An average marathon takes approximately 33,000 steps to complete. Though much of the sport relies on core, quad and glute strength, it’s our feet that take the worst beating. Sometimes the aching and pounding can persist more than just a few hours. Life after a marathon goes on, but spending extra time on foot care can help heal runners’ feet faster.
Our podiatrists have put together the best tips for post-training foot care so you can make the most of your running:
1. Stretch it Out
At AA Podiatry, we show patients how to do a number of pain-relieving stretches at home.
The type of stretch you do will depend on where you’re experiencing pain. The towel stretch is one of our favourites for peroneal tendon pain. Stretching the flexor hallucis longus (FHL) tendon can have a big impact on how you feel from your big toe up through your leg.
For plantar fasciitis and arch pain, we may recommend wall calf stretches. For ankle pain, try ankle circles. Don’t forget to stretch your toes with towel and marble pick-ups. These simple exercises can work out the 33 joints and over 100 tendons, muscles and ligaments in each foot.
2. Massage with Ice
Ice is particularly recommended if you’re experiencing sharp, stabbing heel pains or tightness in your plantar fascia arch. Ice reduces inflammation and pain considerably. One of the easiest ways to ice this area is buy rolling your foot over a frozen water bottle.
You can also freeze a paper cup of water and apply ice directly to the painful area, covering small circles for 1-2 minutes. You can ice as often as 20 minutes every hour.
3. Elevate your legs
You’ve probably heard that elevation work wonders for swelling. During the marathon, your elevated heart rate increases the flow of blood, as well as lymph and extracellular fluid to the feet and legs. The calf muscles will pump much of this fluid back up to the heart, but it can be difficult to keep up. Compression garments help during the race. Afterward, you can lay flat on your back, putting your legs straight up to stretch, decrease swelling and return blood to the heart. Your hamstrings will thank you later!
4. Get Rolling!
When seeing a foot masseuse regularly isn’t feasible, you can give yourself a foot massage with a lacrosse, golf, or tennis ball. Stretching the soft tissue in the arch of the foot helps ease softness and inflammation.
Epsom salt is a magnesium sulphate compound that has been used for hundreds of years to remove toxins from the body. Epsom salts are recommended to treat inflammation, foot odour and pain. Increasing magnesium in the body is associated with improved muscle function and reduced inflammation. Full your bath (or a basin) with enough warm water to cover your feet. Add Half a cup of Epsom salt and soak for 30-60 minutes. You may repeat twice a week.
Some people like to add a few drops of lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus essential oil for aromatherapy. After soaking and drying your feet, add foot moisturiser for optimal health. Note: this treatment is not recommended if you have dry, cracked or irritated skin.
AA Podiatrists offer advanced foot care for runners
As you recover, you may find it comfortable to wear compression sock and anatomic slippers or shoes. These tips and tricks may not work for everyone – particularly if you have an underlying structural cause for your discomfort. At AA Podiatry, we have all the equipment to diagnose and treat any condition pertaining to the foot and ankle. Arrange a consultation with an AA Podiatrist.