What a year we’ve had! Most of us are happy that 2020 is behind us and we’re looking forward to making 2021 one of our best.

For many of us that means losing weight we’ve gained after being stuck at home behind a desk and a Zoom camera. Perhaps you’ve vowed to take up running or you’ve decided to take it up after some time off.

Either way, running is great sport as long as you can do it safely. Here are my top 5 tips for preventing foot and ankle injuries when you run.

Buy Running Shoes To Match Your Foot Type and Running Style

If you’re just starting out, don’t resort to wearing any old pair of tennis shoes. Go to a reputable running store like Super Jock N Jill or Brooks and buy a running shoe. Running shoes are designed to support your feet when pounding the pavement. Regular tennis shoes won’t cut it.

If you used to be a runner and have an old pair laying around, make sure they aren’t worn out. Turn the shoes over and check out the treads. If you see uneven wear patterns, buy yourself a new pair.

Also, running shoes should match your particular foot type and running style. For more information about buying running shoes read my previous blog, “How to Buy Running Shoes”.

Build Up Your Training Slowly

Even if your best friend is pushing you to run your first race in three weeks, it’s more important for you to train and be ready before taking on your first challenge. You’re much more apt to injure yourself if your body and feet aren’t prepared. Talk to your physician before beginning any new training program. Runner’s World suggests running three days per week to give your body time to recover in between runs. Read their article “How to Run When Your Just Getting Started” to get more details.

Warm Up Before You Begin

Your body needs to warm up before you stress it to avoid injury.  Although many people warm-up by doing short wall stretches, you’ll get more benefit from your stretch when your muscles are warm. I highly recommend starting out with some  Dynamic Warm-ups for Runners . These warm-ups help increase the temperature of your muscles and elongate them. You’ll be much more ready to put your legs and feet through their paces, enhance your performance, and prevent injury.

Moisturize Your Feet

You wouldn’t think this would be at the top of my list, but moisturizing your feet is essential. If your feet are so dry they crack, you’ll soon be in plenty of pain when you run. Dry feet can also make you more prone to blisters. There are many options out there. Try one of the following: Gold Bond Ultimate Softening Foot Cream with Shea Butter, Curel Foot Therapy, or Aveda Foot Relief. For more severe cracking, I’d recommend Gormel Cream. It contains 20% Urea, a sure-fire way to soften up and repair your feet.

Buy Socks That Wick Away Moisture

The right socks will help prevent blisters. Avoid cotton socks that retain moisture and instead choose brands that contain Merlino wool, nylon, acrylic, polypropylene, or polyethylene fibers. It may seem ironic that with one stroke of the pen I say to add moisture to your feet and the other stroke says to avoid it. But the truth is that while your feet need moisture to stay supple and avoiding cracking, too much moisture will lead to chafing and blisters.

Try one of these highly rated brands: Nike, Asics, Injiji, Belega, Swiftwick, and Feetures.

Other Safety Ideas

Also, because we’re in the middle of a pandemic and its winter there are a few other things you should consider before leaving your house.

Wear a mask. Yes, I know you’re outside. But if you’re going to be coming within six feet of anyone, it’s important to mask up.
Make sure you’re visible. Our dark, rainy afternoons and evenings can be a deadly combination for runners. Wear gear that is bright and neon colored. Purchase bright yellow, turquoise, and even white clothing at Brooks or Road Runner Sports. You should also consider purchasing a reflective vest, belt, lights or snap bands. These items are available at REI and other sports stores.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

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.

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Dr. Rion Berg
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A podiatrist in North Seattle treating families for over 40 years.
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