Patient Education

Running & Jogging

Running and jogging are popular forms of cardiovascular exercise. Conveniently, running and jogging can be done alone or in groups, indoors or outside, any time of day, and during any season. However, proper conditioning, stretching, exercise, and footwear are important to avoid foot injuries during running or jogging due to the high impact on the feet during these activities. Injuries can be avoided by making sure to stretch the muscles, tendons, and ligaments before and after running or jogging, as well as gradually building up distances and speed over time as part of a regular routine. It is important to protect the lower legs, ankles, and feet from overstrain, and always see a podiatrist for any type of chronic ache or pain in the lower leg, ankle, or foot during or after running or jogging.

Common foot problems associated with running and jogging are shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendonitis. Athlete’s foot, blisters, corns, and calluses can also occur; good foot hygiene and care, as well as wearing clean, properly fitting socks and sneakers can be of help in these areas. Since running places a high impact on the feet, running shoes need to be cushioned to absorb the shock. The motion of running rolls the foot from the heel to the toe; the foot then bends at the ball to complete the step. Therefore, appropriate running sneakers must have flexibility at the ball of the foot, and the heel should rise when the forefoot presses down. The shoe’s heel should be low and slightly undercut; make sure the heel stays snugly in the shoe without slipping out. The middle of the shoe should be more rigid for support. Footwear made of a lightweight, breathable material is most comfortable when running.

When running or jogging, it is important to protect the feet with appropriate footwear that addresses your foot inclination and gait. Overpronation occurs when the ankles roll inward more so than usual when walking; this condition benefits from shoes that offer motion control and mid-foot support, along with less cushioning, a rigid sole, and a reinforced heel counter. Underpronation places pressure on the outside of the feet, which requires shoes that provide stability, extra shock absorption, additional cushioning at the forefoot, and reinforcement around the heel and ankle. Those classified as having a normal foot inclination can wear just about any type of shoe without issue.

To ensure a proper fit for running shoes, be sure to measure both of your feet while standing; buy a shoe size that accommodates the larger of your two feet, since most people have feet that are slightly different in size. There should be about half an inch between your toes and the front of the sneaker to allow for wiggle room. Try the sneaker on with the socks you will wear while running, and shop for running shoes in the latter part of the day, when the feet are more swollen. Test the shoes on a hard surface, not just carpeting. Remember to replace your running footwear about every 400 miles to maintain proper support, shock absorption, and fit. Consider having two pairs to rotate, which will make them last longer and allow time for them to air out and dry.

Aside from checking with a doctor or healthcare professional before starting any exercise or fitness regimen, be sure to have a podiatrist conduct a thorough foot exam to correct and/ or prevent foot problems that may worsen with exercise.

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