Foot pain can come-and-go and it is fairly common when we are doing exercise. When it comes to physical activity, our feet act like barometers, flagging issues affecting the rest of our body. If your feet hurt after exercise, it can indicate a number of things depending on how severe the pain is.
Reasons why feet hurt after exercise
Plantar Fasciitis: Your Plantar Fascia is the tendon that runs the length of the sole of your foot, from heel to toe. When the foot is overstrained, often from poor footwear or doing high intensity training without warming up, the tendon can become inflamed and cause Plantar Fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis is painful whenever you walk or put weight on your feet, and if untreated it can cause more serious damage.
Treatment depends on the cause, but usually combines resting the tendon, stretching and targeted exercise (see a physio to find the best ones for your feet). Additionally the use of insoles like the Redux Heel 2 to help support the foot and speed up the healing process.
Stress Fractures: our foot contains 26 bones, all involved in the movement of the foot no matter what direction it’s going.
When one or more of these bones are exposed the repeated stress, they can develop what’s known as a stress fracture. These can often be quickly aggravated by stepping on a tree root or rock, tripping in a pothole or another sharp movement. The pain associated is often not severe but increases over time if not treated.
If you think you may have a stress fracture, it’s important to see a doctor to get an x-ray and rest the foot while you wait for confirmation.
Extensor Tendonitis: if you start to feel a tightness and pain in the top of your foot, especially if it flares up whenever you try to straighten your toes or flex your foot. It’s likely you’ve inflamed the tendons that run along the top of your foot. The pain can be quite severe whenever you try and raise your toes.
Extensor Tendonitis is often caused by the wrong shoes, a tight Achilles tendon, or issues in your calf muscles. The best thing to do is see your physio or chiro to determine what’s causing it and treat it accordingly with stretches, strengthening and the right shoes.
Preventing foot pain during exercise
Get the right gear: When it comes to working out having the right gear can make a lot of difference, especially if you have pain or injury in the feet.
Here is a great checklist for what to be looking for:
- A well-fitting pair of shoes that provide contact and support with your feet.
- Socks that are firm and comfortable, providing compression and cushioning.
- Insoles that take the pressure off your heels and support your arches.
- A good workout mat, especially if you’re exercising on concrete or other hard surfaces.
- Stretching and strengthening: Exercises that target your calves, Achilles tendons, plantar fascia and shins are all good ways to help keep the tendons limber and take pressure off them. Some good exercises in particular are: Heel stretches, tennis/golf ball rolls, calf raises, towel curls, stair arch raises and arch lifts.
- Routine: Running and exercising on hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt can put a lot of stress on your feet and amplify any existing issues. Where you can, exercise on softer surfaces like grass, dirt and astro-turf (avoid sand, the uneven surface can cause issues with your ankles and knees).
It’s also important to practice moderation. While it’s tempting to push yourself hard to start off strong, your body won’t appreciate it. Start off with some simple exercises and then build up gradually into a stronger routine over time.
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Bauerfeind products are developed at our innovation and manufacturing facility in Zeulenroda, Germany. Based on years of scientific research, our award-winning braces and support garments are highly recommended by medical professionals and athletes worldwide.