Many of us will no doubt take to pounding the pavements in an attempt to get Olympics fit. But remember, when you run your body weight is multiplied by up to seven times. And your feet bear the brunt of this stress at every stride. In fact, the demands made on your feet and lower limbs when you run can lead to a range of injuries, including sprained ankles, torn ligament, shin pain, knee pain and joint and muscle problems.
Wearing good supportive footwear is essential if you want to avoid any long-term problems and injuries, not just with your feet and lower limb but the rest of your body too. Here’s what College of Podiatry experts recommend whether you’re running, walking or dancing:
Choose the correct footwear for the sport.
If running is your thing, buy a running shoe that has adequate cushioning in the midsole and a flared heel for stability. However, if you’re playing squash or tennis, buy shoes designed for racquet sports that give better stability when moving and stopping suddenly around the court (a running shoe wouldn’t be suitable for this due to lack of lateral support).
Follow the 1cm rule.
When shopping for the perfect sportswear make sure you can wiggle your toes a little by leaving 1cm of room from the top of your longest toe to the end of your shoe. Try on both shoes and walk around the shop to make sure they don’t pinch or rub. Trying shoes on in the afternoon can help too, as your feet can swell throughout the day.
Always wear socks.
Reduce the risk of fungal infection and blisters by wearing socks. The best running socks are ones that are made from synthetic materials that are designed to keep sweat away from the skin. These socks don’t absorb moisture like 100-percent cotton socks, which means they keep your feet drier.
Warm up and stretch.
Before starting any form of exercise, stretch and warm up your entire body and then stretch and cool down at the end of every session.
Prepare your body
Include strength and flexibility exercises into your regime to make sure your body is in the best possible condition for exercise and sport. Also think about your diet, as a healthy body is linked to healthy eating.
Get expert advice If you have ongoing foot pain that doesn’t go away do get expert advice. Also remember to speak to your GP if you’re starting a new exercise regime, especially if you have a medical condition or you haven’t been very active for a while.