Posts for: February, 2016
Find out how marathons impact feet and what you can do to maintain good foot health.
Marathons are a great way to stay active and fit while also enjoying the rush of the competition. For some, marathons are a lifestyle that they just can’t live without. The adrenaline and endorphins from completing another marathon can leave you hungry for more; however, while you’re enjoying the afterglow of yet another completed marathon, it’s important to consider your feet!
While we often don’t think of our feet until there is a problem, it’s important to protect them during marathon training and competitions to ensure that they stay healthy and happy. Let’s learn about the effect marathons can have on your feet, and what you can do to protect them.
Common Foot Problems of Marathon Runners
While marathoners tend to be healthier than the rest of the population, there are some precautions that should be taken to ensure that the athlete staves off the common injuries that can occur over those strenuous miles.
Do you know just how much a marathon knocks your feet around? On average, a runner will land about 13,000Â20,000 times on each foot with their whole weight. That’s certainly a lot of force and pressure that your feet have to deal with. Therefore, don’t be surprised if you experience any of these common issues:
- Toenail injuries
While these conditions are more common and rarely warrant a trip to your podiatrist’s office, there are some other more serious foot conditions that marathoners need to be aware of:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinitis
- Stress fractures
- Ankle strains and sprains
Foot Problem Prevention
The key to preventing marathonÂrelated foot injuries is to always choose the proper shoes. This means finding highÂimpact shoes that can give you the ample support your foot needs to do its job properly. Go to a sporting goods shoe store, where the employees will have some expertise in which shoes would work best for your athletic needs. Here are some good rules when it comes to your marathon shoes:
- Never purchase shoes that are too loose or too tight. While you want room for your toes to move around, you don’t want the shoes rubbing against parts of your feet.
- Opt for orthotics to provide additional support and comfort while pounding the pavement.
- Always throw out old shoes, as they won’t provide you with the proper support and cushioning you need. While it’s up for debate when you should replace your shoes, most runners tend to toss their old pair after about 300 to 400 miles.
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t right. While some foot pain can easily go away on its own with rest, some conditions are more serious and require your podiatrist’s attention. If your symptoms become severe or don’t go away after a couple days, it’s might be time to schedule an appointment with us.
Your heel really hurts. You feel a stabbing pain, and it’s so bad you can’t do what you need to do. Instead, you are forced to sit with your feet up and try to relax. It’s frustrating, because you have a busy life, but you can hardly put pressure on your feet. It’s time to see your podiatrist at Family Foot and Ankle Centers serving McLean, Ashburn, Fairfax and Reston, and get back on your feet.
- A heel spur, which is a hard calcium deposit on the bottom of your heel
- A stone bruise, which you can get on the underside of your heel from stepping on a sharp stone or rock
- Bursitis, which is inflammation where your Achilles tendon connects to your heel bone
- Using wedges and heel or arch supports
- Stretching your arches
- Icing your heel 3 times a day for 15 minutes
- Taking over-the-counter medications like aspirin or ibuprofen
Hallux valgus may sound like a complicated, rare disease or a spell from the Harry Potter universe, but it's actually another name for bunions, a common foot disorder.
If your podiatrist has diagnosed you with hallux valgus, you may be a little taken aback. Don't worry,Â that's just a long name for a common foot disorderÂ also known as a bunion. The hallux is better known as your big toe, and "valgus" means bent or twisted. These two words together describe exactly what a bunion isÂ your big toe bent toward your other toes. Moving on to your next possible concerns: why does this problem exist and how can it be treated or prevented?
Hallux Valgus 101
Bunions form due to pressure on the two joints of the big toe. This toe becomes angled unnaturally inward and the bunion is the resulting deformity of the bone. Contrary to popular belief, they are not tumors or cysts. Bunions can present with pain, swelling, and increasingly limited range of motion.
Experts are divided on the cause of bunions: some believe that they are genetic, while others place the blame on years of wearing shoes that crowd the toes. In either case, shoes are thought to worsen hallux valgus deformities over time if they put pressure on the toes or contort the feet into abnormal positions. Since women's footwear is generally more narrow and confining than men's, bunions occur more often in them. While arthritis does not necessarily cause bunions, the joint inflammation can worsen them.
Your podiatrist will likely recommend nonÂsurgical options first. You should ensure that your shoes are comfortable and fit properly. Specialty shoe store employees can take measurements of your foot and recommend the best size. Shoe inserts or arch supports can be used to redistribute your weight and relax the muscles. For pain, overÂtheÂcounter analgesics like ibuprofen or naproxen are recommended.
If you continue you to have problems, surgery to remove some of the bone or surrounding tissue to straighten the foot back into position. A change in the shape of your foot or the way your shoes fit warrants a call to your podiatrist for evaluation.