How to prevent pain when running

August . 10th . 2023 | Sports

Running is one of the most accessible and participated in forms of exercise around the world, whether during organised sport, as an easy 4km weekend warrior or marathon runner. Unfortunately the repetitive strain combined with small alignment issues can result in common injuries. Podiatrists are experts in biomechanics of the lower limb and can identify issues and develop a plan to not only ensure you are able to run pain free but also increase performance whatever the goal may be.

When should you see a podiatrist about running:

  • Pain during or after running
  • Returning to running after a break
  • Increasing training (ie. upcoming race or starting a new season of sport)
  • If muscles are fatiguing (cramp and stiffness) at a rate that is not normal for you
  • Difficulty running up or down hills
  • Flat feet
  • Interested in increasing speed or distance
  • Injury prevention

Running injuries that podiatrists can help with:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Runners knee (patellofemoral syndrome)
  • Shin splints
  • Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome
  • Stress fractures
  • Hamstring tendinopathy
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Ankle sprains
  • Calf tightness
  • Bursitis

Our assessment of running shoes

At Shellharbour Podiatry we take a thorough history and biomechanical assessment. We analyse the way you move, walk and run to determine if there are any patterns which are the underlying cause of your pain or are placing you at risk of developing an injury. We also determine if factors such as footwear or training regimes are impacting on your recovery. This allows us to develop an individualised treatment plan that will address your symptoms and increase your running capabilities.


What treatment options can a podiatrist utilise?

Firstly, we want to know the underlying cause of your issues. A thorough history of the injury and your running can usually give us an indication of what is going on. Clinical assessment and testing will further contribute to our diagnosis however, we may need to refer you for an xray or ultrasound scans.

In terms of treatment options. Podiatrists use of range of treatment options including:

  • Custom foot orthotics
  • Shockwave therapy
  • Taping
  • Stretching and strengthening regimes
  • Alterations to running pattern/ style
  • Footwear education/ modification
  • Alterations to training regimes
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Dry needling
  • Foot manipulations
  • Blister management

What if I am not injured?

It may sound strange, but often this is a good time to make an appointment. We find we have many runners come and see us just to talk shoes or because they are concerned about their running technique.  We will assess you for any areas that can be improved or strengthened and make only small changes which will help improve performance and running efficiency.

I have heard that cadence is important in reducing the risk of injury in running. What is it?

Cadence is how many steps are taken in a minute. Many running tracking watches, such as garmin, will track this for you otherwise it can be worked out by counting how many steps you take on one foot in a run in 10 seconds then multiplying this number by 12. Everyone’s cadence is dependent on their own running style. However, research suggests this should sit around 170-180. If injury has occurred your podiatrist may suggest altering this using various techniques to increase your cadence however never more than 5-10% at a time.

What shoes should I run in?

This depends on your overall running cycle and also the type/ frequency of your runs. As general advice your running shoe should match your environment, i.e. if you are regularly running trails you should have a pair of trail runners for this surface. A handy tip for runners who are doing a large amount of kilometres each week is to have a couple pairs of different shoes that you can switch each week. This will slightly change your cycle ensuring the same muscles and ligaments are not the ones under excessive load.

How often should I change my running shoes?

This depends on how much running you have done in them. For everyday training running shoes they should last between 600 and 1000 kilometres However, this varies depending on your body weight, training regime and your running mechanics. Racing shoes will also not last this long as they are designed to be lighter and faster. A simple test is to look at the midsole of the shoe:

  1. Place the shoes on a flat surface and see how they align. If you bisect the heel (red lines), is there a fairly even bisection or does the shoe tilt in or out significantly. If it has a large tilt then its time for a new shoe! It would be like running on a sloped beach all of the time.
    running shoes
  2. Check the striations in the midsole. The red lines in the picture below show how the midsole of this shoe has buckled with repeated use. This means the shoe is less able to resist the forces coming down each time you step.

  3. The sole of the shoe is how the rubber hits the road. More steps is more wear and you may find there are hot spots on the sole the wear through. The deeper these holes become, the more they can affect your stride pattern.

  4. Please make sure your laces are done up nice and firm each time before your run! This goes for when you are not running too. It is the easiest and most effective way to improve support and align your feet! If your laces are broken or too short, change them!


Want to make an appointment?

Contact us Book online

02 9037 7395
1/154 Henderson Rd, Alexandria NSW 2015 Jobs and Shellharbour Podiatry

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