Before you hit the ground running, Dr. Vann recommends getting an annual physical to rule out underlying health issues. It’s also wise to learn about the following common foot and ankle injuries and ways to prevent them.
- Muscle pulls or tears can be painful, especially if they become inflamed. “It’s important to stretch before and after running to help avoid injury,” Dr. Vann says. “Should injury occur, apply ice to the area, take anti-inflammatory medicines and rest to help ease the pain.”
- Ankle sprains can happen when a runner isn’t focused on the route ahead, causing a misstep off a curb or into a hole. Avoid distractions while running, but if a slip leads to injury, ibuprofen can help reduce swelling and pain.
- Blisters on the feet occur from a combination of friction and moisture. “Always wear supportive shoes that fit properly,” Vann says. “Also, wear synthetic socks to help absorb moisture and prevent blisters. If blisters have formed, lubricants and gel pads can ease discomfort.”
- Injuries to the Achilles tendon, located in the back of the ankle, occur more commonly in middle-aged runners. Proper stretching of the tendon and avoiding overuse can ward off injury.
- Stress fractures may occur from a calcium deficiency, overuse or an uneven running stride. “Sudden sharp pain in the shins is a signal to stop running immediately and seek help from a specialist to avoid a more serious injury,” Dr. Vann warns.
If pain from a foot or ankle injury doesn’t improve after home treatment and rest, it’s a good idea to see an orthopedic specialist who can determine if therapy, injections or surgery may be needed to speed healing and prevent future problems.
FREE INJURY PREVENTION SEMINAR
Learn how to prevent injuries when starting an exercise program. Join us on Thursday, February 12 at 6 p.m. for a free injury prevention seminar at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Conference Center. Our team of sports medicine specialists at Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine will share advice and answer questions. Registration required. Register online at houstonmethodist.org/events or call 281.274.7500.