How Can Runners Prevent Foot Pain?
Whether you are a weekend athlete who runs a few miles every Sunday morning or a runner who hits the streets and puts in a good 40 miles every week, most likely, you’ve battled foot pain to some degree. It may be occasional, or perhaps chronic, but nonetheless, as a runner, no doubt, foot pain is something that you’d rather not have to deal with.
So what are some ways to deal with occasional – or perhaps more frequent – foot pain that may plague you from time to time, or perhaps on a more regular basis?
First the Facts
Did you know that there are over 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments in each foot?
And here’s another fact to consider: According to the website, Cool, your feet hit the ground approximately 800 times when running just a mile.
That’s certainly a lot of pounding on your feet! So you certainly want to be sure that you take good care of your feet when you’re out running…whether you’re a weekend warrior or a long-distance marathon runner who is training for a big event.
Warming Up: A Good Thing to Do
It’s always a good idea to warm up before you head out for a run, especially if you’re new to the sport of running; it’s no surprise that new runners tend to experience more shin splints, blisters, ankle sprains and other foot injuries than veteran runners who typically know how to take better care of their feet.
What’s a good warm-up exercise that is good for your feet and ankles? How about trying a few Sun Salutations to get your blood flowing before a run? Or you can try walking briskly or running slowly for about five minutes, and follow that by gently stretching your leg muscles.
Purchase Good Running Shoes
Of course, nobody says you have to go out and buy pricey $300 sneakers, especially if you only go out for a leisurely run in your neighborhood once a week on a Saturday morning. But do consider that if you buy a much cheaper $30 pair at your local discount shoe store, that they’re not likely to last nearly as long and most likely won’t give your feet the necessary support that they need.
Do purchase running shoes that have good shock absorption and construction that will provide stability and cushioning for your feet, and make certain that you buy the shoes at the end of the day when your foot size will be the largest.
Other Tips to Keep Your Feet Pain-Free
To keep your feet as comfortable and as pain-free as possible while running, make certain to buy cotton socks; nylon socks tend to be more abrasive than cotton. You can also try lubricating the friction-prone spots of your feet with Vaseline; if that sounds unsavory to you, try powder on your feet before going out for a run.
And after you run, make certain to stretch your calves, holding the downward facing dog pose for 10 slow breaths. Listen to your body: It’s important to do so. If you are experiencing pain in your feet or ankles, slow down a bit or take a couple of days off and rest.
You May Experience Foot Pain From Time to Time
You may have foot pain from time to time even after following many of the tips that have been mentioned so far. Many runners complain of pain on the top of their feet – pain that’s referred to as exterior tendonitis, which runs down from your shin along the top of your foot. These tendons can become inflamed, causing pain and swelling. This condition is frequently found in runners, hikers, skiers, cyclists and triathletes. This condition can be due to:
- Too much activity.
- Poorly fitting shoes.
- Changes in running patterns due to terrain; hills make your feet work harder to lift your feet off of the ground as you ascend and continue to work hard to slow you down on your descent.
Treatment for your Foot Pain
If you do experience foot pain after running, here are some steps you can take to alleviate your pain:
- R.I.C.E., which stands for rest, apply ice, compression and elevating your foot.
- Check to make sure that your running shoes fit properly; you can do this by getting advice from a sales associate at a running store.
- Make certain that you are tying your shoelaces properly; if you are not doing so, you could be losing valuable support when you are running.
- Insert extra padding in the forefoot area of your shoes to take the pressure off of your tendons when you run.
- Stretch your calf muscles.
- Take Ibuprofen as directed.
- Your physician may suggest a steroid injection if the pain persists.