Do Your Feet Feel Heavy While Running? Here’s Why
Have you ever felt like you have bricks strapped to the bottom of your feet when you set out for a run? Believe it or not, heavy footfalls are a common occurrence among runners.
Heavy feet while running occur for many reasons:
- Poor circulation
- Weight gain
- Improper gait and cadence
- Lack of vitamins and minerals
Runners with desk jobs, or who sit for long periods of time, may have poor circulation as a result and can experience a sluggish and heavy feeling while jogging. To prevent this, runners should stand at least once an hour, stretch, or take a quick trip around the office to stretch their legs. You should also avoid sitting with your legs crossed. Extended periods with crossed legs can significantly decrease blood flow and cause varicose veins.
Adequate blood flow is an important part of preventing heavy feet. Runners should never start out running at a fast pace. Instead, warm up slowly by stretching, followed by a brisk walk for several minutes until your legs are sufficiently warmed up.
Additionally, some runners may experience heavy feet following weight gain. Weight gain does not have to be significant to suddenly experience heavy footfalls. Slight changes in weight may be explained by water retention or bloating. By adjusting diet and performing lower impact exercises, most runners report a reduced feeling of heavy feet. However, if symptoms persist, a foot examination is recommended.
On the other hand, not drinking enough water can dehydrate muscles and cause decreased electrolytes in lower extremities. If a runner is dehydrated, muscle contractions in their legs can seem more profound during high impact activities, such as running. Depleted blood volume is also a result of dehydration, which can cause the feet to feel particularly heavy during a long run. Staying properly hydrated is very important when being active, and can alleviate or eliminate feelings of heavy feet while running.
Improper gait and cadence while running can also lead to feelings of heavy footfall. Foot slapping is common when a runner’s gait needs adjustment. Adjustments include: being fitted for new running shoes, using custom orthotics, or adjusting or shortening the running stride.
Among others, a somewhat surprising culprit for heavy feet may be lack of vitamins and minerals. Specifically, lack of magnesium, iron, and folate can be responsible for an increased sensation of gravitational pull in the body. Low oxygen levels in the blood can cause general fatigue of the body and muscles, which may cause runners to run with heavy feet. Prior to taking supplements, runners should see their primary care physician to check blood levels. If these minerals are found adequately in the blood, additional supplements can do more damage than good.
Anyone that runs on a regular basis, especially if they are running over six miles per week, should have frequent communication and visits with their podiatrist, as several other conditions such as black toenails, plantar fasciitis, bunions, and hammer toes are prevalent in runners. Request an appointment with one of our podiatric specialists today for a foot exam by clicking here or call any of our convenient office locations in the Piedmont Triad.
Disclaimer: The information and other content provided in our blogs, videos, or in any other content or linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For a full disclaimer, please click here.