Conditions - Footcare for Runners
Although it can be a beneficial exercise, running puts a considerable amount of stress on your feet and legs which can lead to problems. The risk of injury from running is considerably higher than that of walking for exercise. Foot specialists say that running can produce a number of high-impact injuries to the feet and legs. Among the possible injuries are stress fractures, shin splints, and ankle sprains. Many runners suffers heel pain that can be caused by a heel spur or by a condition called plantar (PLAN-tar) fasciitis (fas-eh-EYE-tis), which is overexertion and inflammation of the ligament that connects the heel bone to the ball of the foot. Foot specialists say you can prevent many injuries by wearing proper running shoes, doing stretching exercises before and after you run, and by not running too much, too quickly. If you do hurt yourself, stop running and rest until the pain disappears. Then make a gradual return to your running routine.
There are several simple steps that everybody can take to ensure they have good feet:
- Regularly check your feet for any lumps, bumps, blemishes, grazes, cuts etc. that are not normally present.
- Wash your feet on a daily basis, especially between the toes and ensure you dry you feet thoroughly.
- Alternate shoes on a daily basis; our feet sweat naturally every day and this moisture is absorbed within the socks and shoes. As it takes longer than over night 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. Laces should always be tied to ensure the foot is held in position and does not slide around. Once the shoe is done up, there should be approximately one to two finger widths between the lace holes and you should not be able to pinch any extra material on the upper of the shoe at the widest part of your foot.