Foot pain when running: this exercise helps


A sharp pain in the foot, pain when pushing off: these are problems that many runners have to deal with, because the feet are the most heavily loaded part of the body when we jog. Our expert explains the possible causes and which exercise helps.

Foot pain when land­ing and pushing off

Although jogging is basically a comparatively safe sport, the foot is particularly loaded when landing and pushing off. There are several possible causes:

  • wrong shoes
  • excess weight
  • genes
  • overloading, unaccustomed loading

Causes of foot pain when jogging

The most important thing for the foot is to ensure that it is correctly loaded and to train accordingly. With every step the foot bears many times the weight of the body – so every step determines how heavily the knees, Achilles tendon and hips are loaded.

Load the foot correctly when jogging

Head physician Dr. med. Christian Larsen explains in the video why the foot plays a key role in jogging and how important it is to load it correctly.

Running expert Dr. med. Larsen explains

Dr Larsen demonstrates the most common causes of foot pain when jogging (in german).

Frequent incorrect loading: heel bends inwards

Typical picture when running: the heel bends inwards – the longitudinal or transverse arch can no longer cushion the blow. If this happens several consecutive times, then pain – in the Achilles tendon, for example – is inevitable. At the start of every foot therapy, the specialist will look at your heel. If it tips over inwards or outwards, missteps while running are – literally – a running theme.

Train the foot spiral and cushion it correctly

The heel and forefoot are connected like a spiral. This allows the heel to absorb shocks and adapt to surfaces from tar to forest paths covered in tree roots.

Theraband: You can do the foot spiral exercise with or without a theraband. A theraband increases the effect.

  1. Make a loop around the entire forefoot,
  2. then wrap the theraband once around the big toe so that it is drawn upwards from the ball of the big toe.
  3. Then wrap the band spirally around the lower leg, pass it around the back of the knee and hold the end firmly.

Perform: in a 4-6 second rhythm, 1 minute per foot, 3-5 sets.

Don't despair on your first try. This foot movement needs some practice as our feet are no longer used to such fine motor movements.

How to do the foot spiral exercise with a theraband

Dr Christian Larsen explains how to train the foot spiral in order to protect your feet while jogging (in german).

Invest in the right running shoes

The right running shoes can make running more comfortable, protect us or give us the freedom we would like. Insoles can also help to reduce any pain in the feet and knees, depending on the pain and malposition, but they are no substitute for ensuring that the feet are anatomically correctly loaded. Consult a specialist for expert advice.

Exercises to improve running technique make the difference

If your feet hurt, it's worth doing some work on your running technique. What is standard practice for professionals is usually neglected by amateur runners. Integrate running technique exercises into your training – you’ll find it’s worth it!


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