As the weather gets nicer, you'll be eager to get outside onto your favorite running paths. To make sure that your runs go smoothly, your feet need to be prepared. Push them too hard, and you'll find yourself with a painful foot condition that can keep you in bed and off of your feet. Here are some ways to ensure that your feet are as ready as you are to hit the running path.
Wear the Right Shoes and Socks
Make sure that the shoes and socks you wear on your run don't irritate your feet. Improper footwear can cause plantar fasciitis and Achilles' tendonitis, two painful foot conditions that can keep you from running. Some of the items to consider include:
- Wear socks that fit snug on your foot to prevent them from rubbing on and irritating the bottom of your foot.
- If your feet perspire, wear cotton socks that wick away any moisture that can cause your foot to slip in your shoe.
- Lace up your shoes tightly so they doesn't rub on the heel or Achilles' tendon.
- Make sure your shoes don't come up too high in the back and rub on your tendon.
Do a Thorough Warm-Up of Your Feet
If you try to make your feet work too soon before the muscles and tendons have loosened up, you increase your risk of foot pain. Start out with a warm-up session to make sure your feet are really ready for the run.
- Massage your feet for several minutes to increase the circulation.
- If the weather is cool, warm your feet to help relax tense muscles.
- Roll your feet over a round ball several times to limber up the muscles and stretch out the tissue band on the bottom of your foot called the plantar fascia.
- Do range of motion on your feet in all directions to slowly stretch out the muscles in and around your feet, especially the Achilles' tendon.
If your feet or ankles feel tight or swollen, don't try to force a run out of them. Tense, irritated muscles and tendons in your foot can be strained easily. You'll risk being off of your feet for several days because of a strain or sprain if you try to push your feet before they are ready.
Manage Those Fallen Arches
If you have flat feet, then you aren't getting the shock absorber benefit of an arch in your foot. Every step transmits force up through your legs to your hips and back, resulting in lower back pain. Your local foot doctor, like one at Mid Nebraska Foot Clinic, can evaluate the extent of your arch and prescribe custom orthotics to give you an artificial arch to reduce the stress on your back and hips.
Should the orthotics fail to give you adequate support on your run, the podiatrist can recommend surgical intervention. Tendons in your foot can be repositioned to better hold an arch in place. Bones can be fused together to create an arch in the foot. Your doctor will try as many of the non-invasive treatments first before suggesting a surgical procedure. But surgery may be the only way to keep you running pain free.