Common foot conditions in runners

runners in the grass

Blisters: When to “Pop” and “Not to Pop”

  • Cause: friction in the shoe
  • Recommend: Spenco inserts and non-friction socks Epsom salts and LUKE warm water soaks (2 tbsp per gallon of water. Soak for 15 min daily and cleanse the affected area with hydrogen peroxide. Dry feet especially between toes. Apply topical antibiotic cream (ex. Neosporine) to affected area and cover with a dry bandage.

Nail Problems:  Ingrown Toenails:

  • Cause: shoe pressure, improper trimming of the nail and “genes”
  • Recommend: Epsom salt soaks (like above). Trimming the nails following the curvature of the nail. (OK to trim the sides a bit). Red, hot swollen and pus – see a doctor

Bruised Toenails:

  • Cause: continuous bumping against the shoe
  • Recommend: keep the nails trimmed short. Trim to “normal nail” Epsom salt soaks.

Nail Fungus:

  • Cause: by above
  • Recommend: keep nails trimmed short. Tea tree oil (nutrition section at HEB). Apply 1 drop under nail daily. White vinegar (straight) soaks 10 min daily for 1 month, then 2x a week. If extensive, see a doctor (may need pills).

Calluses: caused by friction in the shoe

  • Recommend: Spenco inserts and non-friction socks. Bag Balm at Walgreens (apply to area of callus only before bedtime and wrap feet in Saran wrap overnight. In am., use pumice stone to remove callus in shower. Use 1-2 times a month.

Morton’s Neuroma:

  • Cause: nerve being `pinched’ between two knuckles. Often described as numbness/tingling or sharp shooting pain (frequently `shooting out of two toes’), or feeling of ‘walking on a pebble’ or a `bunched up sock’.
  • Recommend: wider shoes (with wider toe box -ex. New Balance). If does not improve, see a doctor. May need orthotics or an injection.

Tendinitis (Inflammation of the tendon):

  • Cause: overuse injury, sometimes underlying improper biomechanics.
  • Recommend: RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevate). Take any NSAID [non steroid anti-inflammatory med. (ex. Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen , Aleve, Naprosyn)  – *Tylenol is not one!] If it does not get better see a doctor.

Plantar Fasciitis: (Heel spur syndrome or `stone bruise’)

  • Cause:  “The Falling arch”.  Pain in the heel (on the bottom) frequently first step in the morning or when getting up after prolonged periods of sitting.
  • Recommend: stretching the heel cord, anti-inflammatory medications, orthotics and/or more stable shoe (ex. Motions control shoe with medial roller bar.)

Stress Fracture

  • Cause: common injury.  Most heal on their own.
  • Recommend: RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevate). Take any NSAID. Activity to tolerance. Use an ankle brace. Ankle strengthening exercises (ex. Alphabet spelling).  Bruising, extensive swelling, see a doctor.

Shin Splints:

  • Cause: overuse injury, `doing too much too soon’, training errors, improper shoes, and/or improper terrain.
  • Recommend: cut miles by half, go back to 10% rule (increase 10% per week), cross training with swimming and cycling. Likely need orthotics. If pain persists the following day, see a doctor. *Caution: may develop into a stress fracture – DO NOT RUN THROUGH IT!


Over-the-counter: Birkenstock inserts. Custom made: prescription, done in the office


Recommend: New Balance or Saucony. Run-Tex If the shoe is `working’ don’t change it!