As a runner or hiker, it is very important to take good care of your feet. Our feet are under a significant amount of stress and load with running or hiking, literally with every step/stride. Besides the knee, foot injuries are second most prevalent in runners. So why do most runners and hikers not pay closer attention to their feet?
Here Are 5 Tips To Properly Care For Your Feet
1. First and foremost, invest in a properly fitted pair of shoes. This starts with going to a local running store or an outfitter like REI to be properly fit. Feet have different needs based on your foot type. Finding someone who can properly fit you with the right shoe with adequate arch support and cushioning is imperative. If your shoe does not fit properly, this can lead to problems not only at the foot but at the knee, hip, or lower back. Always remember that running shoes break down over time so you will want to replace them every 350-500 miles or every 6 months, whichever comes first.
2. Good snug-fitting socks are also critical to help your feet breathe, whisk up moisture, and reduce friction to help prevent blisters. Again, there are lots of brands, styles and materials so find what works and feels best for you.
3. Strengthen your feet. There are several exercises in the above video that you can perform daily to keep your feet strong so they can endure the constant pounding. Some good exercises are towel curls, ankle circles, calf raises, and heel drops off a step for 30 reps.
4. Massage your feet. Yes, you can get a foot massage or reflexology, but you can also use a golf or tennis ball or a wooden dowel to help roll the bottoms of your feet, 2-3 minutes per foot.
5. Cool down your feet. In the AZ heat, your feet will get hot, sweaty, and even swollen after a run or a hike. Cool them down by placing your feet in an ice water bucket, use an ice pack, or putting them in the pool for 5-10 minutes.
The take-home message is to make sure we give our feet the attention they need and deserve. If we take care of our feet, then this can help keep injuries away and allow you to stay on the trails and roads doing what you love.
Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy provides quality, hands-on physical therapy to patients across the Valley. Our highly trained staff has expertise in a vast number of areas and they can help you with any pain or injury you might be suffering from. If you’re in pain, schedule a free assessment today.