Q: What are some preventive things you can do to alleviate knee and foot arch pain? Those are the aches I get when I run more than two miles. And how do you know the difference between pain you should push through or rest? -- Brittany Wait, Syracuse, N.Y.
A: Many runners will experience aches, pains and muscular discomfort, especially during the beginning stages of a program, aggressively increasing program intensity, overtraining or by taking a lengthy hiatus between sessions. Knee and foot pain are common complaints. Personally, I've experienced both, and for all of the reasons previously mentioned. It can truly be a nuisance.
Be sure to focus on proper running form and make sure your feet are striking the surface correctly, especially not rolling aggressively outward or inward.
If these pains are frequently experienced on a treadmill, try road running. Even though treadmills are easily accessible and homey, the feet tend to hit the surface quasi-identical with each step, placing direct impact on the same muscles, tendons and ligaments. You may find some relief on the road, as the constant change in pavement and terrain helps to slightly distribute the stress to different areas of the legs and feet.
Along with quality footwear, you can try purchasing arch supports, which will help keep the arches elevated and prevent slamming. You may find that not all arch supports are created equal, and that your final selection will be a matter of trial. Knee support braces can also assist in the prevention of medial and lateral rolling of the knee joints.
It's difficult to judge whether you should push through pains and aches, but if they persist with each run and don't subside with rest and ice therapy, you should definitely consider paying a visit to your physician.
Brian T. Dessart is a nationally accredited Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and a New York State Critical Care Emergency Medical Technician. He also writes for Sports Illustrated, covering performance, fitness and action sports. For a chance at having your questions answered, please send inquiries involving health, fitness and injury prevention to firstname.lastname@example.org.