As runners our feet are obviously incredibly important, but sometimes they just don’t get the care and attention they deserve. We look to show a few simple ways you can look after your feet and keep them happy.
First if your feet are sore in any way, DON’T run. Check your shoes, how old are they? If they are showing signs of wear, it’s good to analyze a pair of old worn shoes as they tell you so much about your running.
General Foot Care
- Prevention is always the best course of action. Act before a problem starts to develop.
- If you have any hard skin or calluses on your feet, treat yourself to a pedicure. Blisters under hard skin can be a real hassle.
- After a muddy trail run, a nail brush can be really handy to get rid of all the mud from the feet and toes.
- Keeping the skin soft and supple can help to prevent blisters. Putting a little oil on the feet after a shower can help immensely.
- Use technical running socks that wick the moisture away and keep the feet dry. This can help guard against blisters.
- Wear supportive insoles to support your arches and provide proper alignment
We spend a lot of time thinking about the power in our glutes, stretching our hamstrings and working on our stride. Meanwhile our feet are slapping the ground over and over absorbing 2.5 times our body weight. Why wouldn’t we try to give them the best support possible?
One of the most common foot issues for runners is Plantar Fasciitis, an inflammation of the ligament connecting the heel to the toes, which proper insoles can help to alleviate.
Major Reasons to Use Insoles:
- If you’re having pain in your knees from the foot rolling in or flat arches
- If you’re building mileage and want a little extra cushion as the body adapts
- If you’re having foot pain (like a strained tendon) and this will lessen the load
- The right insole can help to distribute the load of your step more evenly
- The right insole can make running feel better, which means you’ll stick with it
- Correcting a foot imbalance will improve your alignment and posture to prevent injuries up the chain (i.e. knees, hips).
- Running with flat feet and need arch support.
- Running with high arches and need arch support.
Once you’ve traced your root issue and started to work on it, using insoles can be a great part of the process to changing your mechanics or supporting the body as you get stronger.
What are the best insoles for running?
My friends with Plantar Fasciitis will be psyched by SelectFlex designed with an adjustable arch to support the fascia and redistribute the weight away from your heel where there’s effectively dynamic support to absorb shock to the lower extremities throughout your stride in addition to a deeper “teardrop” heel cup for better stability.
Here are some easy exercises that can help to strengthen your feet:
- Wiggling and clenching your toes. This can help to strengthen the plantar fascia (one of the main muscles which goes along the sole of the foot.)
- Try to pick up a pencil with your toes. This is fun, but can be tricky depending on the strength of your feet.
- Take your shoes and socks off and try to ‘walk’. Walk (or move yourself forward) just by clenching and unclenching your toes. You won’t go very far or very fast, but it will strengthen your feet very nicely. You could have a very short, slow race to see who has the strongest feet!
Be sensible and don’t do too much. If you feel any pain, stop! Little and often is always best.
Make sure you have enough space in your shoes.
If you get black toenails after a long run this could be an indication that your shoes are too small. Keeping your nails nice and short can help, but you might want to try a half size larger next time.
If you get numbness or pins and needles in your feet this is often a sign your shoes are too snug. Try wearing a thinner sock, this may help, but the best solution might be larger shoes.
Always remember running shoes do not give and stretch as much as leather shoes and your feet are much more likely to expand while running.
I hope this has helped give you some ideas of how you can take care of your feet.