Everything you need to know about foot care when exercising

A lot of us are currently out and about, pounding the pavements and parks making the most of summer.  There are endless reasons to run and walk outside: fitness, catching some sunshine, fresh air, beautiful scenery or training for an event.  But when we put our feet through a lot, we can end up with foot-related problems. Some of these make grim reading, but don’t worry, it’s good to be aware of them so you know what to do if you get any issues.

Athlete’s Foot

This is a fungal infection that thrives in damp sweaty places, like between your toes. You can get athlete’s foot by contact with another affected person or from contaminated surfaces e.g. changing room floors.  Symptoms include an itching, burning sensation and cracking skin.

This condition needn’t stop you exercising at all.  If you have it, investigate over-the-counter products first.  Allow your running shoes to dry out thoroughly between exercising and don’t wear them for everyday activities.  Try socks made of technical fabric that wicks sweat away from your feet to keep them dry during your runs.

Blisters

Not usually a serious issue, but they are painful and can keep you from running and walking.  Preventative measures include ensuring a good fit for your shoes, seamless moisture-wicking socks and using lubricants or plasters/zinc oxide tape to further prevent friction.

Black Toenails

These are caused by toes rubbing against the front of your shoe.  Often attributed to running in trainers that are too small, or your foot sliding forward in your shoe (especially when running downhill).  Don’t panic if you end up losing the affected nail as it will grow back.  This is a preventable condition if you wear the right sized running shoes – and this size may well be bigger than your ‘normal’ shoe size.  Help prevent your foot from sliding by lacing your shoes correctly using the last eyelets (next to your ankle).

Corns

Corns are hard, painful lumps on your feet, caused by constant rubbing and pressure from shoes that are too tight.  Prevent them by wearing properly sized shoes and specialist running socks.

Numbness

Numbness or a tingling sensation is a common complaint.  Often it’s caused is wearing running shoes that are too tight or tying your shoelaces too tight, but it can be a sign of other health conditions so it’s really important to see a doctor if it persists.

Plantar Fasciitis

This is heel pain is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia—a tough band of tissue which connects your heel bone to your toes and supports the bottom of your foot. It can be caused by a specific injury or from overuse.  It’s very common and isn’t specific to runners but you’ll need to stay off your feet while it heals.

More help

If the recommendations here do not solve your foot issues, it’s important that you discuss them with a healthcare provider to ensure you get the right treatment for you.  More information is available in this article.

We offer a podiatry service where we can give you a diagnoses and treatment to help you get back to enjoying your running or walking once again.