.


“People who develop bunions usually over-pronate,” Dr. Raines says. “This means that instead of using the muscles that support the arch, you are relying on ligaments and bones to support the foot with each step, allowing your arch to collapse, and push off is occurring from the great toe rather than the ball of the foot.”

Symptoms include tenderness and pain at the inside of the great toe. “You can use ice and rest to decrease inflammation, get a shoe with a wider toe box, or seek out an orthopedist who specializes in the foot,” said Dr. Raines.

Stress Fractures

“A stress fracture is usually the result of a combination of poor diet and overtraining,” said Raines.

Symptoms include tenderness over the middle or most distal portion of the metatarsal (long foot bone) with moderate swelling on the top of the foot. Any loading or weight bearing is usually quite painful, and often athletes will have continued pain with rest. “Initial X-rays are negative because the stress fracture is so small,” said Dr. Raines. “Stress fractures are best managed with ice, decreased loading or non-weight-bearing, and casting in severe cases.”

Plantar Fasciitis

“Plantar fasciitis is inflammation and micro-tearing of the plantar fascia,” said Dr. Raines. “This presents as pain with first steps in the morning, tenderness along the arch and heel, and thickening of the plantar fascia.”

Research shows that athletes who are overweight, have tightness in the muscles of the calf, and have weakness in the supporting muscles in the foot are at highest risk.

“Stay mobile in your lower half, wear good shoes, and be smart in your training,” said Raines. “And if it keeps hurting - rest.”

By: Julie Isphording, Health Consultant and Speaker

Tags Orthopedics