Runners, look after your most valuable asset – your feet!
Ahh, running. Road, trail, cross country, the Great Outdoors. Nothing beats it for clearing away the cobwebs of a week in the office or for creating headspace. It keeps us fit, lets us take time out from the toil of modern life and is an effective natural de-stressor. It also allows us to make the most of the beautiful green spaces, woodlands and trails we have in the UK.
The problem is, running outside in the weather the UK is also famed for, isn’t always as good for our feet as it is the rest of our body. Damp conditions, mud and even the extreme heat we’ve experienced during recent summers can play havoc with our feet.
Footcare Tips for Runners
Blisters, athletes foot, dry, cracked skin, sweat rashes and itchy, irritated feet can all plague outdoor runners. Which when we think of how much work they do to propel us, keep us balanced and allow us to rack up the miles, it’s a fair price to pay.
But by the same token, feet that are sore are unable to do the job they’re meant to do, leaving us on the sofa. Or, running through the pain, leading to blisters on top of blisters. And possibly even worse trouble in the ankles, shins, knees, hips or lower back as we run awkwardly to compensate for painful feet.
So we need an effective foot care regime to keep these powerhouses going…
Your Most Crucial Piece of Kit Are Your Trainers
The number one rule when it comes to running is the right pair of trainers. By this, we mean the right running shoes for your feet, the way you run and where you run. As much as it’s tempting to buy trainers based on style, there isn’t a one style fits all rule when it comes to running shoes.
The best way to find out what’s best for you is to have a gait analysis. Some high street sports shops offer free gait analysis, mainly shops that are dedicated to running. A gait analysis requires you to run or jog for a minute or two on a treadmill while your feet are being filmed. Clever software will then tell you how your feet strike the ground, or ‘pronate’, when they land – this is called your gait.
Most people’s feet naturally rotate inwards as they hit the ground, but some can rotate excessively, an ‘over pronation’, or even rotate the other way, a so-called ‘under pronation’. Different brands and styles of trainers cater to different levels of pronation. The idea is that your perfect trainers will feel like they’ve been made for your feet, rather like Cinderella and that glass slipper.
If you run on a mix of roads, trails and cross country, you’ll need different shoes for different courses.
The Importance of Clean, Dry Feet
Bacteria and fungi love warm, moist areas where they’re not going to be disturbed. Between our toes is an ideal playground for these bugs so keeping our feet dry and clean is essential for good foot health.
The problem is, with thousands of sweat glands in our feet, this is no easy feat. But there are things you can do to help. Socks made with natural, breathable materials such as cotton will help, and moisture-wicking socks are also available.
Wear waterproof shoes if you’re trail running or running in damp conditions and switch your wet socks for clean, dry ones as soon as you’re finished.
Fighting the Fungus
Athletes foot is an outdoor runners’ mortal enemy. To help prevent foot fungus, as well as cleaning and drying your feet as soon as possible, try using an antiseptic foot balm or cream after running.
Balmy Fox products are made using natural, ethically sourced products. We’ve added naturally antifungal ingredients such as Kahai oil and tea tree oil along with nourishing arnica, beeswax and sweet almond oil.
Not only will they help to keep athletes foot and other infections away, but they’ll also make light work of dry, irritated or cracked skin so that you can make light(er) work of those punishing runs. Your feet will thank you for it!