Running weekend warriors – how to protect your feet in a race

6 Jun

Check yourself, weekend warriors – running a race when even a little out of shape increases the chance of injury to your feet.

Relays, Marathons, Half-Marathons, 5K’s, 6K’s, Fun Runs, Fun Walks, Triathlons, Sprint races…. There are dozens of racing events here in the Lehigh Valley every year for runners of every endurance level.

running marathon

Unfortunately, a lot of competitors are weekend warriors who’ll be surprised how out of shape working a nine to five can make them. Where once ran a muscle toned body, able to withstand miles of abuse, now runs a bottom heavy muffin eater whose legs cry out in pain after a quarter mile.

There are so many way to injure your feet and ankles when you jump back into a race and haven’t trained on a regular basis. Your head tells you you can do it, but your body isn’t listening to your head anymore.

What’s the best way to avoid running injuries?

Assuming you’re in decent shape and not running the race cold (like if you haven’t worked out in months), the most important consideration is having properly fitting running shoes. I can’t tell you what a difference great shoes make in keeping you vertical and pain free. A properly fit shoe helps you plant your foot better, avoiding twists and sprains, and will absorb most of the shock from the trail or road, which means less muscle fatigue. A proper shoe will also help you avoid Runner’s Toe, usually a minor injury, but one which is incredibly painful and will hamper your performance.

View a video of Doctor Teichman and Chris Schmidt from The Finish Line Running Store discussing how to choose the best running shoe for your foot

What is Runner’s Toe?

When a running shoe is too tight, repeated downward pressure on the nail of the big toe damages the toe and nail. Blood forms under the nail and appears to blacken. It’s painful, but when the blood clears in a few days, the discoloration will disappear as well. The same thing can happen when your shoes are too loose, due to the up and down motion of your foot inside the shoe.

Sometimes Runners Toe is so severe that a podiatrist must drill a hole through the nail to release the hematoma, or possibly remove the nail entirely.

What are some other running injuries to watch out for?

Blisters and athlete’s foot are the most common problems and here’s where a good pair of running socks are useful. Socks made especially for runners are the most efficient at wicking moisture away from the feet to keep them dry and at cushioning the foot to avoid blistering.

That’s not to say athlete’s foot can’t develop by another method – like running through water or training in wet or damp shoes. Like any fungus, athlete’s foot develops in moist, dark environments. Keep your feet dry and the chances of getting it are reduced. Over the counter foot powders will help during training and throughout the race.

If you develop any problems with your feet or ankles while training, or sustain an injury during the race, call the podiatrists at PA Foot and Ankle Associates for a thorough evaluation as soon as possible. Delaying treatment can lead to many complications.

Check out all of the upcoming Pennsylvania races at Runners World


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