Whether you wear heels solely on special occasions or rock them every day, here are some stretches to offer your tootsies a little relief from soreness or pain.
Wearing flip-flops and walking barefoot may be one of your favorite things about Summer weather, but unfortunately it can damage the skin on your feet. The constant exposure to air dries out your delicate skin, creating calluses. The pressure of pounding your feet on the ground when you walk or run exasperates the issue and causes heel fissures, or cracks in the skin. If you continue to walk or run, the cracks can split open and become deeper, which can lead to bleeding and infection. Aside from not looking the prettiest, they are also really painful.
Here's what you can do to heal your cracked heels and prevent fissures in the first place.
If you have spent any time in the saddle, and I am not talking horseback riding here, then you know biking can come with some specific discomforts. From your feet to your neck, here are simple on-the-bike tips to alleviate some of the aches and pains common to long rides. Let's start at the bottom and work our way up.
- Feet: If the bottom of your feet go numb, focus on the upstroke. Pulling up on the pedal takes pressure off the soles of your feet. Obviously, this technique only works if you have a pedal/cleat system or cages on your pedals. Also, a little toe wiggling can go a long way.
- Bum: Sometimes the padded chamois just isn't enough! For instant relief, stand up on your pedals and take a "booty" break. This takes pressure off of your sitz bones and focuses the work on different leg muscles — bonus. Also, play around with how you sit: roll forward of your sitz bones and flatten out your back, or try rounding your spine to roll behind those bony protuberances on the bottom of your pelvis. Don't just sit in one place.
Keep reading for more midride tips.
I just started running and was all fired up to get into it this Summer, but painful blisters have quickly extinguished my excitement. A close friend and runner said it comes with the territory since I'm new to running. Are blisters something I have to put up with or is there something I can do to prevent them?
— Blister Sister
First of all, I think it is great that you have been bitten by the running bug. It's the perfect way to work your heart and tone your legs and booty. It stinks that blisters have dampened your enthusiasm, and no, just because you're new to running, that doesn't mean you have to put up with sore tootsies. To learn how to prevent blisters when running, read more
Everyone has suffered from sore or painful feet. Whether you've been standing all day working, or you're feeling it after a long run, here are some ways to get relief.
- Soak your feet. Fill a big bucket with hot water, sit in your favorite chair, relax with a good book, and let the heat ease your pain.
- Massage. Rub your feet, shins, and calves with moisturizing lotion. This will bring nourishing blood to the achy area, which helps ease pain. Or place a tennis ball under the arch of your foot. Move your foot up and down as you apply gentle downward pressure. As the ball rolls, it'll massage your feet for you.
- Use arnica. It's a homeopathic remedy that can greatly reduce pain and inflammation. It comes in a topical cream, so rub it on your feet to relieve soreness and discomfort.
- Stretch your feet. Do this foot stretch to stretch the soles of your feet, and do Kneeling Shin Stretch or Sleeping Hero to stretch the tops.
- Ice and elevate them. If your feet are swollen or in pain, place a bag of ice or cold pack in a big sock and then slip the sock on. Ice for no more than 20 minutes.
If you have any other remedies for sore or achy feet, please share them below.
Quite simply put, plantar fasciitis is an enemy of fitness. Once this problem truly starts, you need to stay away from high impact activities and that can be a serious bummer.
It is an over use injury affecting the fascia, a type of connective tissue, on the bottom of your foot. Plantar fascia is a thick, fibrous band that runs from your heel bone to the base of your toes. When the fascia is placed under too much stress, it stretches too far and tears. This causes inflammation of the fascia as well as the tissues that surround it. The tears can become scarred as they heal, creating even less flexible tissue which makes the problem even worse. Runners are susceptible to this condition since running can create tight calves. If your calves get tight, as they can pull on the fascia, increasing the tension on the fascia, decreasing its flexibility and leading to tears. Yep, this is just one more important reason to stretch. Over training can lead to this condition too, and that is why rest days are vital, as well as gradually increasing the lengths and intensities of your runs.
The condition is more common in women, people who are overweight, and folks with wither flat feet or high arches. Over pronation, placing too much weight on the inside of the foot, can lead to plantar fasciitis when combined with worn out, unsupportive sneakers.
The major symptom of this condition is pain at the base of your heel, especially during your first few footsteps in the morning, or at the beginning of a run. Treatments include resting (this means not running for a while, which can be a real pain), ice massage (use a Cryocup), and stretching your calves! It is important to stretch the deep calf muscle called the soleus.
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.
There's more, so read more