The Real Reason Your Feet Hurt So Much After Going For A Run

There are plenty of aches and pains associated with running, but one of the more common complaints is sore feet. Whether you're a serious runner or just getting started on the treadmill at the gym, you probably know the aching feeling that can start at the soles of your feet and even work its way up your legs. Surprisingly, your footwear may be the culprit behind the pain, according to board-certified podiatrist Nelya Lobkova of Step Up Footcare. "Often the reason our feet can hurt after a run may have nothing to do with us, but rather with the running shoes we are wearing," Lobkova tells The List. "A running shoe without adequate cushioning and support can cause a wide range of conditions that cause foot pain, such as stress fractures, plantar fasciitis in the heel, and tendonitis." 

What are the warning signs of wearing the wrong shoes? If your feet are swollen or there's tightness in your calves, it usually means there's not enough cushioning in your shoes. "The lack of cushioning in a running shoe could cause repetitive stress in particular areas of the foot, causing pain and swelling during or after a run," says Lobkova. "Other contributing factors include Achilles or calf tightness, which can make one prone to forefoot stress-related pain, as well as heel pain."

Worn down running shoes can make your feet hurt

If the pain has moved beyond your feet (for example, you're experiencing shin splints), it's likely that your shoes are worn down. Here's why that's a problem: "If the sole of the running shoe is worn down from use, there is no longer adequate support in the foot during high impact activity like running,  causing a change of running form," Lobkova tells The List. "Once the rubber sole of the running shoe wears down, the angle at which the heel strikes the ground changes, and with it the ground reaction forces traveling through the foot." Ultimately, "conditions such as shin splints and peroneal tendonitis may develop as the body tries to realign the foot as it hits the ground."

The easiest way to fix foot pain from running is to take a good look at your shoes and update them if need be. "It is advised to regularly change or alternate running shoes, wear supportive, non-minimalist running shoes, and consider custom orthotics to avoid having pain in the feet after running," says Lobkova. Plus, a simple rule to follow is to replace your running shoes every 300 to 400 miles, per Very Well Fit