Running for exercise offers many perks. Unfortunately, pounding the pavement can also lead to injuries. Runners’ feet and ankles are prime sites for pain, swelling, and damage.
Identifying Common Aches
Problems frequently affecting runners include:
- Achilles tendinopathy. Over time, the large tendon at the back of your ankle can break down. You may feel pain, stiffness, and loss of function.
- Heel pain. Most often, this is due to plantar fasciitis, irritation of the band of tissue along the bottom of your foot.
- Stress fractures in the feet. These hairline breaks come when the force placed on your feet is too much for them to bear. Warning signs include pain, redness, swelling, and bruising.
Most of these problems start with minor symptoms and worsen if you continue to run through them.
Keep Running Strong
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to stride safely:
- Start slow and build up. Begin by alternating walking and running intervals. Then, increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10%.
- Invest in good kicks. Wear footwear specifically designed for running, and replace them every 300 to 500 miles.
- Mix up your training. Switch off between harder and easier runs, and add strengthening exercises for your hips, such as side-lying leg lifts, to improve your form.
Finally, heed your body’s signals. When your joints or bones begin to ache, stop running for two to three days. If your pain doesn’t subside, seek treatment.