As a runner, you put your feet under a lot more stress than the average person. As a result, you're more prone to both exterior foot ailments, like corns and calluses, and interior ailments, such as stress fractures. You can't run well with injured feet, so follow these tips to keep yours in great health.
Scrub your feet with Epsom salts weekly.
Epsom salts consist of magnesium sulfate, a compound that helps flush toxins out of your tissues, leading to a reduction in inflammation and soreness. Their coarse texture also helps buff away calluses. Once a week, scrub your feet with a mixture of 2 tablespoons Epsom salts and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Let the salts drop into a tub of warm water as you scrub, and then soak your feet in this salt water mixture for 15–20 minutes. If you are particularly prone to calluses or your feet are extra sore, feel free to increase this therapy to 2 or 3 times per week.
Keep your toenails trimmed.
Ingrown toenails are common among runners, since your shoes put a lot of pressure on your toenails as you run. You can reduce your risk of developing ingrown toenails by keeping your toenails well trimmed. Make sure you cut the nail straight across in order to avoid leaving sharp corners that can dig into your toe. If you do begin to develop ingrown toenails, don't attempt to dig them out yourself as you may damage your skin and promote infection. Visit a podiatrist at a clinic like Elmhurst Podiatry Center Ltd, who can trim the nail properly and prescribe antibiotics, if needed, to fight or prevent infection.
Stretch and strengthen the muscles in your feet.
By keeping the muscles in your feet loose and toned, you reduce your risk of injuries such as plantar fasciitis and metatarsal stress fractures. An easy way to stretch your feet is to roll a tennis ball back and forth under your bare foot. Focus on carefully moving the ball from your heel to your toe, and then back again, letting the ball massage and stretch the muscles in the underside of your foot.
Also, perform a set of 20–30 standing toe raises once per day to keep your muscles strong. Simply stand barefoot on the floor, and then rise up onto your toes. Hold this position for 5 seconds, and then lower your heels back onto the floor.
Many runners suffer from foot ailments from time to time, but there's no reason you have to be one of them. Follow these foot care tips, and your healthy, happy feet will be the envy of your track team.