Do you make foot care a priority?
Or are you the type of runner that doesn’t pay attention to your feet until they are causing you a problem.
Y’all, seriously, prevention beats cure.
Every. Single. Time.
A Bad Wheel Will Ruin Your Run
Most of the time, if your foot gets jacked up you’re in trouble.
And it’s not necessarily that the issue with your foot will do you in. The problem is that you’re probably going to change your gait in order to try and compensate for the issue, which can easily lead to another problem and another and so on.
So taking care of your feet is kind of important, eh?
Yet for some reason, I rarely (if ever?) hear much talk about foot care in the running circles in which I belong.
And there needs to be.
Because if you ignore your feet long enough, it’s just a matter of time before they become a problem.
5 Simple Ways to Give Your Feet the TLC They Deserve
Look, I have the ugliest feet in running.
Yet I also make sure to take care of my feet regularly.
I just want to make it clear that when I’m talking about foot care, it doesn’t mean non-stop pedicures and the worlds prettiest feet.
No. Quality foot care means that you’re taking care of your feet so they will stand up to the demands you’re placing on them.
A Little Trim and a Quick Shave
The first item on your foot care to do list is to make sure you’re cutting your toe nails regularly and doing a little callus shaving when necessary.
Don’t go crazy on either front, just keep them under control.
If you cut your toe nails back too far, that can actually cause ingrown toenails. Been there, done that. Believe me, not a lot of fun.
And getting a little overzealous shaving calluses can result in bloody footprints all over your bathroom. Yeah, I’ve done that too.
Just keep an eye on your toe nails and trim them when necessary. And when those calluses get really thick, go ahead an shave them back a bit.
Get Shoes That Fit
FYI: If you get black toenails from running, your shoes don’t fit.
I’ve never had a black toe nail. Ever. So don’t tell me it’s natural, because it’s not.
Just make sure that your shoes fit and remember that shoes don’t always run true to size.
Also, make sure you have shoes that are wide enough and/or foot shaped in order to allow the bones in your feet to spread out a bit while you are running.
Cramming you foot into a narrow shoe/toe box that is too narrow is a recipe for bunions, blisters, stress fractures, and black toes.
So get a shoe that fits, eh?
Spend the Money on Good Socks
I’m a cheap, cheap bastard.
I promise. I hate spending money on things that I don’t “need” which explains why I’m still using my POS Soleus watch instead of coughing up the cash for a Garmin.
And until I tried quality socks, I thought that spending $6-10 on a single pair of running socks was the most ridiculous thing ever!
Why do that, when for $5 you can get a 6 pack of Fruit of the Loom socks?
Yeah, the fancy running socks are worth it.
Getting some socks that wick moisture is a great way to reduce rubbing while you’re running which reduces the chance of blisters.
Seriously, do yourself (and your feet) a favor and get some quality socks. You won’t regret it.
(And PS: If you take care of them they will last FOREVER! Follow the care instructions, which may include not putting them in the dryer, to get maximum life from your socks.)
Strength Train Your Feet
If you really want your feet to hold up over many miles of running, you have to make them stronger.
Thankfully, strengthening the muscles of your feet doesn’t require a gym membership or hours of focused exercises.
You can literally build stronger feet simply by walking around your house and making a few subtle tweaks to your routine.
But if you’re the kind of person that likes a little more focused exercise, you can do several exercises to build foot strength as well.
Check out this video from the archives to help you build stronger foot muscles.
Rub Em the Right Way
A little massage is always a good thing.
If you have a partner who is good with their hands, maybe you can sweet talk him or her into giving you a little foot massage on a regular basis.
But for a great DIY option, nothing beats a golf ball.
And if you want to treat yourself a bit, go pay for a foot massage. That can be money very well spent.
Ignore Foot Care at Your Own Risk
Depending on your stride, how many miles you run per week, your gait, and your genetics, you may be able to ignore foot care for awhile without any negative consequences.
But if you’re not doing something to take care of your feet, don’t be surprised if something crops up eventually.
It may just be something simple and relatively minor, like a blister, but even a blister can be enough to disrupt your running for a week or more.
So why take the risk?
Honestly, just a few minutes of regular foot care most days is enough to keep many foot problems away.
So I’ll ask again, why take the risk?
Where do you stand on ultra running? A veteran? Still unexplored territory? No way in hell?
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