Ask the Foot Doctor: Why Does My Foot Hurt at Night?

Imagine this:  you're in great shape, and training for your first marathon.  On the day of the race, you make record time and you're overjoyed!  You go home after a long day, hope in bed... and suddenly your feet are killing you.  Why would your feet suddenly hurt at night as you go to sleep?


Some call this "Marathon Feet".  That doesn't mean that this only happens to marathon runners- in fact, this can happen to anyone who puts new and unusual stress on their feet.  In the case of marathon runners, it often happens when they train on softer surfaces, like the track at their local gym, and then run on cold, hard concrete.  The difference in surfaces causes severe stress, and the soft tissue of the foot becomes increasingly inflamed.  By the end of the day, you might be barely able to walk.


In order to rule out serious fractures, it makes sense to book an appointment with a foot doctor near you after experiencing severe foot pain.  Never risk your feet!


Here are some things that you can do to prevent and/or treat "Marathon Feet":

- Train on the same surface you plan to run on. If you are training for a marathon on roads, a treadmill or a soft track will not prepare your body for the pounding.

- Run in a well-cushioned shoe. Unless you plan on winning the race, racing flats or old, worn-out shoes that have lost their cushion will transmit a lot of road shock and give you a case of Marathon Feet. Remember my “change shoes every 500 miles” rule so that your shoes are not too old or worn.

- After the race, when you have recovered sufficiently to be urinating normally, you may take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (such as aspirin or ibuprofen) unless your doctor has told you that you cannot due to a contraindication.

- Most important: Immediately upon returning home post-race, soak your feet for 15 minutes in an ice bath. This is the best way to avoid this middle-of-the-night pain.

If you experience foot pain at night, we urge you to make an appointment right away.  Your feet are the foundation of your skeletal system- we'll help make sure they're treated right!

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