Many runners suffer from foot pain at some point during their training. When this occurs, runners face a choice: do they run through the pain, which risks making it worse, or do they take a break and miss out on the benefits of training? Knowing what foot condition you have can make it easier to decide what to do. Here are three common causes of foot pain in runners, along with advice on how to treat them.

1. Extensor Tendonitis

If the pain is on the top of your foot, it could be extensor tendonitis. This condition occurs when the tendons that run along the top of the foot become inflamed and sore. Common causes of extensor tendonitis include lacing your shoes too tight and suddenly adding a lot of hills into your training routine.

You can treat extensor tendonitis at home by applying ice to the top of your foot to bring down the swelling. If tendonitis is the cause of your foot pain, this treatment should be very effective in relieving your pain. Next time you run, try lacing your shoes a little looser and sticking to flatter routes to see whether this feels better on your feet.

2. Stress Fracture

Stress fractures can also present themselves as pain on the top of the foot. The most common bones in the foot to experience this type of injury are the small metatarsals, which connect the smaller toes to the heel.

If you have a stress fracture, it is often possible to pinpoint the source of the pain by pressing on the bone with your finger. If you think you might have a stress fracture, you should schedule an appointment with a podiatrist. Stress fractures sometimes require immobilisation in a cast or walking boot to help them heal. Your podiatrist can let you know how long you need to rest your foot to allow the fracture to heal.

3. Plantar Fasciitis

Pain that runs along the bottom of the foot or affects the heel is often plantar fasciitis. This condition is extremely common in runners and develops when the fibrous tissue that runs along the sole of the foot is placed under too much strain. It causes pain that is often worse first thing in the morning or when getting up after sitting for a long time.

Tight calf muscles are a major risk factor for plantar fasciitis. If you think you might be showing signs of this condition, do not wait until the pain becomes so bad it disrupts your training. Schedule an appointment with a podiatrist, who can give you stretches to do to stop plantar fasciitis in its tracks.