Maintaining your running routine is hard enough in winter weather, without any added problems with your feet. So, the podiatry team at Hunt Footcare has come up with six top tips for healthy running feet all winter long.
1. Dry feet are healthy feet
When you run, your feet can get wet from two sources, outside moisture and your own sweat. Always wear socks that wick moisture away from your skin, which will keep them drier and warmer too.
2. Dry your shoes after running
It’s very tempting to come in after a run and just kick your running shoes off by the nearest heater to dry by themselves. Instead, take a few minutes to wipe them clean and, if possible, remove the insoles and dry them separately. If your shoes are particularly wet, stuff the shoes with newspaper to absorb the moisture inside. Keeping your shoes dry will prevent the build-up of potentially harmful bacteria and other sources of infection that can cause fungal nail or skin lesions.
3. Wash your feet before and after running
It may seem a bit excessive, but running with clean feet in clean socks is a simple and effective way to keep your feet healthy. When you return from your run, don’t just dry your socks off, consign them to the laundry basket! Our chiopodists advise that you wash your feet in warm (not hot) water to clean off any sweat, mud, salt or grit, and gently dry with a towel, especially between the toes, to prevent athlete’s foot.
4. Choose the right road running shoes
As winter sets in and the snow gets deeper, you’ll probably find yourself doing a lot more road running. Investing in a good pair of road running shoes that are suitably for winter use will ensure your feet are sufficiently protected against the impact and shock of continuous hard terrain. Runner’s World magazine suggest you should also consider your weekly mileage, level of cushioning required, your BMI, and your level of being prone to injury, plus your foot arch type, when buying running shoes. We would add the importance of getting shoes with high grip soles for icy roads and pavements too!
5. Track down the right trail shoes
If you’re running trails all year round, make sure your shoes are waterproof, with deep treads and impact-absorbing soles to cope with snow and the rocks beneath… Our podiatrists always suggest you wear your winter running socks when you buy the shoes, to prevent an overtight fit and associated problems such as blisters, ingrown toenails and muscle pinching.
6. Get to know your motion mechanics!
How you move your foot when running can affect the efficiency of your running style and the stresses it places on your body.
In a normal running action, you push off evenly from the front of your foot. If you are a underpronator, you push off mainly using the smaller toes on the outside of your foot. If you are an overpronator, your foot tends to roll inwards and so you push off from the larger toes.
Under and over pronation is less efficient and places more strain on the foot, which is the last thing you want when running on potentially slippery surfaces.
At Hunt Footcare, our foot specialists can help diagnose the exact type of running style you have, and we often suggest custom-made orthotics to both correct and protect your feet. These devices slip into standard running shoes (but not the type with separate toes) to help realign your foot for better motion.
If you need help diagnosing motion issues or gait problems, or just want some advice on keeping your feet healthy, just call us at Hunt Footcare. You’ll find our expert team at our three feet and orthotics clinics in Stratford, Ingersoll and London Ontario, all within easy reach on Highways 401 and 402. So, whether you’re running in and around Woodstock, Tillsonburg, St. Mary’s, Strathroy, Mitchel, Alymer, St. Thomas and Brantford, you’re just a short sprint from a Hunt Footcare expert!