8 foot care tips for runners from a podiatrist
Living in the time of COVID-19 has given many people the chance to take up jogging, or to rekindle their passion for running. With limited exercise options, running is a great way to get out of the house, enjoy fresh air and briefly escape the lockdown.
But taking up running can lead to injury if you start to overdo on exercise or aren’t used to putting such strain on your feet and lower limbs.
Knowing how to avoid injury and how to keep away pain is the best way to enjoy your new-found passion for running. Here are our top foot care tips to help you look after yourself and get the most from running.
1. Foot massages
One of the best ways to care for your feet after a hard day of running is to have a foot massage. While professional massages might be out of the window during COVID-19, you can still do this by yourself or get your partner to give you a foot massage (if they agree!).
A foot massage can relieve the tension and stress from your feet, giving you a quicker recovery time and helping you to avoid injury.
2. Moisturise your feet
A big problem for many runners can be dry feet. If your skin starts to crack after a run, then you might need to use some moisturiser.
Cracked feet can lead to abrasions and cuts, which won’t be much fun to run on. The friction on dry skin can also lead to painful blisters, and you’ll want to consider moisturising your feet both before and after a run to keep the chance of blisters from forming to a minimum.
3. Keep your feet dry
Unfortunately, some runners might find that their problem isn’t dry feet, instead it's too much moisture.
Runners can suffer from athlete's foot or nasty fungal infections if they don't give their feet the chance to breathe while running in order to dry excess moisture and sweat.
To avoid the inconvenience of these infections it’s important to care for your feet properly. That means getting breathable running shoes and making sure to dry your feet properly after a shower, changing socks regularly and avoiding those large puddles in the road after it rains!
4. Don’t get too hot
Hot feet can be a real source of irritation amongst runners, especially after a long-distance workout or when it’s particularly hot outside. If your feet don’t have the chance to cool down, they can quickly swell up, or they can get too sweaty, leading to an unwanted amount of foot pain.
When you get back from your run, place your feet under cold water in the bath or shower to help them cool down and to relieve them of all that heat.
5. Look out for your toenails
Toenails are often forgotten about when it comes to foot care, but they are an important part of your general foot-wellbeing.
If your toenails are too long, they can turn black, break or completely come off when you run which can cause you injury. They could also develop into painful ingrown toenails. Keep them trimmed appropriately and ensure that your running shoes are laced and tied properly to minimise the related risks.
6. Learn to identify potential injuries
Injuries can spring up on you without warning, but more often than not you might actually be able to spot them creeping up on you. Many foot-related injuries can come on slowly, simple wear and tear of joints and muscles being a huge problem, especially if you’re just getting back into the game.
Learning to spot when you might need to have a rest or miss a day of running to recover those muscles is an important step to not getting injured, as is learning to identify when you might be putting too much strain on your feet.
7. Don’t forget your shoes
You’ll be surprised how often runners neglect their footwear, despite this being the single most important item of their sport.
Ill-fitting shoes or uncomfortable trainers can be a big cause of injury or discomfort when you are running. If you think your shoes are too small, or too large, or if they just aren’t comfortable or cause too many blisters, then you might want to look at upgrading to a new pair.
Price is not a good indication of good the shoes are, it's all about the fit.
8. Contact a professional
Of course, if you have an injury or if your running routine is causing damage to your feet, then you can always contact a professional.