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Foot Injuries From Running: Types & Treatments

Types of Foot Injuries From Running featured image

Running is an activity that everyone should partake in. It is rich in many health benefits, which is why health care professionals highly recommend it.

Some of these benefits include strengthening bones and muscles, staving off adverse cardiovascular events, maintaining a healthy weight, and improved mood and health. These are just the tip of the iceberg of the health rewards that you can gain if you start jogging.

However, despite the positives, it is important to note that unfortunate accidents may occur. Feet injuries are a group of adverse events that your feet can sustain. This wide category is further divided into different subcategories that are based on the cause, symptoms experienced, the area affected, and the treatment methods employed.

Luckily, this article will outline the different types of feet injuries and their prevention methods so that you will be well-informed in case this problem happens to you.

Common Foot Injuries From Running

foot injury running image

Plantar Fasciitis

What's Causing It?

Excessive tearing of a deep tendon called the plantar fascia can lead to plantar fasciitis. It is worsened by inflammation that causes certain symptoms like pain. Many studies have pointed out that persons who are overweight, have worn shoes that do not provide adequate support or persons who have an improper gait, usually present with plantar fasciitis.

What are the Symptoms?

Do you suffer from:
• Stabbing pain in the sole of your feet?
• Pain that is worse after you wake up in the mornings?
• Enormous pain after standing for long periods ?
• Pain that is worse after exercise?

How to Manage the Pain?

Since the primary symptom that you will experience is the pain, then it is smart first to manage the pain, as it negatively affects your comfort level.

To do this, treatments can be made by professionals or yourself. These are:

• Icing of the area
• Stretching the area
• Painkillers
• Acupuncture
• Self-massage

How to Treat It?

You may be asking yourself, can I fully recover from this problem? The answer is yes. Rehabilitation has a very vital role in this because two main treatment procedures are used. These are local and global stabilization.

With local stabilization, as the name suggests, focuses the rehabilitation to the injured area. The main culprit of plantar fasciitis is flattened arches, so the goal of local stabilization is to address this issue.

In contrast, global stabilization looks at the large picture. Is it improper gait or the way that you land on your feet? Whatever the case may be, it will vary from patient to patient, and the manner to address the problem will vary as well.


What's Causing It?

The metatarsal is the head of the long bones of the foot. There are five in total (one for each toe). During running, these bones can be irritated and inflamed, leading to pain.

The major causes of this feet injury are improper or excessive ground contact leading to the progressive breaking down of the bone. It is because the bone is not given enough time to recover from the impact.

What are the Symptoms?

To know if you have this feet injury, do you suffer from the following symptoms?

• Pain at the end of your metatarsal bones
• Pain that is brought about or worsened by walking or running
• Pain that slowly builds up for a few months

How to Manage the Pain?

Again to make sure that you are comfortable, the first thing to manage is the pain. Therefore you can consider the following stated above for plantar fasciitis, in addition to:

• Application of pressure bandaging
• Injection medication
• Chiropractic pain-relieving methods

How to Treat It?

Treatment of this type of injury entails using more passive but effective methods. This include:

• Resting the feet
• Decreasing the amount of distance walked or jogged
• Purchase new ergonomics shoes
• Substitute jogging with cycling or swimming
• Add padding around the problem area so to soften your landing

For rehabilitation, the major methods used are strengthening the foot and also correcting your landing patterns.

Fat Pad Syndrome

What's Causing It?

Fat pad syndrome is commonly mistaken for plantar fasciitis. However, if you look closely, they have a few differences. For one, fat pad syndrome occurs when the fat in the heel of the foot slowly breaks down, which causes pain and is more associated with the obese.

What are the Symptoms?

To make the diagnosis of fat pad syndrome accurate and not to mistake it for plantar fasciitis, look for these signs and symptoms:

• Pain in the center of the heel rather than the front of the heel
• Deep, aching pain
• If you press your finger in the center of the heel, you will elicit pain
• Pain is worsened or brought about by walking on hard surfaces while barefoot.

