Friday, 28 August 2015

When Should Runners Visit a Podiatrist? 4 Tell-tale Symptoms

Any accomplishment involves quite a bit of effort and comes with its own set of challenges. If you are a runner, perhaps you know it all too well. You may even have encountered pain in the ankles and feet or other foot ailments while running. Though tolerable pains are common in runners and can be dealt with some foot massage and medications, you should visit a podiatrist if you observe these four signs:

1.Pain while performing daily activities: Runners who run everyday often experience muscle soreness or tightness at the beginning of their schedule. If you too have experienced them, you may have noticed how they usually disappear once you do some warm-up stretches. You could even use the R.I.C.E. method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation), which involves resting well, using ice packs, getting the affected area compressed with appropriate pressure, and elevating the limb according to the type of pain experienced. However, if you fail to get relief despite using all these methods and start experiencing pain even during your daily activities (like walking, standing etc), it’s time to seek an appointment with a podiatrist.

2.Pain with other symptoms: If you ever experience tingling sensation or numbness in your feet and legs, it could be due to vascular or neurological problems. You shouldn’t ignore them, and should visit your podiatrist immediately. In case you notice swelling in your joints or other parts of the leg and feet, it may indicate inflammation, which again warrants speedy medical attention. Usually, the ideal thing to do in such cases is to quit running and get you treated.

3.Pain that alters an individual’s way of walking/running: The concept of walking/running gait refers to the rhythm with which either foot strikes a walking/running surface. Human gaits do differ from person to person. However, all runners may suffer from some common problems like overpronation (or flat feet, a common biomechanical problem that occurs in the walking/running process when a person's arch collapses upon weight bearing) and supination (turning the hand and forearm with the palm facing up or forwards). Running gait problems may also trigger heel and arch pain, knee and ankle pain, flat feet, back and hip pain, among others. Though wearing the correct shoes can help you avoid some of these problems, other gait issues may need to be addressed by using orthotic inserts (shoe inserts and insoles for foot support). Therefore, you should see a podiatrist whenever you notice symptoms of these ailments or experience pain and discomfort known to be caused by running gait issues.

4.Chronic pain: If you have been a long-time runner and have had running injuries or foot and ankle problems in the past, you may end up developing chronic pain in the ankle, knee or feet. This certainly calls for immediate medical attention and must not be ignored.

As a runner, you should seek a podiatrist’s opinion when you notice these signs and symptoms as mentioned above, but aren’t sure about the exact cause triggering the pain and discomfort. Even when you suffer from an injury or have a health condition (such as diabetes or arthritis) that can make the problems worse, it’s ideal to seek immediate medical attention. So, stay alert to keep your feet healthy and enjoy running.

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