Running is a fantastic exercise for getting in shape and staying in shape. Many of us have had the experience of seeing somebody who used to be overweight but now looks fantastic thanks to becoming an avid runner. And, for those looking to keep cardiovascularly fit, all it takes is a quick morning jog to get the blood flowing.
For some people, running is a way of life. After all, a healthy body is a happy body, and running is an ideal approach to keeping the body both happy and healthy.
Now, let’s talk about the downside of running. It’s not a mystery why avid runners sometimes have to deal with leg, knee, foot, or ankle pain. But we’ll take a look at the factors to keep in mind:
If you run every day, the ligaments in your feet and ankles don’t have much time to recover. As you add frequency and distance to your running routine, this becomes even more of a factor.
The many ligaments and tendons in and around the ankle may become sore and painful when exposed to increased use and pressure.
Poor running footwear
Some people seem to think that running in anything resembling a sneaker is fine. But running in old, ill-fitting, or cheaply designed footwear can also lead to ankle pain.
Even though many of us may have similar “shoe sizes,” we still have completely different feet. Wearing shoes that don’t fit correctly, especially for a long period of time, can cause problems.
Poor running technique
Bad technique can also be a problem. According to Runners World, using and maintaining the following form can help you avoid pain while running:
- Maintain a short, quick stride.
- Keep your knee in line.
- Focus on pushing up and off the ground behind you.
- Watch your elbows, keeping them bent at an angle of 90 degrees or less.
- Relax your hands, keeping them loose and below your chest.
- Work your core. A strong core makes it easier to stay upright – even when you’re tired. Avoid leaning too far forward from your hip, which can lead to injury.
What to do if you have foot and ankle pain?
If you’re dealing with any of the above issues and the resulting increase in foot and ankle pain, try the following.
Ice when needed
Icing your sore foot and ankles after a run will ease the swelling and keep the pain down. It’s a quick fix, but there’s a reason that professional athletes use ice to ease their aching joints after the big game – it works.
So, keep an ice pack in your freezer, and, when your feet and ankles get sore after a run, hit ‘em with the cold.
Rest your feet
Sometimes, the best way to deal with any kind of pain is to give the body part in question a rest. How much of a rest? Depends on what you are dealing with. If you are a runner experiencing chronic pain, it may be as simple as adjusting your technique, finding footwear that is more supportive, or just dialing it back a little.
If you make adjustments and the pain persists, it’s time to get off your feet and let them heal a little bit. Taking a few days off should have no impact on your overall fitness if you lead a healthy lifestyle.
Taking a break from running doesn’t mean that you have to give up exercise completely. Tweak your workout a little and incorporate some swimming or stationary biking into the program.
Then, when your feet have had enough of a break, re-introduce running into your regimen. If the pain comes back, consider consulting an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist; we’ll be able to give you specific answers to help you get back onto the track.