Our feet are the foundation of every step we take and connect us to the ground. They adjust to every stride and absorb the impact of the ground as we run. In this blog post, we will look at some useful advice and tips on foot care for runners.
We all know our feet can ache, blister, sweat, crack, peel, itch and sometimes smell. But our feet are essential to our long-term mobility and wellbeing.
So why is it that so few runners give their feet the proper care that they both need and deserve?
Our feet look after us, so isn’t it time we all learned how to look after our feet? Here are some great top foot care tips for runners.
Foot care for runners – Find the right shoes for your feet
Proper shoe selection is vital to foot health and there’s no one perfect shoe for everyone. Everyone’s feet are different shapes and sizes, and every manufacturer uses a different template for making your shoes. A bad shoe fit can cause a multitude of problems. From numbness and blisters to painful calluses.
Shoes that are too short can cause blackened, bruised toenails. Shoes that are too narrow can cause nerve pain along with corns and calluses.
So the simple answer is to try loads on. Pick the shoe that is most comfortable for you. Your feet will thank you down the line!
It’s also worth considering having two pairs of running shoes on the go that you alternate. This way, the cushioning bounces back between runs and gives your trainers time to dry out from any absorbed perspiration.
Remember that during a run, our feet will expand both lengthways and widthways. So you may need to get a sized shoe that allows for this expansion, yet is not too large. Use the test of having a thumb width between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe. You may remember this process when you were having your shoes fitted as a child.
Foot care for runners – Tips.
Get rid of old shoes
Replacing old, worn-out shoes is important. Check the insoles and outsoles of your shoes to see if they are worn. As a rule of thumb, running shoes should be replaced after 300-500 miles.
Wear the correct socks to avoid blisters
Socks that don’t fit properly are actually a major reason why blisters develop. If your feet rub excessively against the fabric, it can irritate the skin to the point of blistering. Also, socks of the wrong material can trap moisture, leading to athlete’s foot and fungal nails.
Keep your feet clean and dry
We understand that talking about fungal infections isn’t pleasant, but the condition is very common amongst runners. This is due to the dark, warm and moist environment of trainers and socks, which can become a breeding ground for fungal spores. Therefore, it’s vital to wash and thoroughly dry your feet, especially between your toes, at least daily. We recommend a light daily dusting of Mycota Powder in socks to keep fungal infection at bay.
Some runners wear their black toenails as a badge of honour. These are a sign that your shoes, or the toe area of your shoes, are too small, or the lacing of the shoes could be wrong. Bruised and traumatised toenails can lift or eventually fall off.
Another common foot problem is ingrown toenails. These can become very painful and infected. Don’t wait to get professional care!
Moisturise your feet
While it is important to keep your feet dry, it is also important to maintain some level of moisture within your skin. Your skin will be more prone to painful cracks and bleeding if they dry out. Soft and supple skin will move with the movement of your foot when running.
After running, and once you have washed and dried your feet thoroughly, apply a 10% urea based moisturiser such as Flexitol. However, always avoid moisturising those areas between the toes.
Don’t be tempted to be a DIY surgeon and remove any hard skin/callus or ingrown toenails yourself. Seek professional help, as you’ll pay less in the long run and get more out of a professional foot healthcare treatment than you think.
Be kind to your feet. It comes as no surprise that we all need to take good care of our feet and ankles. After all, they do absorb a huge amount of force from the rest of our body, whether we’re running or just walking.
If you’re concerned about pain in your feet, knees or lower back when running, it may be worth investing in a biomechanical assessment to assess your posture, gait, and footwear. Contact our footcare clinics in Beeston or Ilkeston for more details.