Feet are essential parts of body that help transport you in various ways and consequently demand meticulous attention from you. Foot care includes a wide array of steps and measures that should be taken in order to maintain good shape and health of this valuable part of your body. Starting from good hygiene, avoiding trauma, walking steadily to selection of appropriate footwear, there are multitude of considerations that adequate foot-care demands from you.
Inappropriate footwear is an important factor in the causation of several running injuries. Use of proper running shoes can help prevent such conditions. Wear comfortable, well-fit and arch-supportive running shoes. Do not wear worn out shoes and replace your running shoes after about 450-500 mileage. Orthotic shoe inserts should be used especially by the people with flat feet, high-arched feet, unstable ankles, or other foot problems.
Select an appropriate running/walking surface that does not put an additional strain on your body. Flat ground is usually gentler on the body than hills. Track surfaces and cross country surface are considered ideal for running. Do not run on uneven or hilly surfaces. Do not run on sand. Do not run on one side of the road.
Stretching should be made an important component of the training routine particularly if a runner has stiffness in particular muscles (calf, quadriceps and hamstrings etc.). Static stretching before running should never be done. Stretching should always be done after warm up when muscles are warm or at the end of workout. However, immediately stretching after long runs should never be done. Stretching should be consistent, comfortable and relaxing but never forceful and painful. In the beginning, stretch daily and later at about three times a week.
Incorporate Strength training
Strength training is essential to enhance natural resistance to injury and it prepares your body for training by keeping it aligned. Core muscles and hip muscles need proper strengthening and the result is boosted stability. To become a strong and injury prone runner perform exercises to improve your strength and flexibility.
Core exercises, exercises for lower extremity stability and strength must be added to your running program. Work regularly on strengthening and flexibility of the ankle.
Adequate sleep and nutrition
Sleep is critical for physiological growth and repair and it is advised that the physically active individuals should sleep for about 8 to 9.5 hours each night. Sleep deprivation can compromise cardiovascular performance and can halt the runner’s natural physical abilities.
Consume proper diet and pay special attention to post-exercise food. Stay hydrated. Consume carbohydrate and protein in a ratio of 4 to 1. In cases of vigorous training sessions, include electrolytes in your diet to prevent electrolyte disturbances. Assimilate the principles of balance, quality and variety to your nutrition.
Pay attention to the Injury
Most of the severe injuries stem from a previous injury. Never walk in pain and pay proper attention to even mild forms of foot injury. Pain and swelling should be dealt with Rest, Icing, Compression and Elevation. Discontinue running for adequate periods to ensure proper healing. “Rest and Recovery” should commence immediately following a running injury. Seek prompt medical attention in case of severe injuries, limitation and disability.
Following a running injury, include recovery techniques in your life. Use equipment for recovery such as Bio-foam rollers and massage sticks etc. Ensure effective and stress-free recovery period by watching movies, spending time with family, reading books, listening to music or socializing.