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Coaches Blog

Foot Health for Better Running

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

This week will be the Team MPI Coaches Retreat. The focus is on running and it will be a full morning of an in-depth review of essential topics around being a strong runner and coaching runners.

Running foundation includes foot health. A healthy foot will contribute to better workouts and races. So I will review some of the pathologies that can affect the capacity for running and some interventions to correct them. We will review the questionnaires that can help us to evaluate our foot health.

The foot is one of the most complex yet understudied musculoskeletal systems in the body. Yet, it's crucial for its pivotal role in gait and posture.

Many essential parts of foot anatomy and physiology are critical for healthy running--nails, skin, arch, plantar fascia, and feet's strength, flexibility, and mobility.

All of them can affect the way we run in the short and long term.

Many runners have experienced nails alterations after a marathon. One of the most popular is a subungual hemorrhage in the big toe--or bleeding under the toenail. That can cause the toenail to fall off a few days later.

Athlete's foot is a common foot pathology caused by a fungus. The factors that conditioned the infection are:

  • Hot environment.

  • Extreme humidity inside the running shoes.

  • The material of the socks and the habits of cleaning your running shoes.

Unhealthy pronation and supination can indicate a lack of muscle strength in some muscles that stabilize the feet. Many athletes respond by purchasing a new pair of running shoes to mitigate or "correct" the over-pronation or supination. The better response is to try to identify and address the underlying causes.

Our feet are the first point of contact when walking and running. The energy from the impact with the ground that is traveling through the feet concentrates in that area. Soft tissues, especially the plantar fascia, absorb and transform this energy helping the muscles to produce movement. Lack of flexibility and mobility, plus an excessive accumulation of energy in the form of heat, can produce inflammation. This can lead to plantar fasciitis or nerve issues as traumatic neuromas.

Stress fractures are an example of the excessive effect of energy on bones. This situation can be accelerated by a lack of rest.

In my next blog post, I will review some of the interventions that can help us to prevent and correct these conditions.


Manuel Delgado Gaona is a USAT Level II and Youth & Junior Coach, FMTri Level II Certified Coach, an ACSM Exercise Physiologist, and a Physician specializing in Anatomic Pathology. His coaching philosophy is based on exercise efficiency. Coach Manuel can be reached at


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