Updated: Apr 21, 2022
In my last blog, we reviewed some pathologies that can affect our feet and the way they can affect our capacity for running. Some can last for weeks and diminish our hard-earned physical condition.
In this blog, we will review some strategies to prevent these conditions.
Plantar and toes mycosis (best known as “athlete’s foot”) is the most common issue among runners. Heat and extreme humidity inside the running shoes, the material of the socks, and poor hygiene when it comes to cleaning the inside of running shoes contribute to this condition and are the primary causes.
Some recommendations to prevent this infection are:
Always use a clean pair of socks: Some runners use the same pair of socks for two or three run workouts. Perhaps they’re considering the total number of minutes the socks will be used--45-60 min--and conclude that it’s a small fraction of time compared to the 6-8 hours we use the socks at work or school. But those workouts usually include sweat. Always opt for a clean pair of socks for each workout and change your socks when you change your workout clothes.
Hot environment and humidity are the best environments for fungus to grow. So, we should keep our feet dry and fresh, changing shoes and socks 2 or 3 times a day if necessary. It also helps to wear open-toed shoes in warm weather to let your feet “breathe”.
The material of the socks is important, too. Wearing socks made of fabric that wicks moisture away from your skin (like acrylic, wool, or polypropylene) will help to prevent this common “athlete’s foot” infection.
Clean your running shoes frequently, or treat them with spray or powder to keep them dry and clean, will help prevent the fungus from growing inside them.
Don’t walk barefoot in places where infection can spread. Wear shower shoes or sandals in public places such as locker rooms, swimming pools, community baths, and showers.
Sharing is NOT caring! Don’t share mats, rugs, bed linens, clothes, or shoes with someone who has a fungal infection.
Wash your feet every day with soap and water. Always dry thoroughly between your toes and leave your feet exposed to the open air to cool.
Unhealthy pronation and supination can be prevented by following these steps:
A run analysis or muscular imbalance test performed by a certified coach can detect a lack of muscle strength in some muscles that stabilize the feet.
A series of exercises that prevent this condition can be prescribed by your certified coach or running specialist.
Use a neutral pair of shoes during this period and check after 8-12 weeks with your coach or running specialist if one of these conditions effectively exists.
Plantar fasciitis also can be prevented by the first two steps because technical or anatomical issues while running are the most common cause of plantar fasciitis.
It’s also important to review the monthly and weekly running volume and general nutrition status regularly. The combination of excessive running (accumulating a lot of high-impact exercise) on unhealthy bones is a leading cause of stress fractures.
A certified coach can prescribe the right running volume for your physical condition, current nutrition, and sports background to ensure you’re progressing toward your goals at a healthy rate and avoidng injuries.
In my next blog entry, I’ll review some common treatments for the conditions I mentioned above that affect our ability to run well.
Manuel Delgado Goana 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.