Whenever you start something new like running when you are overweight, you are very enthusiastic about it. You do not realize the repercussions of it until you experience pain especially foot pain.
Running is a form of exercise that many are adopting today for various reasons. One of the most popular reasons is to lose weight. In a way, it is good. But, many do not plan it. Many do not realize that when you run, your entire body weight is handled by your feet.
This puts a lot of pressure on your toes, your heels, the sole of the feet, your ankles, and the feet altogether. And to add to it, the ground impact that the feet have to face once it strikes the ground could also lead to some injury if the runner is not well prepared.
Irrespective of whether you are running on a treadmill, in the street, or on some soft ground, you need to understand your feet first to avoid foot pain.
Our ankles and the feet are designed in such a way that they can handle 2 to 3 times of our body weight. However, when we overwork and abuse and neglect our feet, they will complain. The injuries that could be a result of this negligence could be chronic. They would take time to heal.
You will notice many runners investing in the best of shoes today to avoid foot pain. In fact, the shoe market keeps coming up with new advanced shoes that will protect our feet and, thereby, our body overall.
These shoes use high quality, supportive, cushioned materials, and use the best technology. People spend a lot today just to prevent any unnecessary injury.
During running, when our feet hit the ground, the impact is felt not only by our feet but also by our hip, knee, ankle, and even our lower back.
Even when one foot is in the air while the other hits the ground, both of them do face stress. Not only is it important for the foot to be able to absorb the ground impact, but the landing foot also needs to do its job in a controlled manner. Failing to do so could lead to painful injuries.
Tips to stop foot pain while running and overweight
Irrespective of the reason you are running and the time invested, be it 5k or 10k, you must do some stretches before you start your running activity to avoid foot pain.
You may have noticed many people do stretches that involve the areas above the feet like the ankle, hips, and knees. And in the bargain, the main foot area is ignored.
When this happens, there can be injuries not only to the feet, but it will also injure the ankles, hips, and knees in some way.
Here we will discuss three stretches followed by runners to avoid foot pain. These are done to keep the toes and feet healthy. And ultimately get prepared for the great run.
The pain that lies between the ankle and the arch, which is the inside of the foot, is called arch pain. This type of pain is related to the posterior tibialis tendon. It is very common among flat feet runners.
When running wearing shoes, the heels strike the ground first. The tibialis posterior muscle/tendon will try providing support to the foot when the heel strikes and during push-off. In such a case, the tendon may become inflamed or experience overuse.
Arch Pain Prevention
Knee to wall stretch
This stretch is done to avoid pain in the arch from occurring. In this stretch, the runner will stretch his front foot with knee bent and facing the wall while the heel of that foot touches the ground while maintaining the arch position.
In this position the runner has to hold for 30 seconds each time and complete three sets.
Plantar fasciitis is heel pain. It is a common injury faced by runners. This type of pain is experienced somewhere close to the runner’s heel, which is on the inside part of the arch. Runners having goat feet or high arches experience this more.
Heel Pain Prevention
One can avoid plantar fasciitis but doing a few things. The runner will have to warm their plantar fascia and their foot. By doing so, they will see an improvement in the elasticity, which is crucial for running activities.
Stand and place the big toe against the wall, and then lean and stretch so much so that the stretch can be felt on the foot bottom. This needs to be done for 30 seconds each in sets of 3.
Toe Pain Prevention
Kneeling Toe Stretch
To avoid hallux rigidus, maintaining the big toe’s normal extension as much as possible is important. By doing this stretch, the big toe’s joint mobility will be improved. This happens because the joint ligament or capsule is stretched. Do this stretch when kneeling with the big toe in an extended position.
You should stretch your foot at least 1 to 2 times every week. This will prevent the pain from occurring. It also helps if you do have toe, heel, or arch pain before or after running.
Please note, if you experience any pains or strains in the feet, please consult a physical therapy doctor.
Apart from these three main ailments, the foot could also have blisters. These occur as a result of the friction between the shoes and the runner’s skin. These blisters could be painful. And the pain arising from it could get aggravated due to ill-fitting shoes or because of moisture.
Tips to prevent foot pain
Strength Train Your Soles
If you have strong feet, you will be able to run better and comfortably. Raise your big toe while you stand or sit. This will help in strengthening the deep small foot muscles that have control over the running motion.
Firmly place your feet on the ground and lift only the big toes. Do this ten times for each foot in sets of 3, by changing sides alternatively. Before bedtime, stand on the ground, bare feet, and push down through the toes and heels while pulling them closer.
By doing this, you will lift the arch. This helps to improve arch strength.
Also, massage your soles for 10 minutes if you can.
Rethink Your Sneaker Type
It is said that runners who have flat feet go in for sneakers providing more arch support. And runners with high arches search for more cushioned shoes. While others would opt for shoes that are more pared-down. Moreover, the runner needs to be comfortable when using running shoes. This way, the number of injuries that could occur would be reduced.
Be In the Strike Zone
The strike of your feet on the ground makes the major difference in the way your joints and your feet feel. It is said that people who hit the ground using their forefoot are likely to face fewer injuries compared to heel strikers. When you land on your forefoot, the landing is way softer than a heel strike and it helps to avoid foot pain.
There is less stress put on the knees as the calf cushions your foot’s landing. However, this doesn’t mean that heel strikers are doomed. That they will always face some or the other injury, actually some study shows that runners who never experienced any injury had soft landings as compared to those who had faced an injury before.
If you hear the sound of your landing, it means you landed very hard. Every runner will need to make an effort to have a soft landing in order to avoid injuries.
Take a Rest Day
Give your body and your feet some rest to recoup to avoid foot pain. Failing to do so could invite injuries.
When you are participating in a race and are training for it, try to have a recovery day and cross-train on alternate days as you could swim, bike, do yoga, or even lift weights. Do anything that does not give you jolts, especially no jumping.
And, when trying to increase your mileage, please do it slowly and gradually to avoid foot pain. For example, you can increase it by ten to twenty percent every week.
Your shoes also need to recoup. The shoe foam gets compact after running. And it rebounds slowly to the normal height once you workout. This recovery period of the shoe, however, depends on your body weight, your running speed.
But the foam rebounds faster when you take more time between your runs. When running every day, keep an extra pair of identical shoes, so it gets enough time to recoup.
And lastly, try and replace your shoes after reaching every 425 miles to avoid foot pain. You could replace it with an older pair that you have not used much, and that does not require any repair.