How to Manage the Pain?

To manage the pain, consider the following:

• Pain Killers
• Self-massage
• Graston massage

How to Treat It?

There are many treatment methods to choose from. The aim is to prevent excessive pressure from being applied to the problem area. So what you can do is:

• Use heel cups
• Create extra padding around the troubled heel

Posterior Compartment Syndrome

What's Causing It?

Please note that if you think that you are suffering from this condition, consult a specialist doctor immediately, because this is considered an emergency.

To understand the basics, you will have first to understand that the muscles of the lower leg are encased in a fibrous sheath, which is called the compartment. When the muscles in this compartment get too big for the sheath, it elicits pain. It is because the nerves of the sheath are compressed. This is called posterior compartment syndrome.

Now, the major causes of this type of injury are the overuse of the muscle, muscle tear, or a high impact that causes internal bleeding.

What are the Symptoms?

There are two types of posterior compartment syndrome, acute and chronic. Acute is more detrimental than chronic, but both are still emergencies.

The chronic type, however, is more common in athletes. Check off the following symptoms to make sure that you are not experiencing this injury.

• Numbness of the foot and leg due to nerve compression
• Deep-seated ache
• Pain that goes away after you have rested the leg
• Kicking or jumping makes the pain worse
• Pulling the toes downwards makes the pain worse, as well

How to Manage the Pain?

Remember to consult with a professional if you are experiencing these symptoms. Other diagnoses can explain the symptoms that you are experiencing, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

For the pain, it is still recommended that you consult with your doctor before trying anything, because some of the pain-relieving methods can make the problem worse, which can lead to further complications.

For example, over the counter painkillers such as aspirin, can worsen the bleeding, if this is the cause of posterior compartment syndrome. A trained professional will know how best to manage you.

How to Treat It?

Again, consult a professional with this because some methods can aggravate life-threatening conditions such as a venous thromboembolism event, which can lead to your death.

Stress Fracture

What's Causing It?

This occurs when there is repeated stress to the bone over some time. The bone affected can be anywhere — Shin, foot, or less commonly, the thigh, hip, or lower back.

It is commonly seen in persons who do a lot of running or jumping, especially when their bones are not accustomed to it.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms that are associated with this foot injury are:

• Pain that disappears when the foot is rested
• Tenderness on the bone or tenderness surrounding the bone
• Pain is improved when you wear harder shoes
• Pain that gets worse as the day progresses

How to Manage the Pain?

Managing the pain entails the use of painkillers primarily.

How to Treat It?

Fortunately, since the fracture is so small, it usually heals on its own. All you have to do is keep your weight off the foot and allow it to heal.

Morton’s Neuroma

What's Causing It?

The causative factor for this foot injury is the thickening of certain tissues that cause the compression of the surrounding nerves. High-heeled shoes have been proven to be one of the major culprits for this injury, in addition to improper landing.

What are the Symptoms?

If you have this type of foot injury, you may experience the following symptoms:

• The unusual sensation that you are standing on a pebble
• Tingling or numbness of the toes
• Burning pain originating from the foot

How to Manage the Pain & Treat It?

It is advised that you seek medical attention for this injury. They will not only address the pain but also consider treatment methods such as arch supports or foot pads so that there is less pressure on the nerve. Or, if that is not working, surgery can be an option.

Foot Stretches & Exercises

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The previously mentioned foot injuries can be prevented if the appropriate measures were taken. Before diving into intensive jogging, begin by stretching your toes, foot, and calves. By doing this, you will protect yourself from injury.

Abductor Hallucis Toe Pull

This is an easy stretch to perform. All this entails is first to keep your foot flat on the ground. Then grab the big and pull it back. It is supposed to stretch the ligaments and muscles along the arch of the foot. A sensation that you ought to feel along your foot arch.

