Taking Care of Your Toes and Feet

Four Common Causes of Foot Pain in Runners

Most runners suffer from foot pain at some point in their training, but many have a poor understanding of the reason why their feet hurt. The following four conditions are common causes of foot pain in runners. See if any of them match your symptoms and then contact a sports podiatrist for advice.

1. Plantar Fasciitis

Running puts a lot of stress on the plantar fascia, the band of tissue that connects the toes to the heel of the foot. To make matters worse, runners often have tight calf muscles, which increases the risk of developing this condition.

To prevent and treat plantar fasciitis, which typically presents as heel pain in the morning, you need to stretch your calves multiple times throughout the day. Wearing a splint to keep your ankle flexed while you sleep might also help. If the plantar fasciitis does not improve, see a podiatrist. They can recommend exercises and footwear changes to take the stress off your plantar fascia so they can heal.

2. Extensor Tendonitis

Top-of-foot pain is often experienced by runners who tie their shoes too tight or spend too much time running uphill. This condition occurs when the tendons that run along the top of the foot become swollen and irritated. To get rid of this condition, ice your feet after runs, tie your shoes more loosely and stick to flatter routes for a while.

3. Morton's Neuroma

Morton's neuroma is a type of nerve pain that develops around the base of the second or third toes when runners wear shoes that are too tight in the toe box. This pain can make it very difficult to put weight on the ball of the foot, forcing runners to break from their training schedules.

Morton's neuroma can become chronic if you do not get it treated, so you should see a podiatrist as soon as possible. To prevent it from coming back, try to find running shoes that give your toes plenty of room to spread.

4. Stress Fracture

Stress fractures occur much more often in runners than in the general population. Usually developing after a runner rapidly increases the number of miles they run each week, stress fractures derail many marathon training plans.

Continuing to run on a stress fracture delays healing. If you suspect you might have a stress fracture, which causes dull, localised pain on the top or outside of the foot, then you must see a podiatrist for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.