Foot care for runners
Give yourself a drinks can massage
- Regularly check your feet for anything - lumps, bumps, blemishes, grazes, cuts - that is not normally present. Treat them early.
- Wash your feet on a daily basis, especially between the toes and ensure you dry you feet thoroughly.
- Alternate shoes on a daily basis - feet sweat naturally every day and this moisture is absorbed within the socks and shoes. As it takes longer than overnight for the shoe to dry out thoroughly, you are effectively putting on a damp pair if you wear the same pair of shoes on consecutive days.
- Wear socks with high cotton content as these reduce sweating and help absorb moisture.
- Clean socks should be worn every day and also after exercise.
- Perform stretching exercises on a regular basis (not just after sport) because good muscle flexibility, particularly of the hamstrings (back of thigh) and the calf muscle groups, is essential for good foot function.
- Use the right shoe for the right activity and surface.
- Ensure your shoes fit properly. It is surprising how many people actually wear shoes that are too short for them. If the shoe is fitted properly you should have approximately the width of your index finger between the end of the longest toe and the end of your shoe.
- Once the shoe is laced up, there should be about 1-2 finger widths between the lace holes. You should not be able to pinch any loose material on the upper of the shoe at the widest part of your foot.
- If you are feeling discomfort in your feet and need to ice the area, for example to reduce swelling, you can give the underside of your foot an ice massage by freezing a still can of drink, covering it with a tea-towel, placing it on the floor and rolling your foot over it for 5-10 minutes. To treat other areas of your feet, roll the can over the painful area.
- If you need heat treatment, for example to improve blood supply, an effective heat remedy is to alternate submerging your foot in a bowl of warm water for one minute and cold water for 30 seconds, 4 to 5 times, starting and finishing in the warm water.
Trevor is a former podiatry representative to UK Sport and a consultant podiatrist in London, where he specialises in foot surgey, sports injuries and biomechanics and gait analysis in his clinic Premier Podiatry. He is also employed as a consultant podiatric surgeon at Homerton University Hospital. He has worked extensively with professional sports-people in a variety of disciplines, including athletics.
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