How to Avoid Common Running Injuries

Ankle Pain


Lately, on my way to and from work, I’ve been seeing lots of people running outside while the weather in Arizona is still enjoyable.

How great is that!

It’s never too early to start prepping for that 5k, half marathon, or marathon or even just running because you love to do so.

But what I’m about to say comes with a bit of warning and was brought to my attention by a few of my patients experiencing foot pain.

Picture this: A man in his late 30’s has been doing lots of running around the track, his neighborhood, and any other place he can in order to get in shape for his upcoming 5k. Much like his competitors, he has been training on hard surfaces that are almost unavoidable in Arizona. When running a couple of miles every week on a flat surface, his feet are constantly being pounded into the ground’s surface. What can happen is an injury known as Plantar Fasciitis.

Fortunately, plantar fasciitis is much easier to explain than it is to pronounce.

It’s an injury that can be characterized as a sharp “stabbing” like pain coming from the bottom of the foot. This injury can be a result of either too much running, long-term issues with an Achilles tendon that wasn’t fixed properly, wearing running shoes that are too tight, running on hard surfaces, or even having a weak lower back. All of these have the ability to cause your muscles to tighten and joints to stiffen.

Either way, it’s not a good feeling!
I often hear my patients explain that they experience extreme pain during the first 20 minutes of waking up and stepping out of bed in the morning. Then later on in the day while attempting to increase cardiovascular fitness the pain has a tendency to increase. Understandably they become frustrated because it affects their entire day and restricts them from doing what they enjoy.

If you thought this injury was bad, you can also acquire another one on top of that!

Another overuse type of injury that I’ve seen a lot of from this kind of activity is none other than “shin splints. You won’t hear as often consistent runners talking about shin splint pain, mainly because they’ve better prepared themselves when it comes to training. In order to limit the risk of any injury, they have techniques that aim to stabilize key muscles.

This being said, my tip for maintaining fitness while still limiting the stress placed on the foot and ankle is simple. Varying your training is essential to avoid the risk of not only Plantar Fasciitis, but shin splints as well. Get on your bike or swim a couple of laps! Even performing proper stretches before and after you, train or workout (warming up and cooling down) can have a huge effect on whether you’ll be in pain for the following couple of months or if you’ll be able to do what you love, like running that 5k!

Looking for more ankle and foot injury tips? Here is our free report that will give you the inside scoop on how to further avoid Plantar Fasciitis.

Nick Hunter, PT, DPT

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