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Foot Care for Runners
Foot Care for Runners: Our Advice
Is there anything more liberating than running?
A freely accessible form of exercise, requiring no equipment, instruction, or gym membership that’s proven to boost your physical and mental wellbeing.
But foot injuries from running can be debilitating, interfering with training plans and causing significant discomfort – or even permanent damage.
As such, foot care for runners is vital; providing the necessary support to keep you on the track.
So, whether you prefer a brisk morning jog or a sunset sprint, we thought we’d take a breather and offer some expert advice on foot care for runners.
Common Foot Injuries from Running
Running is a high-impact activity. And injuries picked up whilst running can affect all areas of the body, including your knees, hips, groin, and lower back.
But it’s your feet that bear the brunt of the impact.
And it’s more just sore feet after running; your daily run can contribute to a number of painful injuries, some of which can result in long term damage.
Some of the most common complaints include:
Blisters are majorly unpleasant. And, at their most severe, can make even a gentle stroll unbearable.
Caused by a mixture of friction and pressure, blisters occur when the foot is constantly rubbed against shoes or socks, which results in fluid building up beneath the skin.
For runners, blisters can be disastrous, turning a favourite pastime – or profession – into an exercise in agony.
But you needn’t let blisters ruin your run. By ensuring that your shoes have ample room (perhaps even investing in some wide-fit trainers), you can eliminate the potential for friction when running - reducing the likelihood of blisters.
If you’re a committed runner – whether long-distance, sprinting, or jogging – you’ll likely be familiar with so-called ‘runner’s toenail’.
But, for track newbies, allow us to explain.
Runner’s toenail occurs when a series of microtraumas – repeated pressure on a specific area – results in damage to the toenail.
Essentially, whenever you run, your toenails experience microtrauma every time they strike the ground. And, in isolation, these microtraumas are barely noticeable.
However, over a sustained period, these microtraumas begin to add up, resulting in discoloured nails, blood pooling beneath the nail bed, and even the loss of the nail.
But there’s a simple preventative measure to stave off toenail damage. And we mean simple. Are you ready…?
Accurate foot measurement.
It’s a common misconception that our feet stay the same size throughout our lives. In truth, they shift over time - widening, flattening, and, yes, even shortening.
As such, it’s important to have your feet measured regularly, and to choose footwear that accommodates your unique feet.
Common in runners with flat feet or high arches, plantar fasciitis is an ‘overuse’ injury. And, while running is fantastic for your health, it does ask a lot of your feet.
Brought about by an inflammation of the plantar fascia – a thick band of tissue connecting your heel and your toes – plantar fasciitis is constant threat for runners, who, quite literally, put feet through their paces.
Defined by sharp pain in the heel, plantar fasciitis ranks high on the list of reasons people give up running.
But it can be prevented.
Everyone’s feet are unique. And it’s important that your running shoes offer the right support for your foot.
So, as a runner, it’s important to consult a podiatrist to find out what shape and size shoes you need; and if you require any additional support such as specialist socks or custom orthotics.
And should the worse come to pass, it’s vital that you seek podiatry treatment as soon as possible.
Repeat after us: “I won’t try to run it off.”
Trust us, we’re experts.
Stress fractures are amongst the most severe types of foot pain, causing significant discomfort and even irreversible damage.
And they should never be ignored, as doing so can lead to complete fractures, where bones can become displaced.
Caused by overuse, without being given the proper time to heal, stress fractures affect the metatarsals (long bones in the foot) and the bones of the ankle joint, making applying even soft pressure painful.
Stress fractures can be avoided by ensuring that your footwear is both well-fitting and suited to the type of running you’re doing - whether sprinting, jogging, cross-country, or marathon.
You should also ensure to stretch after each run, as doing so can protect against strain, ligament damage, and even increase bone health.
If you do find yourself nursing a stress fracture, you should consult a podiatrist or doctor as soon as possible and rest the affected foot, limiting alcohol and nicotine intake to improve blood flow.
Foot care for runners is of the utmost importance to healthy feet. So, if you experience sore feet after running, it may be worth consulting your podiatrist to investigate.
From accurate foot measurements to specialist insoles, there are countless ways to protect your feet as your notch up your step count.