Cleveland Clinic News Service - May 31, 2017
CLEVELAND - As race season kicks into gear, many folks might be tempted to get out and hit the pavement.
Whether a seasoned marathoner or a first time racer, Joy Rowland, D.P.M., of Cleveland Clinic, said it’s essential to have the right shoe to avoid foot injuries.
“The shoes that you wear are going to be really important to give you that stable base,” said Dr. Rowland. “They help you prevent injury, they help you get better times, of course, and you want to be able to go longer and a farther distance and be more efficient when you run.”
She said the first step to getting the right pair is to know what time of day is the best to get fitted.
“When you run, your feet will swell because of increased blood flow to the feet,” said Dr. Rowland. “It’s important to go towards the end of the day, when you’re shopping for an athletic shoe, or go right after a workout, because your feet are swollen at that point in time.”
Dr. Rowland said there are a few key things that runners need to know before getting fitted.
The first is foot type – whether the feet pronate or not.
To find out, she recommends stepping on a piece of paper with a wet foot to see what type of print is left behind. A print that shows a whole flat-foot is a sign of overly pronating feet.
Next, Dr. Rowland said runners will need to know whether they will be running on pavement or on a track, as the sole of the shoe will vary depending on what type of surface they’re running on and that a stable base is necessary to avoid injuries.
She said the best way to avoid a foot injury is frequent training and wearing the right shoes, as well as the right socks.
“You want to make sure that you have a moisture-wicking sock, so that you don’t have an opportunity for that moisture to build up and cause rubbing,” said Dr. Rowland. “You don’t want to develop athlete’s foot-type of infections because there’s too much moisture.”
However, sometimes, no matter how trained a runner is, foot injuries can happen.
Dr. Rowland said the most common is metatarsal pain – which can likely result from a stress fracture, or ligament pain on the bottom of the foot.
“We see plantar fasciitis - or an injury to the bottom of the foot – the broad ligament that covers the bottom of the foot,” said Dr. Rowland “So if you are experiencing heel pain or arch pain, that’s something you want to start looking into.”
Dr. Rowland said another way to ward off foot injuries is to replace running shoes every 300-500 miles.
Likewise, she said if feet start to ache during or after a run, and they didn’t before, it’s time to start shopping for a new pair.
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