Seated Toe Stretch

For this exercise, all you have to do is to kneel then sit back on your feet behind you. Then, slowly lean back until you feel a stretching sensation along the arch of your foot. If this is too painful, then you can lean off your foot, while still maintaining that stretch.

Resistance Band Toe Pulls

First, you must sit in a chair, and using a resistance band, wrap it around each big toe. After this, rotate your feet externally and maintain this position for about 30 seconds. Then, return to the original position and rinse and repeat. First, you would want to start with three sets a day, then slowly increase the number of sets per day.

Arch Raise

While standing, flex your foot upwards, then rotate it to the side. The aim is to try and pull the ball of your foot towards the heel. When you do this, the abductor hallucis muscle is being contracted.

Can I Continue To Run?

If you are suffering from one of the previously mentioned foot injuries, then currently running is definitely out of the question. The goal is to rest the problem area so that it can heal, and to do this. You will have to stop applying pressure to it.

However, since you do not want your hours of training to be of naught, then what is recommended that you use other alternatives to keep your cardio up. Consider taking on:

  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Deepwater running
  • Alter-G running

These will be explored further.

Other Training Alternatives For You?

Deepwater running

Another name for this activity is water jogging, and as the name suggests, you jog underwater. It is a great way to build up cardio and recover from or stave off foot injuries. It is a viable method if you desire to better your running form and improve your fitness.


Another great alternative to jogging when you are recovering from a foot injury is swimming. Whether you are using an indoor or outdoor pool, when you are swimming, you are taking the pressure off the problem area, hence allowing your foot to rest.


You may be thinking that with cycling, you still have to apply pressure. However, this is still a much smaller amount of pressure when compared to jogging. Also, you can still avoid putting pressure on the problem area when pedaling.

Alter-G Running

Alter-G running is a new way of running. It includes using a special treadmill that helps to reduce the ground impact or loading when running, hence lessening the pressure on your feet. The treadmill makes use of differential air pressure to decrease your body weight, allowing you to run within a range of 20-100% of your body weight.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good treatment for the ball of foot pain?

Ball of foot pain, also called metatarsalgia, can be easily managed by resting the foot or icing it using an interval of 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. Also, you can purchase comfortable, well-fitted shoes and stop wearing high-heels for the moment.

It is important to stretch, at the same time, focusing on the problem area, in particular. Furthermore, if the injury you have is considered severe by your doctor, they will recommend orthotic inserts, which help correct your gait and cushion your landing.

Lastly, since your comfort is the priority, your doctor may recommend pain relievers such as NSAIDS.

Are there home remedies for foot injuries?

As stated earlier, icing the foot is a great place to start. The cold temperature can reduce inflammation and pain.

Another inexpensive method to accompany this is to elevate the leg and utilize self-massages. The massages involve stretching and applying gentle pressure to the problem areas, which will increase blood flow to the area, hence prompting the healing process.

Epsom salt, which comprises of magnesium sulfate, is very helpful as well. When this chemical is added to a warm bath, it will assist with reducing the pain and swelling.

What causes heel pain after running?

Many causes of heel pain are brought about after you have partaken in long-distance running. These are:

  • Biomechanical factors such as improper gait or landing
  • Your level of running
  • The running shoes that you wear
  • How frequently and the amount of distance that you run
  • Tricky terrain especially hills


Foot injuries are a common complaint among certain groups of people, such as long-distance runners. It can be attributed to the shoes worn, the terrain, how athletically fit the runner is, and how long and often does the person runs.

There are many different types of foot injuries, each with their presentations and treatment options. Some of these injuries are not considered life-threatening, while others are an emergency.

This is why it is highly recommended that you consult with a specialist in all cases because they are better able to discern between the types of foot injuries and know how best to treat it.

There are different stretches that you can adopt into your daily routine so that you can prevent a foot injury from occurring. Lastly, if you are unfortunate enough to sustain an injury to your foot, don't be disheartened, the majority of persons can make a full recovery and start running again.

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