Stay Healthy From The Ground Up
If your feet aren’t healthy and happy, you’re not going to be able to run at your best. Look after your feet, and your stride, foot strike and gait will improve. Here’s how.
Did you know that the average woman takes between 8,000 and 10,000 steps every day? Add in a few week-day run sessions, and a weekend long run, and our poor feet really do put in the miles. It’s time to learn how to look after them before, during and after running.
Choose The Best Socks
Runners put a lot of time, effort and cash into choosing running shoes. But how about the layer between the shoe and your foot? It makes sense to think about socks in just the same way. There are plenty of good running socks on the market, but we like Incredisocks which have been proven to increase circulation and reduce inflammation. Great for training, racing and for events like obstacle course too (they do a great job at keeping feet dry).
They even have a natural anti-microbial that kills odour causing bacteria. No more blisters or sore patches, just healthy feet with better circulation! Michael Goolkasian, who’s completed 144 marathons, wears them and who are we go argue with someone who puts in that kind of mileage! www.incrediweardirect.co.uk
Spot Common Foot Problems
Feet can get tight and injured just like any other part of the body. Look out for bruising, redness and inflammation which could indicate soft tissue injury or a sprain or strain. It’s even possible to fracture the small bones in your feet without being aware of it at the time.
If you have persistent pain, soreness, a feeling of excess heat, or any kind of swelling, go to your GP or a podiatrist. But look after your feet at home, too, by getting hold of a special foot roller and doing gentle, regular self-massage. Set aside 10-20 minutes a day (it’s easy to do whist you’re sitting at your desk or on the sofa if you need to multi-task!)
You need something a little smaller than the traditional foam roller for this. The PediRoller from Carnation Footcare is a great bit of kit which can help relax the bottom of the foot, ideal for before or after running or just after a long day on your feet. Regular use will go a long way to warding off dreaded plantar fasciitis. You can even pop it in the freezer and use it cold for an extra inflammatory effect. www.carnationfootcare.co.uk
Dave Wain, Carnation Footcare podiatrist, suggests storing it in the fridge. “If pain occurs after running, the Carnation PediRoller can help reduce inflammation of the affected tissue and strengthen muscles in the sole of the foot,” he said. “Leave in the fridge overnight and roll your feet back and forth over it for 5 minutes each foot.”
What To Do Before You Run
Warm up your feet just like you would the rest of your body. Before you put your shoes on, flex your toes, rotate your ankles, and walk barefoot making sure you feel the foot moving from toe to heel. Use your foot roller if you have any trouble spots.
Look After Your Feet Between Running Sessions
Blisters, callouses and hard skin can cause problems for runners so tackle the problem before it stops you running. We really like What Skin Needs, a range of natural skincare products for problems like cracked, dry skin. The Cracked Skin Cream is great for feet and a real treat to apply, with essential oils like myrrh, lavender and lemon amongst the superstar ingredients. www.whatskinneeds.co.uk
Another favourite here is Flexitol, who do a great heel balm which is ideal for runners’ feet. Medically proven to help dry and cracked feet, it’s great for using on dry heels at this time of year to prevent potential cracking and soreness. www.flexitol.com/uk
Look after your feet, particularly at this time of year, and they’ll support you (literally) all year round.