According to the website Cool Running your feet pound the ground some 800 times when running just a mile. That's a lot of pounding!!! So you want to be sure to take care of your feet, especially if you are new to running. Rookies tend to experience more shin splints, blisters ankle sprains and other injuries than veteran runners (but those veterans had to start somewhere, right?).
Here are some ways to help you protect your feet and ankles that will hopefully help you stay injury and blister free.
- Warm up: A few Sun Salutations will get your blood flowing before a run. Or try walking briskly or running slowly for 5 minutes, followed by gently stretching your leg muscles.
- Buy good running shoes: Look for good shock absorption and construction that will provide stability and cushioning to the foot. Buy shoes at the end of the day when the foot is the largest. Here's a list of running sneaks that podiatrists recommend.
- Keep your feet friction free: To avoid blisters, make sure your shoes fit well and try Thorlo's "blister-proof" socks. Give these socks a try, and in general keep in mind that nylon socks tend to be more abrasive than cotton. Try lubricating the friction prone spots with vaseline, and if that just sounds too icky try powder.
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- Strengthen your ankles: Weak ankles make you unstable on uneven surfaces, like trail running, and more prone to sprains. Try writing the ankle alphabet daily 3 to 5 times. This movement will strengthen your ankle joint through a wide range of motion.
- Stretch your calves: Tight calves can really disrupt the foot's ability to function properly. Make sure to stretch your calves out after you run. I love holding the downward facing dog pose for 10 slow breaths to get this done.
- Listen to your body: If you are experiencing pain in your feet, ankles or knees, slow it down a bit or take a couple of days off. Remember, ice can be your friend in these occasions and can help decrease inflammation and promote healing.
Hope these tips help keep your feet happy, because if your feet aren't happy you're going to be miserable.