Running is a great way to stay healthy and stay in shape. It’s an important component of many sports but also a popular leisure activity on it’s own. While damage to the knee due to overuse and repetitive activities are the most common injuries to affect runners, foot injuries are not uncommon, and some of them can be painful and even debilitating. However, new advancements in technology have made treating tears, sprains, strains, joint pain and inflammation much easier and more practical which means that the injured can get back up and running, literally, much quicker. Some foot injuries are more common than others and the following 10 shocking facts about their occurrence, treatment and recovery might surprise some people:
1. The Feet Themselves May Be to Blame: Most types of sports and activity related injuries are due to improper use, a lack of equipment or a lack of experience or conditioning on the part of the athlete. Except in the case of plantar fasciitis. This source of heel pain in the foot can actually be caused by the physical characteristics of the foot itself, which can make predicting and treating it a bit more complicated. However, improper footwear can also cause this painful foot problem, so worn out running shoes are out of the question in terms of prevention and recovery of the condition.
2. Sprains and Fractures Impersonate Each Other: The most common of all foot injuries is a sprained ankle and it’s the most common injury in sports in general as well. However, shockingly enough, the discomfort associated with a sprain is surprisingly similar to that encountered during a fracture, so it’s absolutely essential to have the injury evaluated before assuming it’s a simple sprain, especially if there is any question.
3. Foot Injuries Can Lead to Other Injuries: In running, it may seem like the feet do all the work, but they’re merely the anchor from which the rest of the body branches off of to perform the desired activity. This perhaps is why many people with injuries to the foot often end up also needing knee injury treatment. An injured foot often leads people to overcompensate for the injury, putting additional strain on other muscles and joints which can lead to a secondary injury and leg muscle pain.
4. No Bouncing: It’s common sense that warming up is important before any physical activity. But shockingly enough one common act that can actually contribute to the risk of injury is often included in a warm up routine. “Bouncing” which refers to lifting the body up and down in a repetitive motion with the force coming from the legs and feet is too challenging an activity during a warm up, and can potentially lead to injury.
5. Shoe Tread is Like Tire Tread: You wouldn’t drive your car on tires that had no tread, right? Of course not. This is because the vehicle is more susceptible to accidents without good tires. In the same way, runners are more susceptible to foot injuries when the tread gets too low on their running shoes. That treat is important for maintaining grip and balance and can mean the difference between a good run and a trip to the emergency room. A good rule of thumb is that regular runner should replace shoes every six months, and everyone should replace them when the tread is gone or the heel becomes very worn.
6. Treatment is Challenging: Unfortunately, most foot injuries are difficult to treat and home care techniques are often employed. The standard in sports medicine is R.I.C.E. and it stands for rest, ice, compress and elevate. Using this type of treatment is not surprising, it’s been a mainstay in the lives of active people for decades. However, the fact that most foot injuries still rely on little more than this basic type of treatment is shocking in some ways.
7. Treatment is Advancing: Although R.I.C.E. remains the gold standard, as evidenced by the growing number of cryotherapy Toronto based sports clinics, new technologies may be changing the way that foot injuries are dealt with. One of the biggest problems with an injury to the foot is that they can be slow to heal and regular activity cannot always be resumed quickly. This is perhaps why sports physiotherapy Toronto based clinics are seeing more and more people with foot injuries. The externally applied super cooled air during a session of Whole Body Cryotherapy is thought to help speed recovery time in an injury as well as provide pain relief in numerous ways.
8. Runners Who Participate in Other Sports are at Greater Risk: Sports injuries are incredibly common, and they actually get more and more common as we age. For regular runners, an injury to one or both feet may be more likely if high intensity sports like basketball and soccer are also participated in. Problems relating to the feet are some of the most common soccer injuries reported, likely due to all the running the sport involves. And, while jammed fingers are amongst the most common basketball injuries, they’re still less common than a sprained ankle. Runners should realize that many sports and activities increase risk to the feet and make good choices to minimize risk including using proper and safe equipment and stretching properly.
9. Braces Can Help More Than You Think: It’s not uncommon for people to use braces or tape while they are healing or as a part of their at home treatment for a foot injury. However, one of the best uses of tape and braces is very frequently overlooked, and that is preventing injury in the first place or reinjuring a damaged part of the foot. These are especially useful in the case of strains and sprains.
10. Terrain Matters: Where you run may seem irrelevant in terms of injuries but nothing could be further from the truth. While running uphill may be an excellent way to burn calories, it’s also a great way to increase the risk of foot injuries, particularly those affecting the achilles tendon. And, while flat concrete may seem like a boring way to get exercise, running on rocky, uneven or unstable terrain increases the risk of injury even more.