Running pain-free is one of life’s great joys and a great run leaves us feeling on top of the world. On the other hand, feeling pain in your feet when you run can be hugely frustrating and could even put you off running altogether.
If you do experience foot pain when you run, it’s advisable to identify the cause as soon as possible so that you can remedy it and get back to enjoying what you love.
The experts at running shoe brand, 361º Europe, have put together these five possible reasons your feet might hurt when you run with advice on how to fix it.
1. You overpronate
Overpronation refers to your ankles rolling inwards when you run and is commonly caused by flat feet or fallen arches as well as weak glute and leg muscles. By not landing correctly when you run, you can cause a chain reaction up through your knees, hips and even spine which can lead to further injuries and painful running. If you experience pain in the arch of your foot, it is likely caused by overpronation.
How to fix it: Identify if you overpronate by having a professional gait analysis or simply recording your run so you can watch back and see for yourself. If your ankles roll inwards, you should invest in a pair of stability running shoes to help support your ankles and feet and prevent further injury. Do strength training exercises such as squats and lunges, focusing on keeping your knees out, which will strengthen your glutes and encourage better running form. You can also strengthen the arch of the foot itself with rehab and physiotherapy.
2. You don’t stretch
They say that two things runners love are carbs and not stretching – so if this is you, you’re not alone! Stretching properly is an important part of any runner’s weekly regime and definitely shouldn’t be skipped. Tight muscles can lead to imbalances and injuries and this is what can cause painful feet when you run.
How to fix it: Get into a stretching routine and make it a non-negotiable part of your day. Do dynamic stretching before and after your run and slower, gentler static stretching as a separate workout away from running.
3. You’re wearing the wrong running shoes
One of the most common causes of foot pain when running is wearing the wrong running shoes. There are many different types and styles of shoe and some people fall into the trap of wearing ‘fashion’ trainers instead of proper, supportive running shoes.
How to fix it: Seek professional advice if you’re not sure which shoes are best for you, many running shops offer a complementary running gait assessment, which is a great way make sure you select the right pair of trainers for your individual running style.
4. You have an underlying injury
For runners, phrases like ‘plantar fasciitis’ and ‘IT Band’ are common parlance and many runners accept that getting injured is an inevitable part of the process. If you have an underlying or undiagnosed injury, this could be causing the pain in your feet.
How to fix it: Identify where you are feeling the pain and get professional advice on which injury could be causing it. For example, plantar fasciitis is a very common running injury which presents as pain in the heel or on the bottom of the foot and is caused by inflammation of the fibrous tissue that runs along the underside of your foot. Treatments for such injuries include plenty of rest, ice to reduce swelling or inflammation, and making sure you’re wearing properly supportive running shoes.
5. Your running shoes are too tight/laces tied too tight
A less common complaint among runners is pain on the top of the foot, although it isn’t unheard of. If you suffer from pain on the top of your foot or your feet and toes go numb when you run, it is most likely caused by your shoelaces being tied too tight or your shoes being too small.
How to fix it: It is common practice for runners to size up when they buy running shoes and you should never choose your running shoe size based on what size you think you ‘should’ be. If the top of your foot feels tender, it could be extensor tendonitis which is simply inflammation of the tendons on the top of your foot caused by the pressure of tight laces. Loosen or re-tie your laces and make sure your running shoes are big enough and this pain should subside after a few days.
To find out more about 361º Europe and its range of running shoes, please visit the 361 Degrees website.