Running is a high-impact activity that offers numerous benefits for the body and mind. However, whether you run for exercise, enjoyment, or to further an athletic goal, your feet, ankles, and lower legs are subject to tremendous stress.
During a five-mile run, each foot hits the ground approximately 5,000 times, striking with a force up to four times your body weight. For runners who weigh 165 pounds, this means each foot strike creates roughly 660 pounds of pressure.
The high level of repetition and significant impact force can take a toll over time—and biomechanical abnormalities, doing too much too quickly, or wearing the wrong shoes can make matters worse. As a result, if you're an avid runner, you can find yourself at risk for wide-ranging podiatric injuries. Fortunately, you've come to just the right place for help.
Complete Podiatry Care for Runners
At Omaha Foot and Ankle Specialists, we provide comprehensive podiatric care for running enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. Our experienced podiatrists, Dr. Michael Cullen and Dr. Nathan Penney, are highly skilled in the assessment, treatment, management, and prevention of running-related injuries and conditions. Here are just a few of the issues we address at our practice.
The plantar fascia is a ligament on the bottom of the foot that connects the toes to the heel bone. When this ligament becomes irritated or inflamed, it can cause a stabbing pain in the heel when you're walking or running. Prompt treatment can provide relief and prevent the development of related conditions, such as heel spurs.
This common overuse injury affects the Achilles tendon, which runs down the back of the calf, connecting the bottom of the calf muscle to the heel bone. A sudden increase in the intensity or duration of your runs can cause pain, swelling, and irritation at the back of the heel, just above the bone.
Ball of Foot Pain (Metatarsalgia)
Pain in the ball of the foot is common among runners and can be caused by a number of conditions, including sesamoiditis, an inflammation of the sesamoid bones and the surrounding tendons; Morton's neuroma, a painful thickening of the tissue surrounding the nerves between the third and fourth toes; and bursitis, an inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs between the metatarsal bones.
Broken Bones and Stress Fractures
Runners can suffer broken bones due to falls or twisted ankles. However, it's more common for runners to experience stress fractures—tiny cracks in the surface of the bone caused by overuse. Both stress fractures and traumatic breaks require skilled care to ensure proper healing.
When calcium deposits build up on a bone in the foot, they can irritate the surrounding soft tissue, causing pain and discomfort. Though heel spurs, which form on the underside of the heel bone, are particularly common, spurs can also develop on bones in the toes and arches.
Strains and Sprains
While strains and sprains may seem relatively minor, they require professional assessment and care to ensure a full recovery.
We offer a wide variety of conservative to advanced treatment options to help runners heal. Our recommendations may include:
- R.I.C.E. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation is an effective treatment for many common running injuries
- Boots, taping, and casts. These devices and methods allow us to immobilize an injury to encourage healing
- Cutting-edge therapies. In addition to more conservative methods, we also provide MLS Laser Therapy and shockwave therapy to relieve pain and stimulate the healing process
At Omaha Foot & Ankle Specialists, we want to help you heal and prevent future injury. To that end, we may recommend:
- Gait assessment. To determine if the way you run puts you at greater risk for injury
- Conditioning counsel. Guidance to help you safely increase the intensity or duration of your runs
- Footwear changes. Running in shoes that fit poorly, or fail to provide proper support and cushioning can cause injury; we'll help you choose the right shoes for your runs
- Custom orthotics. Can help correct gait issues, and provide precise support and cushioning
Kick Pain to the Curb and Get Back to Pounding the Pavement
Routine care and prompt treatment for injuries can help runners keep their feet and ankles happy and healthy. Complete our contact form or call us at 402-333-8856 to schedule an appointment.