Anyone who takes up running quickly comes to find that everyone’s feet are very different from one another. Depending on the size and shape of your feet, you could be prone to many different common foot problems, which are often discovered when a person starts running regularly. Physical therapists are beneficial to runners because they can perform an in-depth analysis of your feet and running style to give you the advice you need to prevent injuries, and treat any problems your feet may have from running.
What Exactly Do My Feet Do?
First and foremost, your feet serve as the base of your whole body. They are integral in the balance and support of the rest of your body. They also absorb shock, because their flexibility helps to lessen the impact on your body when your feet hit the ground. Your feet also propel you forward—your foot doesn’t only bend to minimize impact, part of it also stiffens while you’re running to help keep pushing you forward.
Common Foot Problems
The structure of a runner’s foot is most often the cause of any problems a runner experiences.
- Flat Feet: One of the biggest problems that people with flat feet experience is a lack of support. Having flat feet means that you have very low arches in your feet, which leaves you more susceptible to pain the tendons on the inside of your ankle, the inside of your knee, or in the arch of your foot near the heel (plantar fasciistis).
- High Arches: When you have high arches, your feet are often much stiffer, which means they’re not great at absorbing the impact as your feet hit the ground when you’re running. People with high arches often experience pain in their arches and heels (also known as heel spurs and plantar fasciitis), which is usually due to poor shock absorption. This also winds up affecting the person’s lower back, knees, and/or hips.
Wearing the right shoes for the structure of your feet can make all the difference in the world when you’re experiencing common foot problems.
- If you have stiff feet with high arches, you need shoes that have more cushion to make up for your lack of natural shock absorption.
- If you have flat feet with low arches, you need shoes that are stiffer and offer more support and control, because your feet are especially flexible.
- If you have more serious problems with your feet, you’ll usually benefit from orthotics, which are shoe inserts that are specifically designed to support the muscles and joints of the foot that are weak or ineffective, so that you can walk properly. These can either be purchased over-the-counter, or can be custom made.
If you have problems with your feet, especially when it comes to running, you should contact the experienced physical therapists at Physical Solutions to set up an appointment for an evaluation!