A foot strike is how your foot connects with the ground during each step. If you experience foot pain while running, a common cause is a disruption in how your foot strikes or impacts the ground. This constant repetition of a poor striking pattern can lead to chronic foot, ankle, and knee pain. If not corrected, it can ultimately result in hip and lower back pain as well. There are three main striking patterns that increase your potential risk of injury and experiencing some form of chronic foot pain.
Over-pronation occurs when your foot "rolls" to the inside when you take a step. Your arch flattens out and your ankle twists slightly. This often results in the dreaded shin splints many runners deal with. The more you run with this type of striking pattern, the weaker your ankles will become. At Nagy Footcare, Dr. Nagy can perform the HyProCure® procedure to help correct this problem. It is a minimally invasive procedure in which a small rod is placed in the ankle joint. The rod acts as a stabilizer, preventing the foot and ankle from rolling to the inside.
During supination, the foot strikes in an opposite manner than pronation. Instead of rolling inward, the foot and ankle tend to roll outward. This not only throws off your balance, but can spell disaster if you are running on uneven pavement. Because supination puts the majority of your body weight on the outside surface of your foot, it commonly results in twisted or sprained ankles and can eventually cause chronic pain associated with plantar fasciitis. Treating supination can take many forms, including the use of orthotic inserts, physical therapy, and icing your ankle if you are experiencing foot pain.
Front Foot Strikes
Front foot striking is common in individuals who run on the balls of their feet. Most runners first strike the ground with their heel and then propel forward onto the balls of their feet and push off with their toes. During a front foot strike, the entire front portion of the foot bears the runner's weight and then is immediately forced to propel the body forward to the next step. This type of front foot strike is common in sprinters who need that quick burst of speed to get them where they need to be quickly and efficiently. Running in this fashion for long periods of time, however, can lead to plantar fasciitis, painful arches, and stress fractures of the toes and long bones in the foot. Physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and customized orthotics may be able to help relieve the foot pain associated with this type of foot strike.
Neutral pronation is the ideal foot striking pattern. During neutral pronation, your foot comes in contact with the ground in balanced more neutral position. It isn't rolling to either side and your foot is making contact with the back portion or heel area first. This allows for your weight to disperse naturally along your foot as it transitions from back to front and eventually pushes off to propel you forward.
If you begin to experience foot pain while running, don't wait for an injury to occur or the pain to become chronic. It's important to visit Dr. Nagy at Nagy Footcare at the first sign of discomfort. By scheduling an appointment and finding out the cause of the problem, you can prevent long-term damage to the structure of your feet. This will reduce your pain as well as the potential risk of injury. If you already experience varying degrees of chronic pain and discomfort, consult with Dr. Nagy to find out what treatment options are available. You don't have to be in pain! There are several treatment options available for many of the complaints listed above. Call Dr. Nagy's office and schedule your appointment. Pain relief is just around the corner. All you have to do is take the first step!
At Nagy Footcare, our best day is when you wake up with no foot pain.