While running can be great for a person’s overall health, it is harder on the feet than any other physical activity. Foot pain is common in both recreational and competitive runners. This is because the average person hits the ground with two to three times their normal body weight when they run. This pounding places considerable stress on the foot and ankle. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, a 150-pound jogger will expose their feet to a total impact of 150 tons over the course of a three-mile run. To put this into perspective, a small compact car weighs about 1 ton.
To help the feet cope with this pounding, proper footwear is crucial for preventing pain. Foot pain due to running can range from minor aches to serious injuries. Heel pain is due to a condition called plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that connects the bottom of the heel to the base of the toes. This tissue becomes swollen and painful do to overstretching. Tendinitis is an irritation and swelling of tendons and can often affect the arch of the foot. It can be caused by excessive running or running too far too fast. Toe pain is common when running shoes are too small as the toes slam against the front of the shoe. Small shoes can cause toenails to turn black or fall off. Improper fitting shoes can also result in blisters, which form from friction between the skin and shoes.
Wearing running shoes specifically designed for the sport can help prevent many foot problems. Running shoes have extra padding to cushion the impact and are constructed to provide support and stability for the foot’s arch. Other methods to prevent pain include stretching, proper training increases, running on dirt terrain, and stopping once pain is noticed.