How runners should look after their feet
- Finding the right shoes
This is one of the most crucial item to sort out as a runner. Finding shoes that fit correctly will avoid many foot issues. You need to find shoes that are not too tight or not too loose, not to suffer from blisters. If the shoe size is too small you will get some black blisters at the end of your toes, or if it’s extreme, complete toenail loss. You can start with a gait analysis or pronation analysis. Most running shops now offer these analysis. You need to find the right shoes according to your running style and biomechanics. Wearing incorrect shoes can have such an impact on runner’s feet. You have to focus on the shape of your feet, bone formation and flexibility, wearing the wrong type of running shoes can lead to overuse injuries. Finding shoes that feel comfortable and natural is the best option, the shoe should feel snug in the midfoot, and a bit roomy in the toe box for your toes to have some space. You should find shoes with some good quality cushioning under the ball of the foot to protect from impact. You should also make sure you lace up your shoes more tightly across the widest part of your foot to prevent it from sliding forward and backward. Also make sure your shoes have good flexibility. Another factor that can affect your feet is wearing your shoes beyond their lifespans. Most shoes last for about 600-800 kms. After that they wear out and the form is no longer accurate. When you go shopping for running shoes, go at the end of the day when your feet are more swollen, similar to when your run, also if you have orthotics bring them to see how they fit into the shoes.
- Find the right socks
Wearing the right socks made of certain materials will save your feet from getting blisters. Depending on your type of runs, road or trail, short or long distance you should find the right type of socks. Each foot has about 125,000 sweat glands, so making sure you wear socks made of moisture-wicking artificial materials or merino wool will save your feet. You need to try different brands and style of socks to find the right one that fits your shoes and foot type.
- Look after your feet
After a run make sure you wash and dry your feet, moisturize them to reduce the risk of fungal infection. Always have access to two pairs of running shoes to alternate the use and make sure you wear dry shoes.
- Take care of your nails
Never let your toenails grow too long. You should keep your toenails clean and trimmed. For long-distance runners, a common issue is getting blood beneath your toenails. You can rub some peppermint oil or antibiotic cream. If the nail starts to separate from your toes, don’t pull them until they get very loose. Soaking your feet in Epsom salts is also very helpful. If you get large blisters, you can pierce them with a sterilized needle. Using anti-chafing cream or vaseline can save you from blisters.
- Plantar fasciitis
The connective tissue along the bottom of the foot that supports the arch often gets tight and sore due to overuse or wearing the wrong shoes. As soon as you start feeling that pain, stretching, resting and massaging the foot tissue can avoid more severe cases.
- Foot massage
One important routine to save many parts of your body including your feet is to perform a pre-run dynamic warm up to engage the essential muscles like glutes, quads, calves, hamstrings, ankles and your plantar fascia. After your run, it is also crucial to perform some basic stretches. To include a regular massage, even a self-massage after a run will help look after your feet. Tightness of other muscles can affect our feet, to massage and stretch our calves, hamstrings and quads which are connected to our feet will help avoid foot problems. You can use a foam roller to help release the muscles, for the feet you can use a golf ball, tennis ball or frozen bottle as a self-massage option.
- Include foot stretches
Stretching your lower legs tendons and ligaments will save some problems in the feet. Perform some stretches for your shins, calves, feet to protect them from injuries.
- Sit kneeling with your knees together and your legs flat on the floor under your bottom, with your toes pointing backwards. Rest in that position for 30-60 secs.
- Sit kneeling on your heels with your knees together but your toes tucked under your feet and pointing forward. Slowly shift your weight backwards to stretch the sole of your feet. Hold for 30-60 secs.
- Stand on your toes on a step, with your heels hanging over the edge of the step. Push your heels upwards quickly then lower them down slowly, this is a good stretch for the Achilles tendons. Hold the stretch for 30-60 secs on each foot.
- Lean against a wall with your weight on one leg, your knee bent and your foot flat on the floor. This is a good stretch for the calf muscle. Hold the stretch for 30-60 secs on each side.
Happy Feet, Nice Runs!