Top 5 Tips for Runners – The London Podiatrist Explains
The human foot is comprised of 26 bones, 33 joints, 112 ligaments, and a plethora of tendons, nerves, and blood vessels working in unity to facilitate motion. Everything depends on the structure and function of your feet, from the ground up. When considering engaging in weight bearing activity such as running, The London Podiatrist advises you to follow these simple steps to avoid foot pain and remain healthy.
1. See Your Podiatrist
Anyone with discomfort when running should see a Podiatrist.
From the beginner jogger to the seasoned marathon runner, no one should have to put up with foot pain when running. With an experienced podiatrist your feet and lower limbs will be examined and the source of the pain or potential problems be identified. At OsteoGait Podiatry our team uses the latest software to conduct a comprehensive assessment of your gait and running pattern via infra red video gait analysis. From this, a management plan is tailored to your individual goals and needs which often includes a prescription pair of custom built orthoses (often called orthotics or insoles), recommendation of the appropriate style of running shoes, gait education and running profiling, musculoskeletal conditioning and rehabilitation.
2. The Importance of Stretching
Prior to commencing your run it is advised you warm up and cool down, there is some research within the medical field which evidences that if muscles are properly warmed up, the strain on muscles, tendons, and joints is reduced which may reduce your chance of getting foot pain as stress and strain together lead to injury.
Stretches should be systematic and held in a fixed position without any bouncing or excess pulling.
Some effective stretching exercises include:
With your feet away from a wall at approximately two to three feet, feet flat on the ground, knees locked (extended), lean forwards with your back straight as your pelvis moves forwards. Hold for 20 seconds whilst the calf muscles stretch. Try not to bounce. Repeat three times on each limb.
Place your heel, with knee locked and leg straightened, on a chair or table. Keep the other leg straight with knee locked. Move your head forwards to the knee until you feel the muscles are being well stretched. Hold for 20 seconds whilst the hamstrings stretch. Try not to bounce. Repeat three times on each limb.
Lower back stretch
Kneeling on all fours, with your knees under hips and hands under shoulders, slowly take your bottom backwards, maintaining the natural curve in the spine. Hold for 20 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat five times.
3. Proper Footwear
The correct running shoe is determined by weight, foot structure, and running regimen. More can be read on appropriate running shoes here.
4. Structured Training
A smart way to begin a running programme is with a three day conditioning programme for 12 weeks.
Beginning with two sets of five minute jogs with a minute of fast walking in between for the first week. For the second week increase the five minutes to seven. For the third week to ten.
With our 12 week condition programme, even the most novice runners are able to run two sets of at least twenty minutes each, with a five minute walk before, between, and after by week 12.
5. Knowing Your Limits
Aches and pain associated with running and activity are a common indication that certain structures of your body have become fatigued and pushed to their limits. Rest and adaptation of your training regimen would be beneficial in order to give these structures time to heal and recover from an exercise programme. This is easily incorporated into your conditioning plan by taking your rest days between days of running and the key element in listening to your body. If you are feeling sore or any discomfort arises from your body, try to reduce your activity temporarily, as you feel better this can easily be increased.
If your pain or discomfort does not go away after a few days contact your Podiatrist for further advice on how to manage your pain and training programme.
At OsteoGait Podiatry we provide fully customised specialist orthotics for the average runner to elite Premier League footballers (more information).