Caring For Your Feet As A Runner.
While all of these tips are important, none of them will matter or necessarily help if you start with the wrong shoes.
The Right Shoe For You.
Seek professional advice when choosing your runners. Retail sports shoe specialists have staff who are generally well trained these days and understand what you want but have the espertise to recommend what you need.
Bearing in mind that your feet are very likely to swell on a longer run, it may be necessary to go up a half size to allow room for that. A good fit around the heel is going to reduce friction and some spare space in the toebox gives wiggle room, especially on the downhill slopes.
Investing in different weights of shoes will give the option of a lighter shoe for the long run and a more cushioned style for the all important recovery runs. Either way, it’s a good idea to test out your shoes around home before embarking on your first run to ‘break them in’.
I can’t say it loudly enough, DO NOT wear cotton socks for running. Your choice of sock can make it or break it if you want to protect your feet. If you are expecting to give your feet a regular pounding then they deserve the investment in a technical, prefererably Merino wool sock.
A good pair of running-specific socks won’t move around once you pull them on. They willl breathe around your skin and help reduce moisture from perspiration, along with a bit of padding in all the right pressure points. Being wool, there’s also a good chance they will smell better at the end of the run too.
Trim Those Toe Nails.
Regardless of the benefit of not piercing your socks or the toe box of your shoe, keeping your toe nails regularly cut will reduce and hopefully prevent damaging your toe nails. Repeatedly hitting the front of your shoe leads to black toe nails or even losing a toenail both of which are not only very painful, but unattractive too!
What about calluses?
Another point that generates a bit of debate is whether it is necessary to remove a callus. A callus is an area of hard, thickened skin that develops from repeated, constant pressure and friction. In turn these become like a natural cushion that the body builds up, toughening the skin. The potential problem with removing these ‘cushioned’ areas, is that the skin will be more prone to blister formation. Seek professional advice for your particular callus issues before attacking your own feeet!
Feet need strengthening exercises too.
Time spent in bare feet is helpful to naturally stregthen them.
A little running on the sand is good for the soles as well as the soul.
You can keep your feet nimble by practicing picking up a pencil with your toes, scrunching up a small towel placed flat on the floor, or standing and lifting up just one toe at a time.
Rolling your foot on a massage ball or tennis ball will help identify the tight muscle spots which can then be gently massaged out.
The Lace Lock Technique.
Foot injury and discomfort can be helped by a change in the way you work your laces. Who knew that ‘lace bite’ was even a ‘thing’?
By using this technique , the foot should move around less in the shoe and also alter the pressure point (lace bite) on the top of the foot.
Avoiding blisters in the firstplace.
If you are developing hot spots on your feet then there is a chance that you are ignoring them long enough to develop blisters. It’s important to get to the bottom of why this is happening to you. While the physiology of how a blister develops doesn’t change – friction, moisture and/or pressure, the actual cause of these elements needs to be identified. Is it your shoe? The size or the fit? Is your heel lifting inside? The way you are lacing your shoe? A lump in your sock? Ignoring random irritants like grass spears or small stones? Perspiration? Continually changing ground surface – dirt track, pavement, stones, angle? All of these things and many more, send out the warning signal ‘Hotpot!Blister pending!’
This is you cue to STOP what you are doing and take the time to apply your choice of product to stop the blister in it’s tracks.
There’s a lot to be said for knowing where your potential hotspots might occur. A simple practice of anticipating the problem and applying preventative measures prior to setting out, can save you a lot of time and discomfort. The use and simplicity of natural wool to prevent blisters has been tried and tested with great success for many runners. Wool has the added benefits of being light to carry and quick to apply – but only before the blister surfaces or the skin breaks.
So you still need to carry a small blister kit:
This needs to include your preferred blister prevention product and something to ‘treat’ the blister with, should you get to that point.Again, there are a raft of products on the market to choose from. Once a blister has developed, it’s then a matter of opinion and personal comfort to decide: To pop or not to pop – that is the question!