When you run you use – 25 bones, 31 joints, 110 ligaments, and your feet take the brunt end of the impact. So maintaing proper foot care is vital to not only enjoying running, but also keeping the “running machine” (you) in good operating order. These foot care tips will help you strengthen your feet, as well as keep them free from blisters and other diseases associated with poor foot care.
Blisters can make a fun run turn into a nightmare run. Blisters are caused by friction and moisture. The issue is a combination of poorly fitted footwear, abrasive socks, and poorly maintained foot care. Paying a little extra for a good quality shoe is well worth the price if you do a lot of running. Buying the wrong socks will increase your risk of getting blisters. Socks that absorb moisture and reduce friction will greatly reduce your risk of blisters. In some cases wearing two pairs of socks can also help prevent blisters.
Shoes in general lack good arch support, and for this reason it’s worth a little more to invest in third party arch supports. This is especially critical for active runners who run on pavement or asphalt. But it doesn’t stop there – if you buy fitted arch supports, you’ll be able to use them in almost any shoe you wear. You see, whether running or walking, having the proper arch support also supports your knees, lower back, and hips. So, not caring for this part of your foot can affect others parts of your body beyond the arch.
Active runners are frequently plagued with heal spurs (bone splints). Proper footwear, for both running and walking, is vital to preventing heal spurs. The other thing you can do is use heal inserts. These inserts have extra padding to relive pressure off the heal bone allowing the bone to heal and reduce inflammation. These inserts should be used when running, and can be used daily with dress or casual shoes.
Athletes foot is another problem runners encounter regularly. This disease generally starts between the toes and spreads to other areas of the foot if left unattended. Washing your feet daily and using foot powder goes a long way to preventing athletes foot. Fungus loves a warm, dark, moist environment; keeping your feet clean and dry will insure this pesky disease won’t ruin your training routine.
Plantar Fasciitis – this is a condition runners get which causes inflammation in the bottom of your feet. One simple prevention technique many runners use is called the “arch massage.” All you need is a tennis ball and about five minutes. The exercise is simple, all you need to do is roll the arch of your foot – back and forth – on the ball. Apply a moderate amount of pressure as to massage and stretch the arch, this will increase circulation and reduce inflammation.
We tend to take our feet for granted until they give us problems, then we are forced to pay attention. Using the tips we outlined above will allow you to be proactive, not reactive. Active runners, you need to be especially kind to your feet – they support you in many ways.