Just about this time of year my office starts to fill up with patients who decide to take up running to get in shape, lose weight, or challenge themselves by racing. Although I love taking care of people, I'd rather make sure they don't get injured in the first place.
Running is definitely an injury-prone sport. Fortunately there are lots of things you can do to prevent running injuries this summer. Here are 8 sure fire hacks that will greatly reduce your risk of a running injury or foot problem like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, or an ingrown toenail.
If you're new to running or you've run in the past but haven't for a while, it's important to start slowly. Even if you lay off running for a few weeks, research shows the bodies' tolerance diminishes during that short time. Instead of returning to your usual five miles a day, take it easy.
Start off running for 10-15 minutes at a time and increase by 10% a week. That way your chance of a foot injury is far less.
Stop Running If Your Feet Hurt
Although it should go without saying, it always amazes me how many people just assume that pain is a good thing. I think it comes from that saying "no pain, no gain". When it comes to foot pain if you feel pain, you won't gain. You'll only lose and end up with an injury. So stop running when your feet or any part of your body starts to hurt.
Make Sure Your Shoes Fit and Aren't Worn Out
Check your current shoes to make sure they aren't worn out. If you've had them for 6 months to a year and you run frequently it's probably time for a new pair.
Go to a reputable running to get a proper fit
Go shopping later in the day when your feet are most likely to swell
Test your shoes for stability (Check out my video: How to Test Any Shoe For Stability)
Wear the Right Socks
Although you won't get heel pain or Achilles tendonitis from wearing cotton socks you will get some nasty blisters. Avoid cotton and buy socks made out of synthetic materials that wick away moisture.
Do Proper Stretching
We've all heard that we need to stretch before we run, but most of us don't do it for long enough or correctly. A simple calf stretch done for a minute or less is usually not enough for most people to really make much difference. If you are prone to heel pain or Achilles tendonitis, tight calf muscles are frequently part of the problem. I recommend my patients who already have heel pain or are prone to it use an Achilles splint for 30 minutes a day to stretch their calves.
Dynamic warm-ups are also important to get your body ready for running. Some evidence shows that doing a static stretch right before running can inhibit performance.
Avoid High Heels
Frequent wear of high heels leads to shortened calf muscles. Tight calf muscles are often a big factor in bringing on plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. If you plan to wear high heels and also run, try to avoid going directly from heels to running.
Change Up Your Exercise
Rather than run every day, go swimming, do yoga, or another aerobic activity. Changing up your exercise will make you less prone to injury. Also, a strong core can help you recover more easily after tripping on a rock or other object in the road.
Eat A Healthy Diet
Staying hydrated and eating a healthy diet are also important for preventing injuries. You're less likely to lose steam and turn an ankle. Also, women who are too thin or are post-menopausal are at greater risk for stress fractures.
If you feel pain while running, 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.
For more information about heel pain in runners download our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".
In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly. You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!
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.