Healthy Feet Are Happy Feet

Medical advice on how to prepare your feet for long-distance runs.

The Tipping List

Healthy Feet Tips for Runners

Take care of your feet, and they’ll take care of you

-Julie Ryan Evans

woman joggingThe New York City Marathon is coming up, and even if you’re not running it, it certainly serves as inspiration to runners – both full-fledged and those just starting out – everywhere. No matter your level, though, you need to make sure and take care of your feet if you’re going to expect them to carry you the distance.

Dr. Johanna Youner, leader of Park Avenue Podiatic Associates, put together this list of tips for the marathoners that can also help runners of all levels keep their feet in tip-top shape and have them feeling like a champion at any finish line:

1. Stretching – Stretching primes the body for the strenuous activity so be sure to stretch before and after running, paying special attention to the calves, hamstrings, quads and feet.

2. Shoes – Invest in a good pair of running shoes as they provide the specific impact support that running demands; if feet sweat heavily try putting talcum powder in your shoes to keep feet dry.

3. Orthodics – If you have arch or heel pain, you may be a perfect candidate for orthodics, which are now widely available in over-the-counter varieties; visit your doctor to learn what option is best for you.

4. Socks – Cotton socks absorb moisture and what you don’t want during the marathon are wet socks; opt instead for a synthetic sock (containing acrylic) to help keep moisture from your skin thus reducing the likelihood of a fungal growth. Another secret of the pros is to avoid situating the seams in a place where the shoe is tight – the pressure can force the seam to dig into the skin causing pain and blistering.

5. Anti-Inflammatory Medications – Do not preemptively pop Advil to prevent aches that may arise during the race; pain is a valuable indicator during high-impact events and taking anti-inflammatory medications will mask any red flags the foot sends up during the race.

6. Groom Toenails – Make sure your toenails are trimmed to no longer than the tip of toes before the race to avoid a painful ingrown toenail or even a fungal nai.

7. Blisters – Blisters result from excessive friction between shoes and feet so take preventative steps by making sure shoes fit properly and are laced up to fit snugly; if you are prone to blisters, apply Vaseline to problem areas prior to your run or try padded “blister proof” socks like those made by Thorlo. Dr. Youner also suggests applying moleskin to problem areas which also prevents blisters from forming.

8. Visit Your Podiatrist – Dr. Youner’s patients who run in the New York City Marathon make appointments the week before the race to get rid of corns and calluses, stock up on moleskin, get advice on orthodics, and in some cases, receive cortisone injections for heel spurs (plantar fasciitis) so they can run in their dream even.

9. Finish Line – When the race is complete, Dr. Youner prescribes RICE: Rest your feet, Ice feet to keep inflammation and swelling down, Compress with ACE wraps to reduce swelling and Elevate feet to help them rest up for the next big run.

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