You’ve decided to start running. That’s a great first step, but there’s more to know before you begin your journey.
Your feet are going to be hitting the ground around 1,000 times each mile on average. Each footfall applies force anywhere from two to four times the weight of your body. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a majority of runners experience foot pain or injury each year.
Here are some things to know about to avoid foot pain and injury to keep your feet fleet.
RUNNING SHOES MATTER
Arguably the most important tool in a runner’s arsenal to fight against foot pain and injury is the correct pair of shoes. You don’t need to run out and buy the most expensive pair of shoes available but getting the right pair of shoes is important. Visit a specialty running store and have them analyze your feet and your gait to make sure your feet are being properly supported on your runs.
Your running shoes will face wear and tear eventually, so don’t forget to check them often and replace them as needed (studies show that running shoes begin to lose their effectiveness around 300-500 miles of use, depending on a variety of factors). A shoe past its prime is just as bad as the wrong shoe.
CONSIDER IF YOU NEED ORTHOTICS
Foot pain is never normal. If you have a history of injury from your feet up to your knees, you may need inserts or orthotics before you begin running. Speak with one of our podiatrists to assess your needs before you injure yourself while on a run.
DON’T NEGLECT YOUR RUNNING SOCKS
Let’s not make a stink about it: your feet will sweat while you’re running. If you’re not wearing the right pair of socks, it’s going to lead to uncomfortable blisters on your feet, and no one wants that. All socks aren’t created equally so avoid pairs that are 100 percent cotton (they trap moisture) and instead look for polyester or wool, which will keep your feet nice and dry.
YOUR DAILY SHOES ARE IMPORTANT
All of your hard work to prevent pain can be thrown out the window if you’re not wearing the right shoes in your day-to-day life. Hiking trails in shoes with poor support or walking around everywhere in cheap flip-flops is a sure way to lead to future foot pain. Love your feet and they’ll love you back.
KNOW YOUR STRETCHES
It’s a good idea to ease into your runs by warming up with a walk and by doing some stretching ahead of time to loosen up your muscles and prepare them for exercise. It’s also a good idea to warm down after your run and to stretch your muscles again to ease them out.
Runners World offers a nice quick guide to a few stretches to do before and after your run. It’s important to make sure you understand the proper form when performing stretches so you don’t injure yourself further. Speak with a professional if you’re unsure. Our podiatrists are happy to help!
KNOW YOUR RUNNING TERRAIN
In general, it’s best to run on softer surfaces to help prevent foot and joint pain in your body. Sometimes, though, we don’t have a lot of options when it comes to where we can run. Knowing the pros and cons of running on different kinds of surfaces can help you plan the correct shoes to buy and can help you plan the best route to keep you safe before, during, and after your run. There’s a great beginner’s guide at Very Well Fit which lists different types of terrains you may face as a runner with pros and cons for each.
Don’t rush into a heavy running routine. It’s tempting to go hard and go fast but taking on too much too quickly will kill your motivation to continue running and forming the habit. It’s also critical to remember to take time off between runs. When you rest, your body can heal and form stronger muscles to help you run further and faster. Running every day won’t benefit you if you forget to rest your body.
It will take a few weeks before you’ll begin to see results from your runs, so it’s vital to not set your expectations too high only to be disappointed when it’s taking longer than you want to see a physical change. But trust that you’ve made a great decision for your health. As long as you take care of your feet, running will be very rewarding for you in 2021 and hopefully for many years to come.
If you experience foot pain while running, our team at Aboite Podiatry may be able to help. Schedule an appointment with one of our doctors today.