Running places extra stresses on the body, and a podiatrist for runners can be a great ally to have in the prevention, management and treatment of foot pain and injuries.
There are many reasons that people start running:
- To improve their health and fitness
- To lose weight
- To challenge themselves
- To increase their energy levels
- To keep active
- To boost their mood
- To feel better about themselves
- To exercise in the great outdoors
- To take part in park runs, races or marathons.
Some people discover that running puts them in a different headspace – a form of mindful meditation if you like.
Running suits people who are seeking a solitary, low-cost form of exercise where they are in control of how far and fast they run.
Whatever the reason for taking up running, it results in considerable forces being placed on the feet, legs, muscles, and hips*.
Understanding the biomechanics of running helps to explain the demands placed on these parts of the body.
The Gait Cycle
The Gait Cycle begins when one foot touches the ground and ends when that same foot contacts the ground again.
There are two parts of the Gait Cycle:
- The stance phase is where one leg and foot are bearing the bodyweight;
- And the swing phase is where both feet are off the ground.
Every person has their own gait pattern which affects their biomechanical characteristics. The type of running shoe you wear will also affect your gait pattern.
While runners are at a higher risk of injury, having realistic expectations can reduce your risk. If you are new to running, set yourself small, achievable goals such as running 500 metres slowly at first, and then build up over time to increase your speed and distance.
Why See a Podiatrist for Runners?
The most common issues any podiatrist working with runners will see include:
- Achilles tendonitis, where there is pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon and back of the heel that worsens with exercise.
- Plantar fasciitis, or pain in the bottom of the heel that is most pronounced when you stand up after resting.
- Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (Shin Splints), inflammation of the muscles, tendons and tissue around your tibia. Pain occurs along the inner border of the tibia.
Sports podiatry focuses not just on the treatment and management of injury, but also on the prevention of injuries so this is just another reason a podiatrist may be a runner’s best friend!
As a new runner, it’s a good idea to consult your local podiatrist for a comprehensive biomechanical assessment of your gait pattern first.
With special interests in sports podiatry, either Trevor Lane or Elvie Wytenburg at our Redlands clinic are the ideal podiatrist for runners. Bookings can be made by calling 3207 4736 or try our secure online booking system.
* While most people can run successfully, there are some health conditions such as osteoarthritis, bunions, knee problems or an eating disorder which indicate that running is not the best form of exercise for you.