Foot care before and after a marathon
Find the right fit for you
From traditional thick-heeled running shoes to minimalist, lightweight toe shoes, thereâs fiery debate amongst runners about the best gear for your feet. Some donât wear anything at all to pad their stride. But most suggest shoes of some sort and stress the importance of proper fit.
Make sure yours fit securely so thereâs no rubbing, which can cause blisters and calluses. You donât want them too tight, though, either. Allow for comfort; with room in the toe box so you can wiggle your toes, arches that line up with yours, and laces and a shoe collar that donât dig in. For best fit, take your time trying on different pairs with socks, insets and/or orthotics you plan to wear on race day.
Don brand new shoes before race day
Buy new kicks if you like, but avoid the day of your official run as their coming-out party. Break in those lightning bright shoes well before your official run, or face the possibility of run-stopping blisters.
Donât sock it to your feet
Those sneaky, white, low-cut stockings might stink after a long run, but they shouldnât suck during it. Donât wear socks that bunch while you trot, and try on different thicknesses to find the right fit. Think about race day weather, too, as those extra-thick foot hoods could quickly turn soppy wet on a summertime scamper. (Blisters again?) Consider, too, alternatives to cotton, such as acrylic socks to reduce the amount of moisture your feet slip and slide in during your run.
Pamper your puppies
A pedicure might seem too soft for some hard-core endurance athletes. But trimming nails short, filing down calluses, and massaging tired feet can go a long way to reducing pain, preventing future toenail problems and logging more pain-free, or pain-reduced, miles down the road.
Like shoe choice, runners differ on their approaches to blister prevention, but a skin lubricant or, conversely, a dry powder applied to the foot before running may help keep these annoying pain bubbles from appearing, or reduce their number during a race.
You may also tape sensitive areas ahead of time. Use isopropyl alcohol to cleanse the affected area, administer a skin-adherent spray according to directions, then moleskin â an adhesive pad, then tape. Pit stop? Poke holes in blisters when they develop to let drain. Leave tape in place to allow skin to toughen.
Race completed? Congrats! But donât stop just yet
It sound may sound cruel after a long run, but for your body and soleâs sake, you should keep moving â a little further anyway. Walk briefly while you snack and rehydrate, and make haste to remove wet socks and put on dry ones, which will cool off your feet. Then treat blisters using rubbing alcohol to disinfect, and take a load off.
Get that limp checked out
If you had to drag one of your feet across the finish line, or face another lingering ambulatory injury, set an appointment with your primary care provider, or a podiatrist, to have your foot â or by extension, ankle or leg â checked out.
Follow doctorâs orders to recoup, reload and race on.
Further questions contact Annapolis Foot and Ankle Center. Please call to schedule an appointment with either Dr. Eric S. Harmelin or Dr. John G. DeLeonibus.