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.
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.
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.
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!
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.