Is Running Bad for Your Feet?

Let’s talk about the positive aspects of running.

As a sport, running offers a ton of benefits:

  • improves cardiovascular fitness
  • strengthens bones and muscles
  • helps with managing your weight
  • provides social connections if you choose to run with a friend or join a running club
  • reduces stress and may even help symptoms of depression

At the same time, we can’t ignore the fact that your feet bear the impact of every stride. Running, therefore, is especially hard on your feet. Heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, blisters on several toes at once, Achilles tendonitis, stress fractures – all of these are extremely common foot and ankle problems in the feet of serious runners.

So how do you know if the benefits of running outweigh the risks to your hard-working feet? That’s up to you to decide together with your primary care provider and board-certified podiatrist Kenneth R. Wilhelm, DPM of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center in Centreville, Virginia. It’s not a bad idea for runners to check in with Dr. Wilhelm for a complete foot exam. He can identify biomechanical issues, muscular imbalances, or pronation problems and correct them with custom orthotics or physical therapy – before they become a huge problem.

How to minimize foot problems

  • Remember to stretch your muscles before setting off on a run.
  • Only wear shoes made for running. Other athletic shoes aren’t built to support and cushion your feet from the particular stresses of running. Dedicate this pair of shoes for running only – don’t wear them all weekend while you’re out running errands.
  • Replace worn-out running shoes promptly – about every 300-400 miles.
  • Vary the type of surface you run on.
  • Don’t forget that recovery days are just as important as workout days. Give your feet – and the rest of your body – a chance to rest.
  • See a podiatrist if you have chronic foot pain or a traumatic injury such as a twisted ankle. Residents of Fairfax County and the greater D.C. area can call us at (703) 996-3000 or contact us online.
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