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It’s running season and if you’re new to running you may be experiencing some aches and pains that if left untreated can lead to more serious injuries.

Running is one of the best calorie burners, it doesn’t require a gym membership and it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors.  But the persistent pounding on the pavement can also lead to injuries.

“It’s usually due to too much, too soon and not enough stretching, improper shoe-wear, worn shoe-wear,” says Dr. Dana Plew, a Johnston podiatrist.  “Those are probably some of the most common reasons.”

One of the most common injuries is plantar fasciitis. 

“The sooner you start treatment, the faster it goes away.”

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot.  Symptoms include pain or stiffness on the bottom of the heel or a burning sensation on the bottom of the foot. 

Dr. Plew says a little rest and taping the foot are the best remedies.

“Taping the foot is a god send.  It allows you to continue to run while supporting it at the same time.”

Achilles tendonitis and shin splints are also common running injuries.  Both are caused by overuse, poor conditioning and a lack of stretching.  Dr. Plew says finding the right shoe can make all the difference.  For instance, if you’re training for long distances, look for a shoe with extra cushioning. 

“You don’t want that to be a really flimsy for a training shoe.”

If you’re running off road, try a trail shoe.

“It’s just a little bit sturdier, has a tougher toe box and again the tread is a little sturdier.”

If you’re toenails are turning blue or black, your shoes are probably too small.

“If you’re running marathons you have to increase your size a half a size,” says Dr. Plew.  “Some people even an entire size because your foot will swell that much if you’re increasing to that mileage.”

And keep in mind, the right shoe doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

“There are so many bells and whistles these days that everyone thinks they need everything when you really don’t.”
Of course, if pain continues, see your doctor.  Otherwise, happy trails and happy feet.