It’s time for the 32nd Beat the Bridge running event to raise money for JDRF, the leading global foundation that funds research to eliminate Type 1 diabetes. On Sunday, thousands of Seattle runners will try to beat a path to the Montlake Bridge before it is raised. Because this is often a Seattle runner’s first race of the year, there is a greater risk to feet and ankles particularly if training has been slack. I’m sure to get a few people limping into my office next week because they have a twisted or swollen ankle or come in complaining of heel pain.

Be sure your shoes are good to go – your running shoes wear out after 400 miles, which is one year for most people. I’ve heard that pro athletes change out their shoes every couple of games because they are so hard on them. Those who run are usually somewhere in between but you can figure out your mileage pretty easily if you wear the same shoes all the time. You can test out the supportiveness of any shoe you are looking to purchase. Shoes should not bend in the middle nor be able to twist (hold the shoes at both ends when trying this).

Avoid uneven pavement – you may be running in the streets this weekend, but as you know the streets in Seattle have lots of problems. While you can’t always avoid uneven pavement, try to scope out areas in your training regimen that are relatively smooth. Twisted and swollen ankles often show up at my door due to surface issues, not the way my patients run.

Get your orthotics checked – if you’ve had your orthotics for over a year or longer it’s a good idea to have them checked out, particularly if you’re experiencing any pain in your feet or back. As your Seattle podiatrist I can tell you that runners wear out their orthotics more quickly and simple adjustments can make them work more effectively when racing.

Slowly increase exercise intensity – if your main training has been to run around Greenlake at a slow pace once a month, taking on any race could put you at higher risk for a stress fracture. The guideline is increasing your training by 10% each week, no more. If you’re a beginner get a clearance from your primary care doctor before starting any exercise program. Women are at greater risk then men for getting a stress fracture particularly for those who have reached menopause or have bone loss for other health reasons.

Don’t ignor foot pain – pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Don’t ignor it. It could be an easy fix but it could be the signal of something larger.

You might want to finish first or perhaps your sights are lower and you just want to finish the race. Either way the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City is always there to keep you going. You can reach us at  206-368-7000 or you can request an appointment online.

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