The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

5 Tips on Foot Care for Runners Post Marathon

Posted by on Wednesday, October 31st, 2018


The average marathon takes approximately 33,000 steps to complete. Though much of marathon relies on core, quad, and glute strength, it is our feet that take the worst beating. Sometimes the aching and pounding can persist more than a few hours. Life after a marathon goes on, but spending extra time on foot care, for runners, can help heal feet faster.

foot care for runners
Treat your feet right after running a marathon to get back to business as quickly as possible. [Image Source: Unsplash user Aquachara]

Post Marathon Foot Care for Runners

1. Stretch It Out

We show patients how to do a number of pain-relieving stretches at home. The type of stretch you do will depend upon where you’re experiencing pain. The towel stretch is one of our favorites for peroneal tendon pain. Stretching the flexor hallucis longus (FHL) tendon can have a big impact on how you feel from your big toe up through your leg. For plantar fasciitis and arch pain, we may recommend wall calf stretches. For ankle pain, try ankle circles. Don’t forget your toes with towel and marble pick-ups. These simple exercises can work out the 33 joints and over 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments in each foot.

Related Reading:

The Long Run, Part I: Preparing Your Feet For Marathon Running

The Long Run, Part II: Post-Marathon Foot Recovery

2. Massage With Ice

We recommend ice particularly if you’re experiencing sharp, stabbing heel pains or tightness in your plantar fascia arch. Ice reduces inflammation and pain considerably. One of the easiest ways to ice this area is by rolling your foot over a frozen water bottle. You can also freeze a paper cup of water and apply the ice directly to the painful area, covering small circles for 1-2 minutes. You can ice as often as 20 minutes every hour.

NY Podiatrist Tips: How To Prevent Marathon Feet

3. Elevate Your Legs

You’ve probably heard that elevation works wonders for swelling. During the marathon, your elevated heart rate increases the flow of blood, as well as lymph and extracellular fluid to the feet and legs. The calf muscles will pump much of this fluid back up to the heart, but it can be difficult to keep up. Compression garments help during the race. Afterward, you can lay flat on your back, putting your legs straight up to stretch, decrease swelling, and return blood to the heart. Your hamstrings will thank you later!

Marathons Don’t Have To Mean Mangled Toes: Cosmetic Foot Care For Athletes

4. Get Rolling

When seeing a foot masseuse regularly isn’t feasible, you can give yourself a foot massage with a lacrosse, golf, or tennis ball. Stretching the soft tissue in the arch of the foot helps ease soreness and inflammation.

How To Care For Your Feet After Running the NYC Marathon

5. Soak

Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate compound that has been used for hundreds of years to remove toxins from the body. Epsom salts are recommended to treat inflammation, foot odor, and pain. Increased magnesium in the body is associated with improved muscle function and reduced inflammation. Fill your bathtub or a basin with enough warm water to cover your feet. Add half a cup of Epsom salt and soak for 30-60 minutes. You may repeat twice a week. Some people like to add a few drops of lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus essential oil for aromatherapy. After soaking and drying your feet, add foot moisturizer for optimal health. [Note: This treatment is not recommended if you have dry, cracked, or irritated skin.]

NYC Podiatrists Offer Advanced Foot Care for Runners

As you recover, you may find it comfortable to wear compression socks and comfortable slippers or shoes. These tips and tricks may not work for everyone—particularly if you have an underlying structural cause for your discomfort. Here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine, we have all the equipment to diagnose and treat any condition pertaining to the foot and ankle. We also have a state-of-the-art Gait Analysis Center to aid in your training and injury prevention. Contact us today to set up an appointment.


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.