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3 Common Causes of Foot Pain from Running

Causes of Foot Pain from Running

Understanding Foot Pain from Running: Unraveling the Mystery

Foot pain from running can be a runner’s worst enemy. It’s a pesky problem that can derail your fitness goals and leave you frustrated. But don’t hit the panic button just yet. This comprehensive guide aims to help you understand why your feet might be protesting post-run, from your big toe hurting after running to more complex issues. So, lace up, let’s get started!

What Makes Your Feet Hurt After Running?

Running is a high-impact exercise that can put significant stress on your feet. Combine this with the complex anatomy of our feet, which includes 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and you’ve got a recipe for potential discomfort. Running involves a series of complex motions that can result in foot pain, especially if your biomechanics are off or your running shoes aren’t providing the necessary support.

Unveiling the Three Common Causes of Foot Pain from Running

man holding foot

Understanding the cause of your foot pain can be the first step towards finding a solution. Let’s explore the three common causes of foot pain from running:

1. Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is arguably the most common culprit behind foot pain from running. This condition involves the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that extends across the bottom of your foot. Symptoms can range from a dull ache to a stabbing pain, typically concentrated in the heel or the arch of the foot.

2. Hallux Rigidus

Hallux Rigidus, or stiff big toe, is a form of degenerative arthritis that can cause significant discomfort. It primarily affects the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, which connects the big toe to the rest of the foot. This joint is crucial for walking and running, and overuse or injury can result in a painful condition known as hallux rigidus.

3. Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is a condition that causes inflammation and pain in the ball of the foot. It’s often described as a feeling of stepping on a pebble. Metatarsalgia is typically an overuse injury and can be caused by running too frequently or intensively, or wearing shoes that don’t provide adequate support.

Factors That Increase the Risk of Foot Pain from Running

holding foot after running

Like any physical activity, running comes with its set of risks. Here are some factors that can increase your likelihood of experiencing foot pain from running

Sudden changes in workout intensity or frequency

Rapidly increasing your running intensity or frequency can put additional stress on your feet, leading to potential injuries.

Running form

Overpronation (foot rolling inward too much) or supination (foot rolling outward too much) can lead to foot pain.


Worn-out or ill-fitting running shoes can cause or exacerbate foot pain.

Running surface

Hard surfaces such as concrete or asphalt can increase the impact on your feet, potentially leading to pain.

Pre-existing foot conditions

Conditions like flat feet or high arches can make you more prone to foot pain when running.

Tips to Prevent Foot Pain from Running

instructor checking foot

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some tips to help you avoid foot pain from running

Choose the right running shoes

Your running shoes should provide ample support and cushioning. Replace them once they start to wear out (usually after about 200 miles).

Gradually increase your running volume

Avoid increasing your running intensity or frequency too rapidly. A good rule of thumb is the 10 percent rule, which suggests increasing your running volume by no more than 10 percent per week.

Improve your running form

Overpronation and supination can lead to foot pain. Consider working with a running coach or physical therapist to improve your form.

Strengthen your feet

Regular foot exercises can help strengthen your feet, making them more resilient to the stresses of running.

If you’re experiencing persistent foot pain from running, it’s essential to seek medical attention. Remember, it’s always better to address the issue early on to prevent it from worsening.

Alleviating Foot Pain from Running: What to Do

Female holding foot after running

If you’re already dealing with foot pain from running, here are some strategies that can help:

Rest and recover

Give your feet a break from running and allow them to recover.

Ice your feet

Ice can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Apply an ice pack to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time.

Stretch and strengthen

Regular stretching and strengthening exercises can help alleviate foot pain and prevent future issues.

Seek professional help

If your foot pain persists, it’s crucial to seek medical attention. A healthcare provider can accurately diagnose your condition and provide appropriate treatment.


Remember, foot pain from running isn’t something to be ignored. If you’re dealing with persistent foot pain, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Victoria Foot and Ankle to schedule a consultation. With their expertise, you’ll be back on track in no time!

Running is an excellent way to stay fit and healthy. However, it can sometimes lead to foot pain. Understanding the possible causes, risk factors, and preventative measures can go a long way in keeping your feet pain-free. Remember, if foot pain persists, it’s crucial to seek professional medical advice. Happy running!

Meet the Doctor

Dr. Eberly is a skilled, board-certified podiatrist and podiatric surgeon with extensive clinical experience. His goal is to help patients overcome their foot and ankle conditions so they can get back to doing everyday activities.


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