Have you ever noticed after a workout that your feet hurt more than usual? It is actually normal for your feet to hurt a little bit after working out, but if you have excessive foot pain following every exercise, you may have an underlying problem. It is important to get a proper diagnosis from a podiatrist to prevent permanent damage if your foot pain is severe, but you may be able to make some changes to your workout if you are experiencing just mild discomfort.

First, look at your form when you are working out. If your workout requires jumping, are you landing properly? It is important to have proper form when putting pressure and weight on your feet, which means first touching the ground with your toes before landing on the ball of your foot and finally your heel. If you land flat on your feet, your body is absorbing the shock all at once and it puts undue pressure on your joints. Make sure you are landing gradually to spread that shock out. You should also aim to bend your knees and hips a little when you land and try to keep your knees in line with the middle of your feet.

When is the last time you got fitted for sneakers? It is really worth the money to go to a professional store where they can watch you run and gauge what kind of sneaker will fit you the best. When testing you for sneakers, they will look at your pronation and your gait to see how your feet fall when they touch the ground.

It is also important to get new sneakers more often than you would probably think. You can run about 300 miles in shoes before they need to be replaced, but if you are not a runner, you should get new shoes as soon and yours start to look a bit thin or worn. Without proper foot support, you are likely putting extra pressure on all of the small bones and joints in your feet and ankles which can lead to foot pain.

You should also consider the surface that you’re working out on. While most wood floors are likely to be okay, working out on a hard concrete floor is hard on your body. If you have to work out on a really hard surface, get a workout mat to add some cushion to your surface. Better yet, try to work out in the yard or somewhere outside where you have a grassy yet flat area.

Plantar fasciitis is another common cause of foot pain. This occurs when you have inflammation in the thick band of tissue that runs from your heel to your toes called the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia connects your foot together in the muscles and often gets inflamed in people who run. Plantar fasciitis usually causes a stabbing pain during your first few steps in the morning but goes away a bit as you get up and walk throughout the day.

To prevent this from happening, make sure that you thoroughly stretch your calves before and after working out. There are two effective calf stretches for decreasing your chances of developing plantar fasciitis. First, lift the ball of your foot up and place it firmly against a wall while keeping your heel on the floor. Lean forward into the stretch until you feel it in your calf. Do this on both sides. Second, get into a down dog yoga stretch and gently raise and lower your heels. Alternate heels and do them one at a time.

If these solutions do not help your problem, you may have a more severe medical issue that needs professional attention. Start with these tips and see if your foot pain improves and if it doesn’t, be sure to contact your doctor.