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Long Distance Running - Foot Problems

The Dublin City Marathon is an annual charity event that enables runners, joggers, and walkers to raise funds and awareness for the charity of their choice. Normally held on the last Monday of October, the race will take place on Sunday the 30th this year, with 17,500 people taking part. In advance of this event, we’ve compiled a list of foot problems that can occur as a result of long-distance running, and tips on how to prevent them.

Plantar Fasciitis

The Plantar fascia is the tendon that connects our heels to our toes, and is one of the most at-risk body parts for long-distance running. Plantar fasciitis, the swelling of this ligament, occurs as a result of overuse, and so could potentially affect walkers & joggers as well as runners. But runners are more likely to develop the condition because of the sudden expansion and contraction of the ligament, as well as the increased trauma that running places on our feet. In order to prevent this condition, proper, well-fitted footwear with good shock-absorption is an absolute necessity, as are stretches. Curling your toes, trying to “push” a wall, and manually stretching your feet with your hands are the best ways to ensure that your Plantar fasciae are properly stretched, and less likely to sustain an injury.

Runner’s Knee

Runners knee, or Patellofemoral pain syndrome, is another overuse injury, but it is not limited to one specific cause. Excessive running can damage the knee in a variety of different ways, including the swelling of the ligaments or tendons in the knee, the breakdown of cartilage, or the inflammation of the synovial, which is the pouch that lubricates the knee. This means that, while stretches can help in some cases, it may not in others. And it’s difficult to know which is which. So when it comes to runner’s knee, the best course of action you can take is ensuring you have proper footwear, which will hopefully prevent the condition from ever occurring. If you are experiencing knee pain however, fear not. Those who suffer from runners knee should actually continue to run, but only until the knees start to hurt. The length of time you are able to run should increase with each run, so take your time and don’t push yourself too far. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Stress Fracture

A stress fracture is a small crack that occurs in the bones as a result of overuse and trauma. In runners, a stress fracture will usually occur in either the shin or the feet. Once again, proper footwear is crucial to preventing this sort of injury. Unfortunately though, if you have suffered a stress fracture, the only way to recover is with time and rest. Failure to allow the fracture to heal completely before returning to running will only exacerbate the situation, so prevention should be your top priority unless you plan to be out of action for several weeks.

As you can tell, many of the injuries that affect runners revolve around two key issues: overuse, and improper footwear. If you are a serious runner, you can’t underestimate the importance of proper footwear and supplementary exercise. In addition to your normal stretches, you should also make sure that your legs and knees are not simply moving in the same way over and over again. Working out in other ways, such as by exercising your thighs and hamstrings, will help your body get a proper stretch, and prevent injuries like these from occurring.

For more information on the Dublin City Marathon, please visit their website