I’ve always been very active. When I was a child I loved to run and I played a lot of sports. I’m still an avid runner. I don’t run competitively but I just love getting out for a run. However, I’m flat footed and I suffered a number of injuries when I was younger. If it wasn’t for the help I received from a Pedorthist, I would never have been able to continue running.
It was my childhood visits to a Pedorthist that led me to consider pursuing a career in pedorthics. Today, I get a great feeling each time I help my patients walk or run as I know firsthand how frustrating it is not to be able to get out for a run because of painful feet or lower limbs.
As a Pedorthist and an enthusiastic recreational runner, I counsel a lot of runners on how to stay injury free. Here are the tips I give them:
- Follow a regimented and well planned training regimen.
- Don’t do too much too soon – no more than a 10% increase in training volume a week. Anymore and you’ll increase your risk of overuse injuries
- Do exercises such as calf raises and towel crunches with your toes to strengthen the muscles of your foot and ankle.
- Book a comprehensive biomechanical assessment with a Canadian Certified Pedorthist, Your Pedorthist will recommend the most appropriate running shoes for you and tell you whether you will benefit from custom foot orthotics.
The most common foot injuries I see with patients who run recreationally are plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. These injuries result from two main causes: doing too much too soon, and changing one’s foot strike pattern or footwear without an adequate adaptation period. Doing too much too soon is a widespread mistake with recreational runners. Gradual progression is definitely the name of the game when it comes to running – if we continually push our bodies beyond their ability to adapt, we increase the likelihood of overuse injuries.
Most importantly, if you are a recreational runner and you experience an acute, recurrent or persistent lower limb or foot injury, don’t delay treatment. Book a consultation with a Pedorthist. It’s also a good idea to see a Pedorthist if you’re considering switching to a different type of running footwear, such as minimalist/barefoot. Your Pedorthist will review the fit, function, and wear pattern on your current footwear and recommend if a change in footwear is appropriate for you.
By Kevin Carrington, C. Ped (C), Ottawa, ON