You might be able to run through a tight hamstring or a sore quad. But foot injury usually throws the brakes on a workout—sometimes an entire training season.
The foot is active in both the landing and push-off phases of the running cycle. The foot absorbs the shock of impact (upon landing), then controls the forces generated by running (during push-off).
Many running injuries can be attributed to an issue with either of these functions. If your foot is too stiff to bear the impact, a tibial stress fracture could result. And if your foot is too unstable to land in a controlled manner, you could develop Runner’s Knee.
The most common foot complaint of runners is plantar fasciitis. It tends to afflict those who overtrain, neglect to stretch their calf muscles or overdo hill work and speedwork.
The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that stretches from the toes to the heel. And it is prone to tearing when your foot is overworked. That tearing, which usually occurs at the point where the fascia attaches to the heel, results in inflammation. Because the fascia has a poor blood supply, it can be a slow-healing, chronic condition.
The injury can result in a heel spur. This is a tiny, soft calcium deposit that forms from the bone trying to heal itself. While the spur isn’t painful, it can further irritate the fascia.
The Achilles tendon picks up where the plantar fascia leaves off. The largest, strongest tendon in the body, it runs from the heel to the calf. It propels you forward when you run. This is similar to the plantar fascia. The tendon or its surrounding sheath can become inflamed when overworked, causing Achilles tendinitis.
Foot Injury Conditions
The Cleveland Clinic lists several conditions that can develop as a result of high arch feet. Some of the most common include:
- Metatarsalgia: This condition is characterized by inflammation in the ball of the foot. People with metatarsalgia usually experience pain when standing or walking for long periods of time.
- Hammertoes: This condition occurs when the second, third, or fourth toes bend at the middle joint, resulting in a hammer-shaped appearance. Hammertoes can be painful, and they may eventually require surgery.
- Claw toes: People with this condition have toes that curl downward and dig into the soles of their shoes. Claw toe can have a negative impact on the way that you walk.
- Ankle instability: High arch feet can cause ankle instability and increase your risk for ankle sprains.
- Metatarsal fractures: Because high arches can cause repeated stress, people with the condition may develop hairline fractures in the bones of the foot.
Other common foot problems include Morton’s neuroma (pinched nerve between the metatarsal bones), calluses, black toenails, blisters, and flat feet.