Runners: What To Expect When You Visit the Podiatrist
Us runners can be a stubborn lot.
No matter what injuries we have, we quite often ignore advice and decide to go for a 10 mile run on the same day as receiving treatment for an injury.
Often, the will and need to run is greater than the pain I suffer afterwards. Even if podiatrists tell runners to take it easy for a week, it is not likely that this advice would have any effect.
What to take with you.
If you are a runner and are suffering from foot pain, a great tip to bear in mind when you go to see your podiatrist after getting foot problems, is to take along your running shoes with you to your appointment.
The podiatrist will be able to look at the soles of the shoes and see from the patterns of wear and tear if you are suffering from any particular problems when training. These can be vital clues for them to help get rid of your painful feet.
This video shows Dr Jenny Sanders from the Financial District Foot & Ankle Center discussing how to check if your running shoes are worn out.
What to expect.
Hopefully, the podiatrist should also ask you to perform a “functional gait analysis” – which, to you and me, is just them watching you walk and run so they can observe any problems with the way you are running. They are not looking to tell you that you should be holding your head in a different position – more that they can see that you might be putting more weight on a certain leg when landing, or that your foot or ankle twists in one direction when the other does not.
These sorts of things are almost impossible for you to see yourself. Also, a “static foot evaluation” will be done to check other functions of your foot and ankle. This is also important, but the functional test can often reveal problems more readily.
The podiatrist will be looking for the following issues and problems:
- Do the feet pronate or supinate for any reason (bend the wrong directions for too long).
- Are the ankle, knee and hip joints all aligned correctly when running and walking. A hip issue can affect the feet too.
- Is your pelvis and spine aligned correctly when running.
- Is your upper body also relaxed when you run. Tension anywhere else in the body has a massive effect on the way you walk or run, so this needs to be investigated.
However, if you take a look at the top marathon runners in the world, you will see that none of them have the “ideal” or efficient body style – but they can still run very long distances over very short times.
Every body (and everybody) is different and therefore no ideal running style can help reduce painful feet, but having your body shape checked is important if you are looking to become the next Mo Farrah.
Common problems that podiatrists and chiropractors come across most are:
- Plantar fasciitis – the runners injury.
- Acute ankle sprains.
- Shin splints.
- ITB Syndrome (knee injury).
- Knee pain.
- Lower back pain.
- Hip pain.
As you can see, these issues all affect the lower part of the body, so taking care to make sure you are running correctly is important. Not just for your feet, but for all of you.
Here are a few tips to help you make sure you are running correctly.
- Change your trainers regularly and also make sure they are right for your feet and offer you the correct amount of support.
- Get checked out by a chiropractor to make sure that there are no issues with your spine and other joints. This is especially important if you are undertaking a marathon style length race.
- Training with other people, clubs or professionals will help keep your motivation – but it will also give them the opportunity to advise you on your running style and point out where you might be holding your body wrongly.
Time to take action!
The podiatrist will also expect you to take action with the advice you have been given.
I remember being asked to do calf stretches that would help my plantar fasciitis, but ignoring the request for a few weeks. Once I did take action on what I had been asked to do, it made the world of difference to my general well-being.