Runners- Protect Your Feet From Painful Conditions

By: Gen Wright


As the weather warms up, many people are vying to become more active to shed their winter weight and get more fit. Running has become one of the most popular forms of physical fitness in America. Utilizing all parts of your feet, it is important to condition your body, build up to a routine, and stretch your muscles, tendons, and ligaments before and after each run. For runners, your feet are more vulnerable to injury than any other part of the body. You should be on the alert for signs of foot problems that can slow them down if not treated immediately and appropriately.

The Aches and Pains of Running

The most common pain associated with jogging is known as runner's knee. One of the common causes of runner's knee is excessive pronation, or rolling in and down, of the foot. Orthoses prescribed by your sports podiatrist are one of the best ways to alleviate the problem. Other complications include heel pain, athlete's foot, blisters, corns, calluses and other pains.

Even with the best preparation, experiencing various aches and pains when beginning a new running routine is usually inevitable. If the pain subsides with slow, easy exercise, you may continue with your routine. If the pain gets worse, stop your running and rest. If the pain persists, even with rest, it is important to visit your podiatrist for further treatment and diagnosis.

Stretch Before You Run

Before beginning any exercise program, proper stretching is essential. If your muscles are properly warmed up, strain on muscles, tendons, and joints are reduced. Your stretching exercises should generally take 5 to 10 minutes and should be conducted using a stretch/hold/relax pattern without bouncing or pulling. Stretching the propulsion muscles in the back of the leg and thigh is vital, in addition to the anterior muscles.

One effective stretching exercise is the wall push-up. In order to perform this stretching technique you must face a wall from approximately three feet away with feet flat on the floor, and knees locked. Next, lean into the wall, keeping your feet on the floor and hold this position for 10 seconds as the calf muscle stretches, then relax. Do not bounce as that can negative effect stretching. Repeat this routine five times. Other stretching exercises include the hamstring stretch and lower back stretch.

Proper Shoes are Essential

Your choice of shoes should be determined by weight, foot structure, and running routine. All shoes have a different shape, and sizes and widths are not the same from shoe to shoe. Advice from your podiatrist in Quincy will also help in properly choosing footwear for running.

Additionally, consider whether an orthotic device will be placed in your shoe and whether your running style is flat-footed or on the balls of your feet. Shoes should provide cushioning for shock absorption, as well as be able to fully bend at the ball of the foot area. The best time to shop for shoes would be in the afternoon, when your feet are slightly swollen. When trying on shoes, wear thick running socks as to make sure the shoes have a proper fit.

It is a good idea for a beginning runner to visit a podiatrist before starting an exercise program. Your Quincy and Dedham podiatrist will examine your feet and identify potential problems, discuss conditioning, prescribe an orthotic device that fits into a running shoe, if needed, and recommend the best style of footwear for your feet. If you exhibit any aches and pains while running, it is also important to visit your podiatrist for further treatment.

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Owned and operated by Dr. Marshall Lukoff, Foot Care Specialists, PC, is committed to treating an array of podiatric problems such as heel pain or foot pain with Quincy orthotics. Dr. Lukoff, podiatrist in Dedham and Quincy, received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine.

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