Running & Foot Health

Taking care of your feet as a runner is obviously very important as foot pain can make your sport very uncomfortable!

A visit to a podiatrist should be made if you experience recurring pain before, after or during a run as pain usually means something is not as it should be.

Your podiatrist can provide you with a biomechanical assessment which is a thorough assessment of the feet, leg and body during weight bearing and non-weight bearing. The assessment allows the podiatrist to advise on the best way to improve your running and performance. The information produced from the assessment becomes the rehabilitation programme. An orthotic prescription may be needed if the problem is mechanical.

The cause of many injuries and pain can be because of changes that you have made such as changing your shoes or changing the surface you run on. You should consider having your gait analysed before you make any changes as a podiatrist can offer advice to reduce the risk of an injury.

Things to consider:

Looking after your toenails

Toenails should always be trimmed straight across rather than curved at the corner because if nails are cut too short there is a risk that ingrown toenails can develop.

Many competitive and long-distance runners can experience a condition known as subungual haematoma which is bleeding underneath the toenail. The toenail becomes black and in some cases the toenail begins to detach itself from the nail bed. It is recommended to secure the toenail with tape to ensure it does not tear away from the nail bed completely if it catches on shoes or socks.

Taking care of blisters

Most runners will experience blisters at some point. A recommend prevention tip is to buy dual layer socks as the inner layer moves with the foot and the outer layer moves with the shoe which reduces friction on the skin surface. If the socks become damp, you should change to a fresh pair. Another recommendation is to tape the blister prone toes or heels prior to running.

Once you feel a blister progressing, you should act as quickly as possible, stop running/walking and look at your feet. It may be a good idea to put on a waterproof plaster or material padding.

If a blister does develop you should cut a hole in a piece of material such as felt or foam and form a ‘doughnut’ shape over the blistered area. This should then be taped in place or covered with a gel-type dressing.

To prevent infection and to kick start the healing process, and open blister should be treated with an anti-septic cream or protective soft gel dressing.

Usually, if excessive irritation is avoided a blister will disappear within three to seven days.

Footwear

In most cases, running shoes should be replaced every 350-450 miles and should fit your feet perfectly. Running shoes should be purchased well in advance to a big race so you can ensure that they do not rub or pinch.

Many running shops will have experienced staff who will be able to measure your feet and recommend the correct shoe for you. As there are many different running shoes, it is important to know your foot type to make sure you are wearing suitable footwear. A biomechanical assessment can determine this for you.

Orthotic insoles

Back pain, hip, knee and lower leg injuries can be assisted with the help of an orthotic prescribed by your podiatrist. Although there are many orthotics available to purchase online and instore, it is advisable to have orthotics prescribed by a podiatrist to ensure they fit as they should and are helping your pain rather than hindering.

Always seek advice from a podiatrist should you feel any abnormal or uncomfortable pain as you may have an injury.