Running is a sport favoured by many Singaporeans as it does not require a gym membership, and it can be done at anytime and anywhere. Despite running being a healthy activity, it is still a high impact sport, which may put too much stress on our feet. Here are some common running injuries and tips on how to prevent them:
Shin splints are pains along the front or inner part of the shin bone which can extend towards the arch. It is an overuse injury and tends to happen when there is a sudden increase in running frequency or intensity. It may also be due to abnormal foot posture such as flat feet. As the muscles that are attached to the shin bone are overloaded, this may cause stress fractures along the shin bone if untreated.
Bruised toenails usually occur due to jarring of the toenails against the front of the shoe. The reddish black discolouration is due to bleeding under the nails which then dries up to be a blood clot. You may notice your nail lifting up from the nail bed and eventually come off. The new nail that grows to replace the damaged nail may be thickened or distorted depending on the severity of trauma to the nail.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common heel pain conditions. Pain is felt at the bottom of the heel and is usually worse when you first step down from bed in the morning and with prolonged weightbearing. Plantar fasciitis is usually caused by overloading of the plantar fascia due to a sudden increase in running frequency or intensity, or it may be a result of abnormal foot posture and tight or weak muscles.
Achilles tendinopathy is another common heel condition at the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon inserts into. Pain is usually felt when you push off to go forward and when you tip-toe. Tight and weak calves are usually associated with this condition.
Tips to prevent these conditions from occurring:
- Ensure that your running shoes are fitted properly and that your laces are secure around the ankle to prevent your foot from sliding forwards and jarring the toenails
- Gradually increase your running frequency or intensity to allow your feet to adjust to a higher load, especially if you have not been running for a long time
- Stretch your feet and leg muscles before and after running
- See a podiatrist if your symptoms have persisted for longer than 2 weeks. A podiatrist can perform a thorough biomechanical assessment and recommend the appropriate footwear and insoles if required.
- As directed by your podiatrist, wear appropriately prescribed insoles to correct abnormal foot posture and avoid overloading your feet.
If you are suffering from any feet conditions from running, feel free to seek help from our friendly podiatrists via our free “Ask a Podiatrist” Whatsapp service!