One of the most popular physical activities in the world is running. It’s a great way to burn calories, get your heart pumping, and even have more restful sleep at night. Now, these are only a couple of the numerous physical benefits, but it’s important to realize running injuries can sometimes develop as well. Recognizing symptoms of running injuries is your first step in getting the care you need!
Pain is obviously a major symptom of an existing health issue. In the case of running injuries, the nature of the pain itself is sometimes important in diagnosing the injury. A sharp pain that has a sudden onset is often considered to be acute. This will usually be the result of a single incident. Conversely, dull pain is more commonly associated with chronic conditions. These develop in response to overuse during physical activities.
Whether acute or chronic, the pain you experience can be an indication of the running injury you have sustained. Keeping that in mind, here are 6 symptoms of running injuries you should know:
- Heel pain (bottom) – When you have sharp, intense heel pain in the bottom of your foot, the most likely cause is plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a connective tissue bridging the back and front of your foot, running along the sole. This tissue is quite durable, but excessive strain can lead to inflammation and pain, which tends to be strongest with your first steps following extended periods of rest (especially a night’s sleep).
- Heel pain (back) – If your pain is in the back of the heel, you may have a case of Achilles tendinitis. The Achilles is your body’s largest and strongest tendon, but it is not infallible. When subjected to overuse, it can become inflamed and cause a duller pain. This is typically strongest during activity and will generally subside during rest.
- Lower leg pain – Pain in the front of your lower legs is normally from a case of shin splints. When the muscles running along your lower leg bones become overworked. Countless runners develop this condition every year, especially those who had recently increased the intensity of their workouts.
- Forefoot pain – Pain in the front of your foot—specifically, in the ball of your foot between your toes and arch—is known as metatarsalgia. This is one example, out of many, of issues that can be experienced on account of ill-fitting running shoes. In other instances, the pain stems from callusing on the bottom of your foot caused by excessive pressure.
- Toenail pain – If you are experiencing sharp pain in the toenail area, it is certainly possible you have developed an ingrown toenail. Other symptoms indicating this condition include redness and swelling in the soft tissue flanking the toenail. There are certainly other causes of ingrown toenails, but wearing running shoes that are too small can lead to increased risk of the condition.
- Darkened toenails – Black toenails is a fairly common condition for long-distance runners. In this condition, your toenails will appear darkened. Most of the time, this is the result of physical trauma from the front of your toes repeatedly hitting the front of your shoes. This causes bruising and bleeding under toenails (subungual hematoma). In very rare cases, dark spots under a toenail is an indication of a serious form of cancer, so it is better to have the condition properly diagnosed to be safe.
No matter which symptoms you are exhibiting, you should come see our doctors at Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida. We can accurately determine what injury you have sustained and then work to create an effective treatment plan for you. Our practice is led by podiatrists who know what it takes to get you back to your running program following an injury!
For more information on either running injuries or any of the podiatric services we provide, simply give us a call at 407-339-7759 or 352-589-9550 (if you call from Lake County) or use our online form and request your appointment with any of our central Florida locations right through our website.