How Runners Can Protect Their Feet
Avid, regular running is one of the best ways to get and stay fit, prevent illness and disease, and stay psychologically healthy as you age. But it sure can work your feet over if you aren’t careful, too!
If you’re a rookie runner and you’re not quite sure how to protect yourself, or if you’re an elite marathoner who has gotten a bit careless in training—or anywhere in between—you could wind up with nagging injuries to feet, ankles, and legs. If that happens a lot, it might stop you from running altogether, and we definitely don’t want that!
Methods to Avoid Pain and Keep on Running
- Find shoes that fit. We highly recommend investing in a quality pair of running shoes that properly fit and are designed with your gait patterns in mind. We can perform an evaluation and analysis of your foot structure and running gait to help you select an appropriate style. You may also find that the staff at a specialty running store can provide a lot more help than a general purpose shoe or department store.
- Replace your shoes after 300-500 miles. Your mileage may vary, depending on your weight and running style, but over time the part of your shoes that helps support arches and absorb shocks will wear down and lose its springiness. Once this happens, your shoes need to be replaced—even if they still look nice on the outside
- Build slowly toward your goals. Whether you’re starting a running program from scratch, getting back into the swing of things after winter or an injury, or just trying to improve your speed or mileage, start slow and limit yourself to 10% increases (at most) in intensity per week. Doing too much, too soon carries a high risk of injury.
- Plan your routes carefully. It can be fun to just pick a direction and see where it takes you, but terrain can make a big difference. If you find yourself struggling with pain, choose flatter routes or run on softer surfaces like dirt or gravel.
- Focus on form. There’s no “perfect” way to run—everybody does it a little differently—but there are a lot of bad ways to do it. Work on establishing good biomechanics in the way that you run. In the short term, it’ll feel weird. But in the long run (pun intended) you’ll feel better, protect your feet and body, and allow yourself to go farther and faster.
- Listen to yourself. Running should be a workout, and it’s okay to let it push you to your limits. It’s not okay, however, to let it push you past your limits. If something hurts, that means it’s time to slow down or stop and evaluate. To do otherwise risks major injury.
At the Kansas Foot Center, our team specializes in keeping your feet healthy and fit so you can be as active as you want to be! If you have any concerns about foot pain or injury from running, please give us a call at (866) 222-5177.