Even with the best preparation, aches and pains are an inevitable result of a new jogging regimen. If the pain subsides with slow easy exercise, you may continue, but if it gets worse, stop the activity and rest. If it persists, see your podiatrist.
Common Running Injuries
Plantar fasciitis (Arch Pain)
- Arch pain is often caused by frequent stress on the plantar aspect, or bottom of the foot. When the plantar fascia, a supportive, fibrous band of tissue running from the heel to the ball of the foot, becomes injured, pain on the bottom of the foot results. Forefoot and rearfoot instability, with excessive pronation, may result in plantar fasciitis. Overtraining may contribute. Shoes with good midfoot stability may help prevent plantar fasciitis. If pain persists visit your sports podiatrist.
- Heel spur syndrome, related to plantar fasciitis, occurs after calcium deposits build up on the underside of the heel bone. Heel spurs form gradually over many months. Both plantar fasciitis and heel spurs can be avoided by a proper warm-up that includes stretching the band of tissue on the bottom of the foot. The soft tissue injury is usually the cause of the pain and not the spur itself.
- Sometimes referred to as the ball bearings of the foot, the sesamoids are a set of accessory bones found beneath the large first metatarsal bone. Incredible forces are exerted on the sesamoid bones during aerobics, and inflammation and fractures can occur. Proper shoe selection and custom orthotic devices can be useful in treating sesamoiditis.
- Aside from ankle sprains, shin splints are perhaps the most common injury to the lower body, as the muscles attached to the shin bone bring the foot up and down. The pain is usually an inflammation of the shin muscle and tendon due to stress factors. Treat shin pain with cold compresses immediately after the workout to reduce inflammation. Proper stretching before the workout should prevent the onset of shin splints. Strengthening of muscles also helps reduce shin splints.
Achilles tendon and calf pain
- The frequent rising on the toes of an aerobics routine often creates pain and tightness in the large muscles in the back of the legs, which can create pain and tightness in the calf and inflammation of the achilles tendon. Again, stretching the calf muscles gently and gradually before and after the workout will ordinarily help alleviate the pain and stiffness.
- Stress fractures often occur from overtraining. Make sure you gradually increase your running distance and intensity and have an adequate dietary intake of calcium.
Before beginning an exercise regimen, proper stretching is essential. If muscles are properly warmed up, the strain on muscles, tendons, and joints is reduced. The foot is an engineering marvel consisting of 26 bones, 33 joints, 112 ligaments, and a network of tendons, nerves, and blood vessels all working together to establish the graceful synergy involved in running. Running requires balance, support and propulsion which all depend on the foot. Therefore, it is important to make sure your feet and shoes are in good working order before undertaking a serious running regimen. A good start for someone just starting a training regimen is to examine your feet for anything that may seem irregular to you, such as lumps and bumps, skin irritations or discoloration. A podiatrist can perform a thorough evaluation and recommend any treatment if necessary along with shoe buying recommendations. Of course if you have any underlying medical conditions or have not been seen by a doctor in less than a year, a thorough check up is recommended before starting any training program.
The most common pain associated with jogging is known as runner’s knee, a catch-all for jogging-related knee pain. One of the most common causes of runner’s knee is excessive pronation, or rolling in and down, of the foot. This syndrome is now often called the patello-femoral pain syndrome. Orthoses (arch supports — shoe inserts) prescribed by your podiatrist are the best way to alleviate the problem. Occasionally, rubber pads in the arch of the shoe will help. Shin splints, which painfully appear at the front and inside of the leg, are caused by running on hard surfaces, overstriding, muscle imbalance, or overuse. Treatment includes changing running technique or insertion of an orthotic device in the shoe.