The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Runner’s First Aid Kit: Healing Feet on the Run

Posted by on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012


This morning I went out running, thinking my biggest issue would be the sudden flare-up of my metatarsalgia and the light showers possibly turning into a downpour. Instead I ended up trudging home covered in gravel, dirt and blood. The good news is that I wasn’t thinking much about my metatarsalgia anymore.

I was running on a dirt/gravel path near a meadow where people let their dogs off their leashes. This is one of the things I like about the area–I love dogs, I enjoy seeing them play, and the people with them are usually friendly. So there I am, running around the path, wondering if I should just head home as the rain had indeed gotten steadier, and I really didn’t want to get my shoes drenched. All of a sudden, WHAM!! Down I went, sliding across the gravel. I looked up and there was a wet, happy Springer Spaniel with a big red ball in his mouth, prancing around me. He had been chasing after the ball, and running at full speed, had banged into me from behind. His concerned person now caught up and asked if I was okay. I said yes and headed home. Since there were lots of abrasions, I was bleeding steadily in that shallow wound way that makes many a six year old with a scraped knee hysterical at the playground. Instead I think I just impressed the tourists who saw me on my way home. They probably were thinking, “A blood covered person walking down the street at 9:00 am? This is EXACTLY what I came to New York City to see!”

I got home to find out that I have no band aids, no antibiotics, no anything. Instead I am sitting here wondering if that really red scrape on my hand is getting infected while I wait for the rain to slow down so I can go out and get some supplies–which brings me to my topic for today. What first aid supplies should every runner have? Especially in case of foot mishaps or injuries?

There are two types of first aid kits to consider. First, what should you have waiting for you at home if you’re going on a short, neighborhood run?

Runner’s Home First Aid Kit

Band aids of different sizes

Antiseptic solution

Antibiotic cream or hydrocortisone cream

Sterile gauze

Adhesive tape

Non-stick gauze pads.

Mole skin dressing kit

Cold pack in the freezer (though of course you can get by with ice cubes in a towel if you don’t have a cold pack)


Nail scissors


Compression sleeve/elastic bandage/wrap (for sprains)

Of course if you stagger home and realize that your ankle sprain or sore Achilles is more than just a minor day long injury, contact a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Okay, that’s your home first aid kit. If you’re going on a long run that takes you far from home, running an ultramarathon, or even just running or hiking a quiet woodland trail in a mountain forest, then you should have some first aid supplies with you; it’s worth a little extra weight for the safety.

Runners on the Road First Aid Kit

Band aids of varying sizes

Antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)

Antiseptic wipe packets


Tissues (to wipe things off, and also if your injury makes you cry. Hey, it happens.)

Benadryl (for bee stings)

Hydrocortisone ointment packs

Duct tape (good for blister emergencies)

Lubricant (for chafing)

Cloth wrap of some kind (to stop bleeding or fashion a splint if necessary)

I recommend looking at GirlsGoneSporty’s simple guide for how to treat minor injuries on the trail.

Other long run safety tips

If you’re running alone, make sure you tell someone where you’re running and how long you expect to be gone. Call, send a text, send an email, tweet the info if you’re confident you don’t have any stalkers amongst your followers. You can also leave some sticky notes with information about your route in an obvious place in your home, such as on the refrigerator. Bring a cellphone (a charged one); again, it’s worth the extra weight if you’re going it alone in a quiet place. If you’re offered a chance to take a CPR class, take it. No, you can’t perform it on yourself, but if you’re with someone who’s in trouble, or you find someone who’s been stricken, you could save a life.

I hope this helps you out. You’re not going to make running any harder if you follow some safety tips, you’re just going to make yourself safer. And again, these are all items meant for emergency treatment–if you realize you have a serious foot or ankle injury, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, and Dr. Ryan Minara have helped thousands of people get back on their feet.



If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.