Common Conditions That Cause Foot Pain in Runners

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For a runner in the middle of a marathon-training program, foot pain is a disaster. In order to get back to your training plan, you need to find out what is wrong with your foot and take appropriate actions to help it heal. Consult a podiatrist to find out whether one of the following common conditions is responsible for your foot pain.

1. Extensor Tendonitis

Your extensor tendons run along the top of your foot, connecting your toes to your ankle and allowing you to flex your toes upwards. Inflammation or irritation in these tendons manifests as pain in the top of the foot.

The most common cause of extensor tendonitis is excessive pressure on the top of the foot. Try lacing your shoes a little more loosely to see if that reduces the pain you feel during and after running. If this simple solution does not reduce your foot pain, see a podiatrist.

2. Plantar Fasciitis

Sometimes known as "runner's heel," plantar fasciitis is a condition that affects huge numbers of people who train for running races. Although this condition can become chronic if you ignore it, making a few simple changes to your routine can get rid of it so you can get back to your usual training schedule.

The plantar fascia runs along the sole of the foot, connecting the base of the toes to the heel. Inflammation or irritation in this tissue causes pain in the heel or towards the back of the arch. Severe plantar fasciitis hurts all the time, whereas milder cases cause pain only during exercise and when you stand up after sitting or lying down for a long time.

The best solution to plantar fasciitis is to stretch your calves. Many runners have tight calves, which put extra strain on the plantar fascia. Several times a day, stretch your calves by putting one of your legs straight out behind you, bending your front knee and leaning forward until you feel a stretch in the back of your lower leg.

3. Stress Fractures

Although less common than tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, stress fractures are a risk that all runners face. A stress fracture typically causes pain in the front part of the foot, which can feel a bit like extensor tendonitis. However, whereas tendonitis foot pain radiates over a large area, stress fracture pain is highly localised. If you suspect you might have a stress fracture, try pressing on the top of your foot with your thumb. If you find one spot that is particularly painful, you might have a stress fracture in that bone.

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