Top Five Foot Problems for Runners


  1. Blisters

    1. Causes: Rubbing and irritation of the skin, usually caused by running shoes that don’t fit properly or sweaty feet.
    2. Remedies: It’s best to leave them alone, but if it’s interfering with your running, you can drain the fluid in the blister by sterilizing a razor blade and using an antiseptic like alcohol to clean the surface area of the skin before making a small slit in the blister. Let the blister dry out and cover with gauze or a Band-Aid.
    3. Prevention: Make sure your shoes fit properly – it helps to go up ½ to 1 size larger than your normal shoes. Use a lubricant like Vaseline to cut down on the friction that causes blisters.
  2. Black Toenails (“runners foot”)

    1. Causes: Friction and pressure on the toenail, often resulting from downhill and long distance running due to the top of the shoe banging against the nail or the toe slamming into the end of the shoe. The blackness is caused by bleeding under the nail.
    2. Remedies: Often the black toenail will eventually fall off and regenerate on its own, but you should seek medical attention if the pain is significant or the nail is not regenerating. Prevent infection and reduce swelling with Foot Sauce in a warm foot bath.
    3. Prevention: Wear properly fitting shoes, keep toenails trimmed, clean and dry.
  3. Plantar Fasciitis (arch pain)

    1. Causes: Frequent stress on the bottom of the foot. Excessive pronation and overtraining often result in plantar fasciitis, as well as overused shoes.
    2. Remedies: Reduce pain and inflammation with ice and massage (roll a golf ball under your foot). Orthotics, such as insoles can help distribute weight more evenly, foot taping and cortisone injections can decrease symptoms.
    3. Prevention: Run on soft surfaces, keep mileage increases to less than 10% per week, wear shoes with good arch support.
  4. Smelly Feet

    1. Causes: It’s normal for the body to perspire in order to regulate heat in the body, but additional factors that cause sweaty feet are stress, heat build-up in the running shoe, type of socks and hot weather.
    2. Remedies: Change socks daily or twice daily. Wear open toed shoes after running to air out the feet. Use Fly Feet to clean and neutralize foot odor.
    3. Prevention: Keep feet dry and fresh with talcum powder or baby powder. Wear footwear with adequate circulation and ventilation. 
  5. Calluses

    1. Causes: Repetitive friction or abnormalities of the bone structure create areas of thickened skin. They are a natural protective reaction of the skin over high pressure sites.
    2. Remedies: Reduce the size of calluses by exfoliating with a pumice stone or using a moisturizing agent like Runner Butter. Special shoe pads can help avoid putting pressure on calluses.
    3. Prevention: Select running shoes that give your feet plenty of room and use socks with a polyester-cotton blend to help stabilize the feet. 

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