Tips For Keeping Marathon Runner’s Feet In Top Shape
Posted by Jenn F. on Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Running is a fantastic workout, but make no mistake — it can be hard on the body! During a 10-mile run, your feet make an average of 15,000 strides, which means thousands of pounds of force placed on each foot during a marathon. At The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC, we treat a number of runners for stress fractures and other over-training injuries that are common in the running world. Our very own Dr. Geldwert is an avid runner who has served as Medical Director for the NYC Triathlon and Hamptons Marathon. You can trust his advice and expertise to get back to the sport you love in no time at all. In the meantime, here is our best advice for keeping yourself healthy while pounding the pavement.
Did you know that 50 to 70% of people training for marathons drop out before their first race, due to injury? Don’t let that be your fate! When training, be sure to alternate “easy days” with “hard days.” Increase duration or intensity by no more than 10% each week. Stretch your calves, hamstrings, quads and feet before and after a run. Begin with a five to 10 minute walking warm-up. On your easier days, do a bit of cross-training with rollerblades, biking, swimming and boxing to use different muscle groups. Don’t forget about our good friend, strength-training, either. The more we strengthen our skeletal support system, the less likely we are to fracture a bone or hurt our knees.
Invest in a pair of good supportive running shoes. We cannot stress this enough! Conditions like shin splints are very preventable if you have the right shoes. Keep in mind that sneakers are only really good for 300 to 500 miles, so you might end up needing new shoes four times a year if you’re getting in a good 40 miles per week. We recommend getting custom orthotics fitted to the sole of your feet to lessen the impact and ensure proper form. If you’ve been dealing with arch or heel pain, orthotics are often the easiest, most effective solution. There are plenty of purchases you can make to prevent injury to the feet as well — from corn pads and moleskin blister protectors, to lubricating Vaseline and sweat-absorbing shoe powder. Speaking of sweat, look for synthetic blend socks that contain acrylic (rather than 100% cotton socks) to prevent your feet from becoming too moist and developing blisters or foot fungus.
Keep your nails groomed no longer than the tip of your toe. Cut them as straight as possible, filing sharp edges if necessary. Continually check for ingrown toenails and see a podiatrist immediately if you notice the nail isn’t growing right. This sort of problem will not resolve itself.
Scheduling a visit with a podiatrist before a big race is not such a bad idea. We can rid your feet of corns and calluses that could be causing you some pain. We can check the condition of your orthotics, give you moleskin samples and offer cortisone injections to treat heel spur plantar fasciitis pain.
The Royal Post-Race Treatment
After a race, rest your feet. Apply ice and elevate them above your heart level to keep swelling done. Compressing with ACE wraps and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication can also help with swelling. Consider indulgences like massages or warm baths to heal your foot and leg muscles. Give yourself a few days of rest and then get back into the swing of things with a reconditioning program that starts off low and gradually ramps up the intensity again.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. 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.