Many podiatrists (foot specialists) take the opportunity to volunteer in the medical tent after a local marathon. After the race, participants are filtered into the post-race area where they eat to replenish nutrients, drink to re-hydrate, and have the option of stopping in the medical or podiatry tents for any assistance they may require. Hundreds of people come in looking for medical help, but surprisingly, the majority of the complaints consisted of the same three concerns. The following medical problems are what I would consider to be the most common foot injuries based on my experience in the marathon medical tents:
- Blisters. By far the most common problem that people face when running is blisters. You can wear moisture wicking socks, buy the perfect shoes, and try and keep you feet as dry as possible, but sometimes it is just impossible to prevent blisters from developing. One thing that many people do not realize is that blisters come in different forms depending on what the blister is made of, or what is inside the blister. Most commonly, blisters are either filled with a clear fluid or blood. Runners can be apprehensive or concerned when looking down at their feet at the end of a race and seeing blood, not realizing that it may have been a blood blister that popped while running.Blisters come in all shapes, sizes and locations.
- Subungual Hematoma. This is a medical term for blood under the nail. It commonly occurs in runners from repeated pounding of their nail against the front of their shoe. It also commonly occurs when patients have a little piece of bone that protrudes up into their nail bed that irritates the nail when pressure is applied.
- Plantar Fasciitis. This is a very common condition that occurs in runners and non-runners alike. Plantar fasciitis is irritation and swelling of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. This may be a chronic condition, so runners will usually have this throughout their training. It can become extremely painful after a race. If you get a flare-up of this after a race, do not hesitate to stop in a podiatry tent to have your foot taped and/or iced.
Although there are many ailments that people face from running, the most common injuries that are seen are blisters, subungual hematomas, and plantar fasciitis. The important thing to remember is that these conditions are common injuries that can be alleviated and managed by medical attention. Don’t hesitate to stop in a podiatry tent after a race or to visit a local podiatrist if your aliments get worse or if you have any questions.