3 Important Times Runners Should See a Podiatrist

Contrary to popular belief, podiatrists don't just help old people. A podiatry specialist is a physician or surgeon that specializes in treating the foot, ankle, and connecting portions of the legs. As a runner, a doctor of podiatric medicine is exactly what you need to keep your joints healthy, avoid the dreaded "black toe," and keep you hitting the trail. In this article, you'll discover when it's time for runners to seek a podiatrist

1. Persistent or Unexplained Pain

Your feet and how you walk/run affects the rest of your body. Knee pain can be a result of poor running technique, incorrect shoes, or an undetected foot injury. Knee, ankle, and foot pains are common to runners which may make them overlook it as a more serious indicator of an injury. While sore and swollen feet are normal after a run, if the pain persists or is only present on one side, it's time to see a podiatrist. Not all injuries are completely debilitating which is how they go unnoticed. Your podiatrist will be able to show you through ultrasounds and physical examinations if you've torn a ligament or fractured a bone. 

2. Before Buying New Running Shoes

Before a big race, many runners grab a pair of new sneakers. This is a mistake podiatrists advise against. New shoes have not had a chance to mold to your style of pronation and may cause injury or discomfort during and after your run. Pronation refers to the natural movement of the foot while walking or running. Some people have a neutral pronation while others have an underpronation or an overpronation.

Supination, or underpronation, can lead to ankle and knee injuries and occurs when the arch doesn't flatten enough during motion. Shoes with thicker cushion are best for supination. Overpronation occurs when the first and second toes are forced to do too much work, usually due to flat-footedness. Shin-splints and knee pain are common to overpronators. Orthotics or motion-control shoes help to correct these movements. A podiatrist can diagnose your running style and suggest the best shoe options for you. For race day, use a pair of shoes that is fully broken-in. 

3. If You've Been Running for Years

As you get older, the ligaments in your feet spread, you lose fat in the pads, and your feet continue to grow. If you've been running for years, chances are your feet are wider and flatter than they were when you first started. This is another reason to see a podiatry specialist before buying new shoes. As your feet change shape, it affects how you run which puts pressure on your ankles, knees, spine, and hips. A podiatrist can help you understand how your running style affects your body and help you prevent injuries through exercise, proper gear, and treatment.

Running is a proven activity to relieve stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Hit the pavement in a healthy way by consulting with a podiatry specialist. With regular visits, you can keep your joints healthy for years to come.