As a runner, you love the feeling of being fit. You also love to do things that keep you healthy--eating organic food, filtering your water, and avoiding products that contain toxins. You make a point to get an annual physical with your primary care doctor. Like most runners you probably haven't seen a foot doctor unless you've had a major foot problem, like plantar fasciitis. But--since runner's feet are more vulnerable to foot problems and injuries I decided to share my top 5 tips to keep runner's feet healthy and strong.
1. Choose the Best Running Shoes
You want to run in comfort and with shoes that perform the best for you. To begin, find a store that will ask you the right questions such as Super Jock 'N Jill in Seattle at Greenlake or Redmond.
According to Runner's World magazine some of the questions a store should be asking or looking for are:
- your level of running experience
- how much you run in a typical week
- the height of your arches
- your motion mechanics (ie. over pronation)
- where your foot strikes the ground (i.e. forefoot)
You can also test any shoes before you buy them to make sure they are providing the proper support. View this video to learn how.
2.Choose the Best Running Socks
Socks are one of the most important purchases you'll make second to running shoes. Avoid cotton-only socks to prevent sweat accumulation and blister formation. Socks that wick away moisture and reduce friction often combine Merlino wool and nylon and/or incorporate acrylic, polypropylene, or polyethylene fibers. Some favorites of Seattle runners that meet these requirements are Swiftwick, Feetures, and Wright Sock.
3. Change Up Your Exercise and Shoes
Your chance of getting an overuse injury goes up if you do the same exercises day in and day out and wear the same shoes. We can all get into a rut. Change up your exercise and your shoes can help you avoid injuries that will sideline you from running.
Pick one or two other activities that use other muscles in your body and feet. Whether that's tennis, basketball, or going to a local Crossfit gym it doesn't matter.
4. Try Yoga to Improve Foot Strength and Flexibility
Speaking of exercise, one type of exercise for feet that is totally underappreciated is yoga. There are many exercises in yoga specifically for the feet and ankles. Yoga is great because it helps build strength and flexibility. It also increases awareness of how you're standing and walking. It's a great adjunct to other treatments a podiatrist can offer you. Check out our local Lake City yoga studio, Two Dog Yoga or one of the 8 Limbs Yoga Centers in Seattle.
5. Prevent the Two Most Common Toenail Problems for Runners
Problem toenails can keep any runner away from the track. Two of the most common problems that can plague runners are toenail fungus and ingrown toenails.
Fungus is everywhere. It particularly loves warm, damp environments. To prevent toenail fungus:
- Change out your running shoes daily. Shoes need to dry out to prevent fungus from settling in. An alternative to switching shoes is to use a device that will kill the 99% of the fungus like the SteriShoe+ Ultraviolet Shoe Sanitizer.
- Wear socks that wick away moisture.
- Avoid wearing toenail polish 24/7. Nail polish can weaken your toenails, making them more vulnerable to fungus. If you have to polish your nails, I recommend Dr.'s Remedy Enriched Nail Polish. It has tea tree oil and vitamins but none of the harsh, toxic chemicals in most polishes.
Ingrown toenails are also problematic for runners. Buying the right size shoe and also cutting your toenails straight across are the most important things to keep in mind to prevent this problem from occurring.
Even runners with strong and healthy feet are going to need help sometimes. Remember if you experience any pain in your feet as a result of running, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.
Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.
Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.