5 top tips for healthier running feet

Whether you’re new to running or you’ve been competing for as long as you can remember here are some golden rules when it comes to foot care and running. Healthy feet means healthy running so keeping your feet happy can go a long way toward ensuring that every run is not only enjoyable but also safe and pain-free.

Gear up! 
First things first, don’t underestimate a good pair of shoes that fit well (preferably a pair that your podiatrist has recommended) and a good pair of socks. Socks that are a poly-cotton blend are best because the material helps to pull moisture away from your feet and will help you avoid blistering. At the very least get a pair that fit right, there’s nothing worse than having to stop mid work out to pull that crumpled sock out from under your toes!
As far as the right kind of shoes go it all depends on what kind of feet you have! Obviously everyone’s feet are different and work outs will differ, but a good rule of thumb is your orthotics should be doing the work for you, so wear them! That said, always double check with an Active Foot Clinic podiatrist they’ll be able to tell you what kind of shoe is right for you!   

A short stretching session before and after a workout can work wonders. Stretching improves flexibility, reducing muscle tension and decreases your risk of injury so it really should become part of your exercise routine if it’s not already.  The muscles in your feet need to be treated with respect and an injury could see you out of action for weeks, so do yourself a favour and aim to stretch the muscle groups you plan to use for that particular work out. Aim to do some active stretching during your warm up and static stretching during your cool down, and remember never bounce or stretch rapidly and don’t hold your breath, just take it slow and steady!

Warm up
This is another one of those points that many people underestimate. Start each work out slowly, this helps your feet and body prepare itself for activity and will decrease your chance of muscle strain. When you run, your feet are active almost the entire time, so they absorb the shock of impact when you pound the pavement, but they also control how you push off from the ground. Many running injuries come back to an issue with either of these actions. If you haven’t stretched or warmed up your foot could be too stiff to bear the impact of running and cause an injury, so it’s important that you give your body some time to adjust!  

Cool down
This is an important step because it aids recovery. Your cool down can be the same sort of exercise as the warm up, so if you’ve been running, spend 5- 10 minutes jogging or walking to cool down. Likewise stretching after a run helps to ensure maximum flexibility, relax the muscles and to help return them to their resting length. 

You live in your body, so listen to it! Keep your body relaxed when you run, avoid tensing or cramping toes and if you do feel pain listen and stop right away, and above all if you’re in pain and not sure why don’t hesitate to come in and see one of our podiatrists.  

Cristy Houghton