A Runner’s Guide to Preventing Foot and Ankle Injuries

As the temperatures start to heat up this summer, the sidewalks, trails, and pathways are filling up with runners going out for their morning or evening jog. We hope you’re one of them! We probably don’t have to tell you how good running is for your mind and body, not to mention your feet.

That said, we also probably don’t have to tell you that running without proper preparation is a recipe for a foot injury, too. Whether you’re already an avid runner, or you’re just getting started (or restarted), this basic guide can help you minimize your risk of both painful accidents and chronic pain.

  • Stretch every day, including before and after a run. Take your time and make sure to warm up for about 10 minutes.
  • At least a couple of times per week, perform strengthening exercises for your feet, ankles, and legs. This helps them better stabilize and protect your bones and joints during your run.
  • Get a decent pair of running shoes. No, you don’t have to spend $300. But you also can’t expect your old pair of tennis shoes to do the job, either. Find a nice pair of dedicated running shoes that are a good match for your foot shape and gait style. The staff at a specialty running store can usually provide good advice here, as can we.
  • Replace your running shoes when they wear out. A good rule of thumb is 300-500 miles, but that number varies depending on factors such as your weight, your form, and the terrain.
  • Pace yourself. One of the best ways to get hurt is to go too far, too fast, too soon and ignore all the painful warning signs along the way. Start slow—perhaps even with just walking. Build up your intensity gradually, increasing duration and intensity by only about 10% per week.
  • Mix up your activities. Running is great, but if it’s you’re only exercise you can put a lot of stress on your feet. Make sure you take appropriate rest days and spend some time doing less impact-heavy aerobic exercises.

May the roads and trails be kind to you this summer! Should foot pain or injury befall you, however, make an appointment with Foot & Ankle Clinic of the Virginias. We have seven convenient locations to serve you—just call (800) 456-8637.