portrait of a mid adult woman jogging in a parkThe Dangers of Ignoring Foot Pain When Running

We've all heard of 'runners' high', the rush felt when the body releases endorphins (a morphine-like chemical) after running long distances or during extreme exercise. It may be one of the reasons some runners ignore foot pain while running. They are in a sense addicted to their sport. In fact, unless it is debilitating, there are some athletes whose running addiction has caused permanent damage to their feet, ankles, legs, and even caused back injuries. Along with sending pleasure signals to help people overcome the higher thresholds of exercise, your body tells you there's a problem by transmitting pain impulses. You want to listen in order to prevent real problems.

Your feet may be saying you have plantar fasciitis.

This is a common but unpleasant condition, an inflammation and tearing of the fibrous tissue running the length of the bottom of the foot, from the heel and attaching to the toes. It acts like a rubber band, expanding and contracting with stretching and running.

The good news is that plantar fasciitis can be handled pretty easily with early treatment.

Another problem: your feet may be hurting because of pronation problems.

Overpronation occurs when the foot turns inward, the arch flattens because joints come together the wrong way. Run like this for any length of time and joints that were designed to be stable become flexible. This can lead to permanent damage is ignored.

The solution is orthotic shoe inserts to align your feet properly. The fact that your feet will look better minus the excessive corns and calluses is a bonus.

Foot pain can be caused by the wrong shoes.

Don't scrimp on foot support; they bear the brunt of hundreds of pounds of pressure on a small surface.

Ball of foot pain

is an inflammation of the metatarsals. Common when wearing high heels, it can also occur with sports-related overuse.

Relief includes rest and shoe inserts to redistribute pressure on the foot.

You could actually cause a fracture by ignoring a pre-existing condition.

Continuing to run on feet that are mechanically misaligned places pressure and strain on joints and ligaments that are not built to endure the kind of demands placed on them. An unnatural gait leaves foot bones more prone to fracture because of improper alignment.

There are many possible reasons your feet are hurting;

ignoring the pain is simply not the answer if you ever want to enjoy running the way you are used to doing. The smartest way to see to the overall health of your feet is to see a professional. Your health care provider is best suited to properly diagnose, treat, and monitor what is right for your unique situation.