You look forward to getting out on your favorite route and jogging or running for exercise. There are two foot injuries that runners experience that could keep you from getting out of bed. Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis can both be so painful that you can't put weight on your foot. Here is how to recognize these foot problems and what to do to get back on your feet.
A small band of tissue runs the length of the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel to the base of your toes. This is the plantar fascia and it helps to hold your arch in place and give your foot some stability. Should this tissue become irritated, you can experience the following symptoms:
- burning sensation along the length of the band of tissue
- sharp pains at either end of the tissue when putting weight on your foot
- weakness in your foot that can cause it to collapse when stepping down on it
The pain can be so intense that you can't put any weight on your foot. You can experience plantar fasciitis the first thing in the morning when you get out of bed or during a run.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Some of the runner-induced causes of this painful condition include:
- foot muscles weakened by injury or disease
- poor warm-up practices before you exercise
- overworking your foot muscles during exercise
- improperly fitting running shoes
Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis
For immediate relief of this foot pain:
- place an ice pack on the bottom of your foot
- anti-inflammatory pain medication such as ibuprofen
For long term relief, see a podiatrist who can recommend the following:
- physical therapy to strengthen the foot muscles to prevent future occurrences of plantar fasciitis
- custom orthotics worn in the shoe to support your foot and take the stress off of the tissue band
- steroid injections into the foot to relieve the inflammation and pain
If an injury has shortened the tissue band, causing you to have frequent occurrences of this condition, your podiatrist may recommend surgery to reposition the plantar fascia to remove the strain on it.
The Achilles tendon connects the large muscle in your lower leg to your heel bone. It is responsible for controlling the movement of your foot up and down, and it helps to hold the arch in place. Irritation of this tendon can cause severe pain and render your foot unable to move.
Typical symptoms of this condition include:
- a sharp pain starting in your heel and running up into your calf
- redness and swelling along the tendon
- pain when pressing on the tendon or moving your foot up and down
Causes of Achilles Tendinitis
If you're a runner or jogger, some of the causes of this condition include:
- overuse of the foot and ankle
- inadequate warm-up before exercising
- shoes that rub against the tendon
Treatment of Achilles Tendinitis
To remedy the immediate flair up of pain:
- rest your heel on an ice pack
- take anti-inflammatory pain medication, such as ibuprofen
Your podiatrist will recommend the following if you frequently develop a painful Achilles tendon:
- physical therapy to slowly stretch the tendon out and relieve the tension
- strengthening exercises to build up the calf and foot muscles to prevent future occurrences
- custom orthotics to support your foot and heel to take stress off of the tendon
Contact a podiatrist, like Foot & Ankle Care Center PA, for more help.