Running is one of the oldest sports known to man. It's a sport that's easy for beginners to start, and it's accessible for most people; all you need to start running is a pair of shoes and a place to run. However, running can be hard on your feet if you're not careful. Here are three tips that can help you keep your feet healthy as a runner:
1. Wear the right shoes.
You may be tempted to head out the door wearing your old tennis shoes, but running in the wrong shoes can actually harm your feet. Running shoes are specifically designed to protect your feet from the force generated by running. They tend to be more cushioned than other shoes, but you should know that all running shoes aren't made the same. Certain running shoes are made for each type of running gait, and there are shoes to correct overpronation or underpronation. There are even shoes for flat feet. Your podiatrist can examine your feet and gait then recommend the best running shoe for your body.
2. Build your running routine gradually.
When you first start running, you might want to dive in headfirst and run a marathon right away. However, it's important to take the time to build your mileage gradually. When you aren't accustomed to running, your muscles are weak and your bones aren't used to supporting the weight of your body bouncing on your feet. If you try to take on too much at once, you can cause stress fractures in your feet. There are several "couch-to-5k" running plans that offer 8-week training schedules to get sedentary people running their first 5k race.
3. Visit your podiatrist if you develop foot pain.
A little muscle soreness is expected when you start any new exercise regimen, but sharp, lasting pain is a cause for concern. If you notice pain in your feet that doesn't go away after a day of rest, make an appointment with your podiatrist. Your doctor will examine your foot, posture, and gait to determine the cause of the problem. If they think you might have suffered a fracture, they will order an x-ray to check for bone damage.
It's important to guard your foot health, especially as a runner. Although podiatrist visits and quality running shoes might cost more upfront, these things are an investment in your future. When you take care of your feet, they'll serve you well for your whole life.