As a runner, you may have a love-hate relationship with your feet. They may be calloused, blistered, and possibly missing toenails, but they still manage to pound out mile after mile. To make sure your feet stay injury-free, follow these four tips.
Change your shoes
What do you consider when buying running shoes? Is it their color? Brand? Or maybe price is the most important factor to you. And while all those are important considerations, it's even more important that your shoes are right for your feet. Maybe you roll your foot inwards when you walk or have high arches. Different shoes are made to accommodate different types of feet, and a specialty running store or a podiatrist can help you find the shoe that will provide the right type of support for you.
When you run, your feet absorb the impact of each footstep—the right foot gear can go a long way towards injury prevention.
Run on different terrain
If you find yourself always running on the sidewalk, consider hitting the trails once in awhile. Throwing in a track workout or a few miles on the treadmill couldn't hurt, either. Varying the surfaces you run on gives your feet a break, especially when those surfaces are softer than the hard concrete and cement you're probably used to.
Likewise, varying the side of the road you run on is important. Many roads are cambered, meaning they slope downwards towards the curb. If you always run on the right or left side of the road, your feet are never hitting the ground evenly, which could lead to muscular imbalances and cause problems down the line.
Eat a balanced diet
When you're doing a lot of running, your body needs extra nutrients. Eating a meal high in protein within 30 minutes of completing your run can help your muscles recover faster, preventing injury. Carbohydrates and sodium are also important for runners. Your feet—and your entire body—can recover much more efficiently on a nutrient-dense diet.
If you only stick to running, your feet and the muscles in your legs may not get the rest they need. Cross training can include exercises and sports such as yoga, spinning, or swimming. Engaging in these low-impact activities once or twice a week in addition to your normal running will help you get in a good workout while still allowing your feet some time to rest.
Spending a little time taking care of your feet can help keep you running and injury-free. For more tips about taking care of your feet by choosing the right shoes and running correctly, visit a professional such as Dr. Maurice Levy.