Painful feet when running: the most important prevention exercises

Fussschmerzen beim Laufen: die wichtigsten Übungen dagegen Fussschmerzen beim Laufen: die wichtigsten Übungen dagegen

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. Experts explain the most common causes and what helps to prevent it.


Although jogging is a comparatively safe sport, the foot in particular is subjected to sharp strikes. This is why runners are often affected by pain in their feet. There are several possible causes:

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

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.

Heels in line

Typical picture when running: the heel bends inwards – the longitudinal or transverse arch can no longer cushion the blow. If this happens several times in succession, then pain – in the Achilles tendon, for example – is pre-programmed.

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 (see picture. Picture credits: Larsen, Medical Running S.103, Trias Verlag m.f.G.).

Foot spiral: how our foot absorbs shocks

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.

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

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

  • Make a loop around the entire forefoot.
  • Then wrap the theraband once around the big toe so that it is drawn upwards from the ball of the big toe.
  • Then wrap the band spirally around the lower leg, pass it round the back of the knee and hold the end firmly (see video).

Do your feet a favour

Running technique

If your feet hurt, it's worth doing some work on your running technique. While standard practice for professionals, amateur runners often tend to neglect this. Integrate running technique exercises into your training – you’ll find it’s worth it!

Wellness for feet

Regardless of the cause of foot pain, it’s always advisable to take care of your feet – with a foot reflex zone massage, for example, or a massage with a tennis ball.

Running shoes and insoles

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.

Interested in more?

In their book Medical Running running experts Christian Larsen, Sandra Zürcher and Joachim Altmann provide tips on how to run without pain.


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