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Swollen Fingers and Toes After Running

Updated on September 12, 2012

Do you suffer with swollen fingers and toes when running?

So you have problems with your fingers and toes while running?
So you have problems with your fingers and toes while running? | Source

Do you suffer with swollen extremities from running?

Running is a fantastic form of exercise for many with potential to benefits to an exercisers health, cardiorespiratory fitness and psychological wellbeing.

Unfortunately not every body is created equal, which combined with the repetitive and strenuous demands of running on the human body can lead to circumstances where the body experiences aches, pains and potentially injuries.

A relatively common complaint within runners is that they experience swollen toes or fingers. Therefore this article will look at some of the causes of swollen extremities from running in the hope it will help you establish why it might be happening and allow you to put action in place to stop swelling in your feet and hands affecting your training.

Get the right running shoes to avoid swelling in the feet and toes

Once a person takes up running it is imperative that they choose the right running shoes to provide an adequate level of support for their feet while remaining comfortable. Especially as our shoes and feet affect our balance.

Incorrectly fitting shoes can lead to swelling in the feet by increasing risks of both overuse injuries via forcing the muscles, tendons and ligaments to work in ways they are unaccustomed to and by increasing the risk of trauma injuries such as stubbing the toes due to balance problems.

Swollen toes can be as a result of Trauma

Your toe could be bruised!

A common cause of toe swelling from running is bruising. If you stubbed your toe while out on your training run it can lead to internal bleeding and bruising within the soft tissues that make up your toes.

You could have actually broken the bone

A broken bone can lead to swelling due to internal bleeding as well as a degree of pain. The likelihood is you will have difficulty putting weight onto the toe as a result of a broken toe. It will be painful but not impossible to walk on.

Or damaged a ligament within the foot

The twisting forces you sometimes put your foot through while running can cause a ligament injury if you land twisting (Sometimes known as 'Turf Foot').

They're smiling despite the discomfort of a marathon

The extreme distance and demands of running a marathon can lead to swelling of toes and fingers in a small number of cases
The extreme distance and demands of running a marathon can lead to swelling of toes and fingers in a small number of cases | Source

Overuse injuries could lead to swollen toes

Overuse injuries are usually as a result of a long term action which causes a gradual degradation in condition.

Metatarsalgia could be causing the toe swelling from running

Metatarsalgia is the inflammation of the metatarsals of the foot. It primarily occurs at the metatarsal heads where the bones attach to your toes. It most commonly affects the metatarsal of the big toe. Metatarsalgia is prevalent in physically active people and can be as a result of repeated trauma from running or through badly fitting running shoes.

Or it could be due to tendinitis

The inflammation of the tendons of the foot could be the reason for the swelling

Or even as a result of bursitis

Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa. Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs which functions to reduce friction between tissues of the body by providing a lubricating surface.

What could cause your fingers to swell from running?

Many runners often experience swelling within their fingers from running. Generally the swelling is minor, however enough to cause mild discomfort. The discomfort can be further enphasized if you're wearing a heart rate monitor, watch or any rings.

Potential causes of finger swelling from running?

  • Dehydration- A fluid deficiency can lead to swelling due to a higher than usual concentration of salt in your blood
  • Fluid retention due to a diet high in salt consumption
  • Increased blood circulation as a result of increased heart rate and muscular action

An action plan to limit your chances of swollen fingers and toes from running

1. Establish what might be causing your toe swelling from the information above

2. Get the right running shoes

3. Consider soaking your feet post run in cold water or ice to reduce swelling in the toes after exercise.

4. Ensure you are adequately hydrated

5. Consider isotonic sports drinks and electrolyte tablets to ensure your body has the correct nutrient concentrations for performance

6. Make sure you factor rest and recuperation into your running schedule.


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    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks Manthy, I hope this helps your running. Kind regards CF

    • manthy profile image

      Mark 5 years ago from Alabama,USA

      voted up & useful, Thanks for all the info