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Spring in Texas is a runner’s dream. The weather is still bearable, and opportunities to jog, run, or sprint abound. And May 2022 is packed with running events, such as the Fiesta de Mayo on May 22 and the Memorial Day Marathon and Half on May 30, to name just two.
Running offers a great way to stay in shape and clear your mind, but it also poses some very real risks for foot problems and ankle pain. Making sure your feet are healthy and ready for a big run can improve your performance and help prevent injuries.
As with any sport, running takes diligent training to ready your feet and the rest of your body for the pavement pounding of a big event. You already know that you need to build up your endurance, and you’ve likely been working on that for months. But have you paid attention to your feet?
It’s easy to focus on the big muscle groups like your quads and glutes. But your feet are the first point of contact with the ground, and each stride places 2-3 times your body weight on a single foot when you run.
Strong foot muscles can help you avoid inflammation, plantar fasciitis, rolled ankles, and stress fractures. But it takes more than daily running to build up those muscles. Dr. Cerniglia recommends specific feet-strengthening exercises that increase your muscles’ elasticity, improve reaction time, and prevent your arches from buckling under your weight.
Running calls for specific shoes that protect you from injury and enhance your performance. Studies show that the most important aspects of proper running shoes are:
However, even if you have the perfect pair of shoes, the wrong pair of socks can cancel the benefit. Technical socks give you an advantage by wicking away moisture, conforming to the natural contours of your feet, and preventing blisters by reducing friction and doing away with seams.
The skin on the bottom of your feet takes a beating during a big run, so the thicker it is, the better. You can thicken that skin by tanning it — not sun tanning, but rather the tanning process used to treat leather. This toughens and reinforces your feet.
Foot tanning is simple and safe, and all you need is a lemon or a little rubbing alcohol. Every morning, rub the cut side of half of a lemon on the soles of your feet and let them air dry. Every evening, moisturize your feet. It takes about three weeks to increase the cells in your epidermis and complete the transformation, but when you’re done, the skin on your feet will be hardened, yet flexible, and ready to run.
Even the best running shoes can use a little reinforcement. Dr. Cerniglia evaluates your feet and your gait to determine the mechanics of your stride. He then designs tailor-made insoles called orthotics that slide into your shoes and distribute your weight more evenly according to your unique biomechanics. Our custom orthotics absorb shock and reduce friction so you can focus on the finish line.
Consulting with Dr. Cerniglia ahead of your race ensures that your feet are healthy and ready for the event. If you’re experiencing pain from corns, blisters, or bunions, it’s best to make an appointment to see him well before your event date. Ignoring the early signs of foot and ankle problems may eliminate you from the competition before it begins.
Whether you need routine foot care or you want to learn more about how to prep your feet for a big run, schedule a consultation at Ankle and Foot Institute of Texas by calling us or requesting an appointment online today.