We’re lucky in Austin to have weather that allows for outdoor running year round—though with temperatures climbing toward summer, some of those sessions might be shifting to earlier in the morning or later in the evening. Running is great exercise, great for your body, and for many people great fun. But it also comes with some risk of injury, particularly for those with greater mileage, less efficient running form, or both.
Here are some of the most common foot and ankle issues, associated with running, we see at our office:
Shin splints—swelling and pain along the tibia bone in the shin, common among those who have rapidly increased the intensity of training in a short time period.
Stress fractures—tiny cracks in bone, usually in the midfoot, that form when fatigued muscles and tendons in the foot can’t absorb shocks as well and transfer more impact force directly to the bones.
Black toenails—also known as subungual hematoma, this is a pooling of blood under a toenail, causing a distinctive discoloration. The nail may or may not ultimately fall off.
Achilles tendinitis—the tendon at the back of your leg (also called the heel cord) which connects to your calf tightens and tears under strain. It’s more common among middle-aged runners (though it can happen to anyone) due to the tendon naturally losing strength and flexibility with age.
Plantar fasciitis—the most common form of general heel pain, plantar fasciitis refers to inflammation of tissues supporting the arch and running from heels to toes. Pain is usually at its worst during the first steps of the morning, or after a long rest.
Ankle sprains—typically caused by rolling the ankle during an awkward, unanticipated step—like contact with a curb or porthole.
Fortunately, most of these conditions can be treated conservatively through gentle therapies at our office, and changes in your training routine or equipment can help you prevent future cases. Often, approaches such as rest, a new pair of running shoes, certain stretches or physical therapy, wearing orthotics or prefabricated shoe inserts, and restricting any increases in training intensity to 10% per week can work wonders both now and in the future.
Dr. Keith McSpadden is passionate about helping runners, athletes, and those from all walks of life overcome stubborn foot and ankle pain. Let our team at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute get you back to putting your best foot forward! Request an appointment online, or call us at 512-593-2949.