With the warm weather finally here, we’re starting to see more and more runners hitting the pavement on the sidewalks and streets. Some might be getting ready for race season (marathons and half-marathons), while others might try to get in 15-20km per week to stay in shape and keep up their cardiovascular health.
If you’re a runner, you know that taking care of your body — stretching your muscles, keeping your core strong, and staying hydrated — is imperative. But because there are so many parts of the body to focus on as an athlete, whether professional or amateur, many runners tend to ignore the health of their feet, despite the fact that when running, our feet absorb more force than any other part of our body.
So whatever your running speed, style and reasons might be, foot care and foot health should be at the top of your list when it comes to maintaining your overall running health. Foot problems caused by running can also lead to painful or injured shins, knees, hips and lower back.
To help keep your feet fit for running this spring and summer, the podiatrists in our downtown Toronto foot clinic have put together these top three tips for foot health:
- Find the right fit. Running shoes come in many shapes, sizes, patterns and colours. It can be tempting to buy the most stylish shoes or ones that you’ve seen advertised. But the prettiest and most popular shoes might not be doing you any favours. Many specialty running shoe stores have professionals on hand who can look at your feet and recommend the best type of shoe for your foot. Working with a professional in this way can help prevent injury and foot pain. If you don’t have a store like this near you, or if you’re still unsure about the shoe that’s best for your foot type, visit us at our Toronto podiatry clinic and we’ll recommend the right shoes for you. We can even fit you with custom orthotics if you need extra support for your runs.
- Choose the right socks. Improper sock choice can be just as pain-inducing as poor running shoe choice, especially if you’re running longer distances. Socks that are the wrong size or that fit poorly are the leading cause of blisters, as are some cotton socks and socks that become wet from sweating. Acrylic, nylon, or merino socks are available for runners, with different thicknesses and weights. If you do have very sweaty feet, you run the risk of developing a fungal infection, making sock choice even more imperative. Ask your podiatrist which socks are best for you. If you do suspect you have athlete’s foot (a foot fungus), contact our podiatry clinic for help.
- Keep your feet strong. Just as you do exercises to keep your arms, legs and core strong, your feet can benefit from strength training too. Toe rises (rising up on your toes), heel drops (standing on your toes and dropping your heels), toe grabs (grabbing a piece of paper or pencil with your toes) and towel pulls (putting a towel under your toes and are all names of various exercises your feet can benefit from.
Keeping your feet fit, comfortable, and injury-free will help you run longer, faster and for the whole summer season, without having to worry about pain.
If you have questions or pain this summer sunning season, contact our downtown Toronto foot clinic for help!