3 Foot Facts Runners Can't Ignore
by Chris Cabrera
Our feet are truly magical. Yet, many of us take our feet for granted or even neglect them. We count on our feet to complete both our daily tasks and when we need to really perform. This means keeping them in top shape is key, especially for runners.
Here are three facts all runners should know in order to keep their feet happy and healthy.
FACT: During a typical day, your feet bear the collective load of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
On average, your feet absorb a total force of 26,000 pounds. The total force endured by our feet is also drastically increased by factors such as wearing heels or performing high-impact exercises, like running. In fact, in an article entitled “You Walk Wrong“, New York Magazine reported that a 1997 study at McGill University in Montreal found that “the more padding a running shoe has, the more force the runner hits the ground with: In effect, we instinctively plant our feet harder to cancel out the shock absorption of the padding.”
When selecting running shoes, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Ensure your sneakers support your arch.
Make sure they are shoes intended for running with proper shock absorbency.
FACT: Our feet have over 250,000 sweat glands, which can cause sweaty feet.
One of the biggest problems for runners’ foot care is moisture. These 250,000 sweat glands can excrete as much as half a pint of moisture each day. This can easily cause blisters and calluses on the feet. However, having feet that are too dry can be just as bad, causing tearing between toes and other areas. Any one of these problems can easily be fixed with these simple remedies:
Moisturize your feet with foot cream, salve or balm to keep the skin soft and supple.
Invest in moisture-wicking socks to keep the proper balance of dry, yet moisturized feet.
Try a DIY foot powder made with arrowroot and peppermint essential oil to balance sweat.
FACT: Each foot is made up of 28 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments.
When was the last time you gave your feet a good stretch? Better yet, when is the last time you did strengthening exercises for your feet? If you are scratching your head, don’t fret. This is a commonly neglected area. By doing a few strengthening exercises you can increase their support and help protect feet and ankles (and their many bones) from injury.
Try scrunching a towel to strengthen your arches. Sit in a chair with your knees bent at 90 degrees and a towel under your feet. Then grab or scrunch the towel under your feet, hold a moment and release.
Toe splay is a popular exercise to strengthen to the toes. While sitting in a char with your feet flat on the floor, spread your toes far apart without straining. Hold this for 5 seconds and repeat for 7-10 cycles.
After a good run and strengthening feet exercises, be sure to give your feet a good soak.
These are just a few of the amazing contributions our feet have on our overall total body wellness. Take care of them, and they’ll serve you well through your next run or race.
What are your preferred ways to care for your feet? Share with us in the comments below!
Follow Chris’ journey on Instagram at @naturally.london.
Chris a certifed Aromatherapist and the mastermind behind Naturally London, a botanical-based line of foot care products. She created Naturally London in order to maintain her own foot health, having long suffered with issues such as flat feet pain, calluses and swelling. She's been an avid runner for over 15 years and is a big advocate of holistic health.