Running and jogging
After the knee, the foot is the most frequently injured body part in runners. And, given the forces that the foot has to absorb, perhaps this isn’t too surprising. So, what should runners do to take proper care of their feet? Here are some pointers.
Find the perfect fit
First, make sure your shoes fit properly. Bad shoe fit can cause a multitude of problems for runners - everything from numbness and burning, to blisters and painful calluses. Shoes that are too short can cause black toenails, while shoes that are too narrow, especially at the front, can cause pinched nerves, bunions, corns or calluses. Shoes that are too wide are bad, too, allowing the foot to slide around, which can lead to blisters. It’s not easy to get the right fit. But it’s essential that you do. And, even when you do get the right fit, don’t forget that shoes shrink over time, particularly if you get them wet often (either from excessive sweat or precipitation). And while your shoes are shrinking, your feet are getting bigger and wider. Not overnight, mind you, but over the years your feet can expand two full sizes or more. Which is why you should be measured every time you buy shoes.
Take care with socks
Ill-fitting socks are one of the primary causes of blisters. Wet socks and cotton socks can also cause blistering. Fortunately, socks cost significantly less than shoes, so you can probably afford to experiment. But do make sure you try on socks with your running shoes, and keep in mind that the pair that works well in a summer 5K may not provide the same comfort during a marathon or keep your feet warm in winter.
Soften your skin
Dry feet invariably leads to painful cracking. The solution: use a moisturiser every day. Rub it into the skin until your feet feel soft and smooth. The best time to moisturise your feet is immediately after a bath or shower.
Keep them dry
Overly dry feet can lead to problems, but so can sweaty, wet feet, which makes them more prone to athlete's foot and other fungal problems. If your feet tend to sweat a lot while running, lightweight, breathable socks are the way to go.
Despite taking precautions and treating your feet well, you could still develop a problem. If you attend to it right away – whether it’s a blister, callus or tender area – the chances are high that it won't develop into something debilitating.