How To Treat Sore Feet After Running – What You Need To Know

Most runners have a love-hate relationship with their feet. On one hand, their feet carry them along and lead them to victory in sport. On the other hand, these same feet can be a source of extreme pain.

This is mostly because runners’ feet endure the brunt of the repetitive pounding of the ground that characterizes their sport. Black toenails and blisters are often the results of long races. Such ailments usually happen when you push yourself way too hard on the track.

Sometimes runners push themselves very hard to see how far they can go or to beat their previous records. While this provides much satisfaction, it also wears the body down and consequently contributes to soreness in the feet. The way one’s body moves also plays a role.

Plantar fasciitis is a sharp, stabbing pain at the bottom of the foot mainly caused by a biochemical issue. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that stretches from the toes to the heels. Plantar fasciitis usually occurs in the area where the fascia attaches to the heel and is due to poor blood supply. It can be a very slow healing condition that consequently interferes with a runner’s daily routine since the patient has to stay in bed. After all, the body is an interconnected machine and any injury to one part incapacitates the whole.

Why Do You Get Sore Feet After Running?

photo by Esther Max

  • Wrong running shoes: This is one of the main causes of sore feet. Running shoes are designed to reduce the impact of running on the feet. A good pair of running shoes should fit precisely and snugly to ensure maximum comfort. A proper fit will help reduce aching soles, because it allows the foot to flex and function naturally, giving it the freedom it needs to move through its normal range of motion and heal at the same time.
  • Inflammation of the lining of the bones: When the plantar fascia is overstretched or overworked through physical activity, it can pull on the lining of the bones in your feet. This can cause a lot of pain after running. Overnight, your body tries to heal the area by reattaching the lining to your bones, resulting in painful inflammation.
  • Muscle tightness: If a runner’s calf muscles are too tight, the soles tend to be overworked. This can cause pain during and after the run. Sometimes, a runner cannot even complete a short distance due to the intensity of the pain.
  • Increased training volume: Everyone has a training threshold that should be gradually increased. If a runner decides to beat his own time and distance all too soon, the feet suffer from fatigue, which can result in soreness and injuries. Slowly increasing one’s pace and distance enables the feet to adjust and avoid pain.

Best Treatments For Sore Feet After Running

  • Listen to your body: Don’t ignore constant foot pain after a run. A little soreness is okay, but if the pain becomes chronic, then seeking medical attention is recommended. The pain in your feet could be normal soreness after a run, but it could also be a symptom of a serious issue.
  • Warm-up and stretch: Warming up before taking to the track is very important for any runner. Take time to do a proper warm-up before any run, and pay attention to your calf muscles. Stretch and warm up your leg and calf muscles for five minutes before a run. This helps release any tension from the feet. A good warm-up will ensure that your feet and muscles are well prepared to hit the track, thus minimizing the soreness you’ll feel afterwards.
  • Be shoe smart: Wear appropriate socks and shoes for good foot support. When your feet are able to flex freely and move comfortably on the track, you can avoid a lot of unnecessary pain. Running in the wrong shoes or with bad heels puts plenty of strain on the feet.
  • Rest: Rest is the best remedy for sore feet. This entails minimal walking or standing or no walking if possible. Staying off your feet will allow you to properly rest before you need to be on your feet again. Resting ensures your foot and calf muscles have time to relax and release the tension and stress that have built up during running.
  • Elevation: Sore feet can be accompanied by swelling because pressure can cause a blood pool in the feet. The impact from running can hinder blood circulation. Elevating the feet to direct the flow of blood away from them enables the blood to circulate more efficiently, thereby relieving the pain.
  • Ice: After a run, remove your socks and shoes and elevate your feet. Apply ice packs, wrap thin towels around them, and put your socks back on. The cold helps prevent swelling; leave on for at least 10 to 15 minutes. This remedy will also relax your feet.
  • Create a running plan: Build up your distance consistently and slowly. Everyone has a training threshold that, when crossed too soon, will only result in sore feet. Try increasing your distance weekly to give your body enough time to adapt.
  • Avoid going straight into long runs: A very long run results in high levels of fatigue. Take it easy a day before a run so your body can rest and you can run longer. Resting prepares your core muscles to support you mile after mile. Running a long distance all of a sudden can lead to really sore feet and unexpected injuries.