Running and Track Injuries to the Foot and Ankle

Jogging and running are some of the most popular forms of physical fitness in America. Whether you jog on an indoor track or run outside, this activity can be done year-round and fit comfortably into your daily routine. However, running and track injuries to the foot and ankle are relatively common and can lead to debilitating muscle strains or more serious injury if not prevented.

During jogging or running, the 26 bones, 33 joints, 112 ligaments, and a network of tendons, nerves, and blood vessels of the foot and ankle all work together. Proper conditioning, building up a routine, and stretching muscles, tendons, and ligaments before and after each run can help prevent injuries. The most common foot problems associated with jogging or running include blisters, corns, calluses, Athlete’s Foot, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis. You can avoid most of these foot problems by using proper foot hygiene, keeping your feet powdered and dry, wearing clean socks every time you run, and ensuring your shoes fit properly.

It is important to seek medical attention for recurring and/or increasing aches and pains from jogging or running. At times, a podiatrist like Dr Gilbert Huang DPM can help pinpoint the problem and prevent more serious injury or long-term damage to your feet.

Jogging/running shoes are important for proper support and shock absorption. Like walking shoes, you need to select a pair designed for the shape of your foot with regard to natural foot structure or inclination. There are three basic foot types: pronators, supinators, and people with normal feet. Pronators require motion control shoes, which provide support for the mid-foot, while supinators need stability shoes designed for extra shock absorption. People with normal feet can wear any type of running shoe, although a curved last is generally preferred.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind when purchasing jogging/running shoes:

– Shop at the end of the day when your feet are slightly swollen to get a good fit.
– Try on shoes with the socks you will wear while running.
– Have your feet measured standing up and fit your shoes to the larger of your two feet.
– Be sure there is enough room in the toe box for your toes to move and wiggle.
– Take time when shopping to try on different brands and walk around the store in each pair.
– Look for lightweight, breathable materials for greater comfort.
– Choose shoes that lace for better foot stability and control.
– Make sure your heel fits snugly and does not tend toward slipping out of the shoe.
– Consider buying two pairs of shoes and rotate them to extend the life of each pair.
– Replace jogging/running shoes twice a year or about every 400 miles.

In summary, proper foot hygiene, proper stretching, appropriate conditioning, and selecting the right type of jogging/running shoes for your foot type and structure are crucial to preventing foot and ankle injuries. Anyone experiencing recurring and/or increasing aches and pains from jogging or running should contact a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis, and consider seeing Dr Gilbert Huang DPM for more information about foot and ankle injuries related to running and track activities. Happy running!