Running is a fun and active form of exercise which provides a number of health benefits. However, the added shock on the ligaments and joints, multiplied over numerous footfalls, can result in severe foot pain and problems, including bunions, tendinitis, and even arthritis.
Proper care of the foot goes beyond the footwear to how you take care of the feet before, during, and after running. As a runner, you tend to ask a lot of your feet. So, you need to take adequate care of them. Your foot care routine does not need to be complex; it can be incorporated into your daily routine.
Although the feet can ache, sweat, peel, blister, crack, smell, and itch, they are critical to keeping you running. In order to make sure you keep enjoying the benefits of running while minimizing the risks involved, the following are crucial foot care tips that every runner should take note of.
Lace-up Properly and Tie Your Running Shoes
As a runner, it is not only important that you wear the right shoes. You also need to ensure that you lace up and tie your shoes properly.
Doing this prevents heel slippage, removes blisters caused by friction and irritation, and can also prevent ankle injuries.
Custom orthotics help to maintain the alignment of both the feet and the lower body. This helps to evenly distribute the impact pressure on your feet up through your hips, ankles, knees, and lower back. It also reduces wear and tear.
They minimize the overall force of impact by helping the plantar fascia to cushion your feet and absorb impact, which is particularly essential for running on hard surfaces.
Since custom orthotics are made particularly for you due to your unique physiology and requirements, they can as well correct imbalances by changing the angles at which your feet strike the ground. As a result of this, they can address pronation of the subtalar joint, correct gait problems, and give arch support for those that are diagnosed with pes planus deformity.
They are also designed to monitor excessive foot motion under a high impact while running long distances. You can buy custom orthotics to minimize pain in the foot, along with preventing common running foot problems like heel spurs, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and metatarsalgia.
Maintain Short Toenails
Everyone needs to trim their toenails, but it is particularly important for runners. Since toenails consistently and forcefully make contact with the front of your shoes for a long period during running, there is an increased risk of black toenails, pain, and blood blisters.
Keeping short toenails can reduce the impact on the front of the shoe and hence, minimize injury risk.
Strengthen Your Feet With Target Exercises
A crucial part of foot care for runners is having strong feet. A lot of runners believe that the numerous kilometers they put in should suffice to ensure strong feet. But although running strengthens the muscles in the feet, it tends to leave other small muscles around the foot and ankle weak. This is because running mainly involves a single repetitive motion.
There are some foot strengthening and physiotherapy exercises that are beneficial to improve your range of motion and for limbering up your feet. They include:
- Toe Splays
- Achilles Stretch
- Marble Pickup
- Slant Board Exercises
- Tie Extensions
- Ankle Rotations
- Toe Raise, Point, and Curl
- Big Toe Stretch
Rolling Out Your Feet
Feet rolling around on a tennis ball or lacrosse can be a very effective foot care technique. It helps to release the ligament that links the heel to the forefoot, called the plantar fascia. It is an important deep-tissue massage and relieves tension in the glutes, hamstrings, calves, and lower back because issues in the feet can exacerbate pain in those parts.
While seating or standing, place your foot on a ball and start to roll it around slowly. After that, switch to the other foot.
Practice Damage Control
A major part of ensuring proper foot care is to attend to any foot problem immediately after it arises. Problems like blisters, ingrown toenails, callus, tender areas, or other signs of infection can become debilitating if not properly attended to.
Even a bony bump at the base of the big toe throws foot bones away from alignment and can be painful as a result of arthritis or pressure.
Make sure you inspect your feet regularly. And as soon as you notice anything not ordinary, ensure you address it immediately.
Consider Compression Socks
Runners frequently experience swollen feet caused by venous insufficiency. The repetitive impact of running on the feet causes microtrauma to the several capillaries that deliver oxygen. Meanwhile, excessive swelling and repetitive trauma can result in more significant issues.
Long-distance runners should, therefore, take breaks and rest every few miles in order to improve blood circulation and minimize swelling. All runners should think of wearing compression socks, as they can be a helpful care tool that helps prevent or alleviate swelling by maximizing blood flow and preventing fluid retention.
Massage Your Feet
Massage therapy is a great way to relieve muscle soreness, relax tight muscles, and encourage better blood circulation. It is also believed to flush toxins and lactic acid from the body, which relieves joint strain.
If you want to remain as limber and pain-free as possible, physical therapy or massage therapy is an effective way to keep the muscles and other tissues like ligaments, tendons, and fascia in your feet.
Visit a Chiropodist Frequently
When you visit a Chiropodist regularly, you will be more likely to identify and address potential problems before it develops into something serious.
A Chiropodist can also educate you on the importance of foot health, including any additional steps you may need to take to maintain the best foot health.
Care for Your Foot
These tips discussed above will help to drastically reduce your chances of experiencing an injury. And whenever you experience one, observing those tips can help you recover as soon as possible.