As a runner, your feet are two of your most important assets. So if you think those little “annoyances” on your tootsies are no big deal, think again. Once you start moving, those minor blisters and ingrown toenails can cause you discomfort and pain. This can turn an activity you normally enjoy into something you can’t wait to be done with. Or worse yet, it can keep you from lacing up your shoes in the first place.
If your feet are in less than pristine condition, here are some ways to get them ready to run:
Nothing can stop an enjoyable run quicker than a painful blister. To avoid blisters, make sure your shoes and socks fit comfortably and that socks have no seams. If you tend to get blisters in certain locations, use lubricant to reduce friction. You’ll often feel a hot spot before a blister actually forms, so don’t ignore the sign. If something starts to feel sensitive or irritated, cover the area with cushioning, add some lube or adjust your socks or shoes before it’s too late.
When the corner of your toenail grows into the skin by the edge of your toe, it can result in lots of pain and can even lead to infection. To avoid ingrown toenails, cut your toenails straight across and don’t round the corners. If you already have an ingrown toenail, soak your foot in warm soapy water and try to gently nudge the nail out of the skin (but never cut into the skin). If you notice signs of infection – redness, swelling or oozing – see your doctor.
Dry, Cracking Skin
Runners are prone to dry skin, especially on heels, that can lead to cracking and even infection. Keeping feet well moisturized can help prevent cracking and fissures. Using lubricant while running can also help keep skin more supple.
When feet are exposed to warmth and moisture – which is common for many runners – it can become a breeding ground for fungus. This can lead to red, itchy, scaly skin. Most cases of athlete’s foot can be treated by using over-the-counter fungicides. Wear socks made from moisture-wicking fabric to keep feet cool and dry.