New runners are often anxious to just get out there and hit the jogging trail. Weight loss and getting in shape are frequently cited reasons for wanting to start a running program. Like most physicians, I’m thrilled when my patients want to start exercising but I’m also want to make sure my patients are aware of potential foot and ankle problems when they take up a new sport.
If you notice pain in the morning as soon as your feet touch the ground, you probably have plantar fasciitis, a very common condition among new runners and seasoned runners. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs from the heel and inserts into the base of the toes. Running can cause this band to stretch beyond its capacity causing inflammation and pain. This occurs commonly in runners who have faulty foot mechanics and/or tight calf muscles.
Neuromas are most common in women runners but men can also develop them. They most commonly occur between the 3rdand 4thtoes and are caused by high heel use or narrow shoes. Pain can be alleviated by use of pads and ultrasound guided injections.
As a new runner you might experience Achilles tendonitis particularly if you are overzealous in your training and don’t do proper warmup and stretching. Improper footwear and overpronation also increase risk of this condition. Rest, icing, and use of anti-inflammatory medications are used initially and then assessment of the situation by a podiatrist will determine how to prevent this condition from reoccurring.
Often new runners are trying out a variety of running surfaces to see what works best. They make the mistake of running on uneven ground where turning an ankle is more likely. Don’t ignore a sprained ankle. Sprains can be just as bad as a break and can take longer to heal. Use the RICE protocol until you can get in to be seen by a podiatrist.
For more information about starting a new running program or treating an existing foot or ankle condition the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City can be reached at 206-368-7000 or you may request an appointment online.