by Heba Hosny in Health + Nutrition

Taking care of your feet: Questions from our readers

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There is no doubt that feet-care is essential for every runner. In this article we will answer some of your questions and shed some light on your most burning issues in that regard. Enjoy!

Why do I keep getting blisters on my feet when I run long distances?

If you are a forefoot striker or you tend to over pronate, your chances could be higher of having blisters especially after long runs. Friction is the one and only cause of blisters but it varies from one runner to the other. Some of the common causes of friction include:

  • Friction between your shoes and your feet
  • Friction resulting from your toes rubbing against each other
  • Friction between your socks and your feet

Tips to prevent/cure blisters

  • Get the right shoe size. Here is an easy tip: there should be a thumb-width space between your toes and the shoe front when you are standing up
  • There are so many downfalls to wearing a cotton sock because cotton tend to retain moist which often causes blistering and skin breakdown. In addition, cotton fibers swell when the cotton is wet resulting in friction. So, saying goodbye to cotton socks is a wise move and fortunately the alternative is available: use polyester-based socks that are often referred to as “technical socks”
  • Your technical socks should fit smoothly without any extra fabric at the heels or toes. Too large socks can easily result in friction. That’s why; you need socks that fit just right, not too loose and not too tight
  • If taking the above steps was not reliable enough to eliminate your blisters, consider wearing a two-layer sock. The advantage of wearing this sock is that all the friction will happen between the sock layers, leaving your feet friction free
  • Reduce the amount of your feet movement by Lacing your shoes with heel locks. This way, your heels will be pulled back against the heel counters of your shoes
  • Since you know the blister-prone spots on your feet, take a preventive action and apply either petroleum jelly ,Body Glide lubricant, or Vaseline before running
  • Once you have blisters or skin breakdown, protect your skin using moleskin or BandAid pads

Why do I get foot cramps when I run?

Foot cramps are very common for both seasoned runners as well as the average Joe and they do increase with aging. Studies have shown that people who are 65+ are more prone to frequent cramps.

Top foot cramps reasons

Popular reasons for foot cramps may be: dehydration, poor blood circulation, salt deficiency, alcohol/tobacco/sugar/caffeine consumption, malnutrition, abnormal mineral/hormonal levels, chemical sensitivity, pinched nerves, environmental toxicity besides lack of enough blood flow to the legs.

Recommended foot cramps treatments

The best thing to do when your muscle is cramped is to stretch it immediately. Stretching is by far the best preventive/treatment action you can take to minimize and hopefully eliminate cramps. It is a great habit to stretch your muscles right before going to bed especially if you experience night cramps.

You may use others help to stretch the cramped muscle. Alternatively, sit with your legs stretched outwards and use a towel to pull your toes inwards, making sure to relax your legs. You may also lean forward to stretch your calf muscles. Wall pushups are also helpful in stretching your calf muscles. Applying ice on the affected muscle is very helpful as well.

In addition, studies have shown that increasing your calcium/magnesium consumption can substantially reduce foot cramps. Apricots, soybeans, nuts as well as whole grains are rich in magnesium.
Potassium is another recommended dietary intake for food cramps reduction. It is found in potatoes, bananas, oranges to name just a few of your potassium-rich food options. Regular consumption of some
vitamins including vitamin A, E, and B-complex are also advisable in that regard.

Other preventive measures include, avoiding high heels, sleeping with your legs bent, propping up your feet by placing them on a pillow as well as soaking your legs in warm water or using a heating pad before going to bed. As a runner, you also need to ensure that you get enough warmups and cooldowns and stretch regularly. If you just stick with this last advise, your food cramping days will be over in no time.

Do you have any recommendations for running with Tailor’s bunions? Due to the toe misalignment I need to wrap feet with tape.

Based on our research, there are no recommendations for running with tailor’s bunion. On the contrary, the recommendation is to minimize running alongside any strenuous physical activity if you suffer from tailor’s bunion until you treat it.

Sometimes buying a new pair of shoes is all you need. Alternatively, you may consider padding or cutting out a hole in your shoe. For temporary pain relief, inject corticosteroid on the painful spot.

Having said that, your only guaranteed way to permanent cure from tailor’s bunion is surgery which involves removing the problematic bony area. In some cases osteotomy could be sufficient.

That’s it! We hope we managed to answer some of your questions. Please feel free to send us any running related questions and we promise to answer them promptly. Happy running!

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