Runners have to take care of their feet if they plan on participating in marathons or running for pleasure. Many experience foot pain while running because they don't take necessary precautions. You can avoid pain and discomfort if you use the following tips and protect your feet and ankles from the stress caused by jogging, running, and walking long distances.
Warm Up/Stretch Before You Take Off
The most effective way to avoid foot pain while running is to make sure your legs and feet are warmed up prior to taking off. This includes calf stretches, lunges, and spreading your toes. While stretching is essential to get the blood flowing smoothly, don't take the stretches too far. Use exercises like deep lunges and hamstring pulls for after the run. Warming up and cooling down keeps your muscles functioning efficiently and will reduce cramping in the feet and legs.
The Right Shoes and Socks
Shoes that fit properly are a must. It's also good to have the right type of socks. When your shoes fit snugly, your socks can chafe your skin, causing blisters and general discomfort. Natural cotton socks are often more comfortable and create less friction than those made of nylon or a polyester blend. Properly fitting shoes allow your feet to move freely and flex with each step so that your weight is dispersed evenly.
Protect Your Ankles
In between runs, strengthen your ankles through stretching, walking, cardio, and strength training that are geared towards enhancing the performance of your legs and feet.
Your ankles are made up of connective tissue and bone. The muscles that support them and allow them to move need to have the necessary strength to allow the ankles to do their job effectively.
Strengthening the muscles of the feet, as well as the gastroc and soleus muscles in the calf will provide the support that is necessary for you to run long distances comfortably. Dr. Nagy can discuss many different ways to support and strengthen your ankles as you exercise.
Know Your Body
As with anything you do physically, your body will provide you with the information you need to remain healthy and pain-free. To avoid foot pain while running, watch for simple signs of distress. Your body will give you clues when you start to push yourself too hard or over-exert yourself.
Muscle cramping may mean that you aren't drinking enough water during your runs or that you haven't warmed up sufficiently. If you have weak ankles, you may want to start taping or wearing a neoprene brace under your sock. Little clues your body gives you both during and after your run will help you to avoid foot pain and discomfort.
Walk As Much As You Can
Walking is the best exercise to tone your legs and keep the joints of your feet and ankles flexible. Walking also helps to maintain the fascia and connective tissues that support the arches of the feet. Maintaining this flexibility improves circulation and will prevent your feet from cramping or hurting after a long run.
Walk as often as you can. You don't have to spend hours on a treadmill. Park in the farthest spot away from the store or walk around the block two or three times a day. Walking on uneven trails can also help by training you how to navigate rough terrain while you're running.
If you're a runner and have been experiencing varying degrees of foot pain while running, schedule a consultation with a New Hampshire podiatrist at Nagy Footcare. They can evaluate your feet and discuss any potential health concerns he sees. They can also recommend exercises you can do to strengthen your ankles and legs and protect your feet from being over-stressed.
Dr. Nagy can also help you find the right shoes and socks to make your run as comfortable as possible. You don't have to live another day with foot pain and discomfort. Let Dr. Nagy and the staff of Nagy Footcare help you get back on track!
At Nagy Footcare, our best day is when you wake up with no foot pain.