Happy feet are strong feet. Strong feet are what propel you stride after stride, mile after mile. While each runners' history and preferences vary, our Role Mothers are offering up their foot-care regimens to share what works and what doesn't. Pick up some insider tips and tricks to work into your own pre- and post-running routine.
Nicole, the regular runner:
Soon after I started running seriously and regularly, I got hit with plantar fasciitis. Ugh. So I make a real effort to take care of my feet. This means making sure I always have the right support and insoles when it comes to my running shoes. I also take it easy with plyometrics. I've noticed that the jumping (j-jacks, jump rope) can stir up PF for me. When PF does act up—which hasn't been often (knock wood)—I take extra time to stretch and roll out the foot.
I'm a shoes gal, but thankfully don't have to wear crazy high heels most days—this definitely spares my feet. I also treat myself to spa pedicures and reflexology massages as often as I can.
Tania, the sputterer:
The best combination I've found for blister-free running is the proper shoes (I love Saucony Hurricanes) and Body Glide and Vaseline slathered all over my feet. I mean slathered. It may sound a little gross, but it hasn't failed me since. Oh and the proper socks! I'm a Balega girl, but everybody has their own preference. I did not get one single blister during my marathon, something I was extremely grateful for.
Also, after a long run, I soak my feet in Epsom salt. And if you're lucky enough to run a race with your BRFs, then you can have an Epsom salt bathtub soak party. It's good for the soul and the feet to share race stories and memories.
Pam, the grandmother:
My third and fourth toes on my right foot have a little deformity that involves the metatarsals and if I step just right or the toebox of my shoes is too small I can be in pain for a few days. But luckily a few years ago I discovered some silicone toe separaters that usually relieve the pain for the most part. I also switch out the insoles of my Sauconys for some sort of athletic insole. I use Sofsole most of the time but have also used Dr. Scholl's. And I wear socks that have some cushion. I started wearing Balega Enduro socks at the beginning of the year and really like them, I also like the C9 socks from Target. My feet seem to like more cushion the older I get.
Ashley, the beginner:
My secret weapon is.... a tennis ball. I had just finished running on the treadmill and one of our sweet dogs, Penny, wanted to play fetch. Sitting on the bench, I kicked my shoes off and used my feet to stop the ball and kick it across the basement for her. In that moment, it dawned on me: "That feels pretty good on my aching feet." Now after a run, I have a date with my foam roller and a tennis ball.
Melissa, the marathoner:
One major thing that I believe is keeping my feet injury free is sock choice. For years I bought whatever the cheapest athletic sock was in stock, until one day I splurged on a high-end, more quality brand. What a difference! Socks can be just as important as shoes when it comes to keeping you injury free AND comfortable, so don’t cheap out. Your toes will thank you!
Sarah, the triathlete:
You would think that after decades of running, I would have nailed down a foot-care regimen to eliminate some of the aforementioned issues. Truth is, my boats are pretty darn neglected. Aside from the obvious stuff, like buying shoes in the right size and resting any injuries, I really don't pay too much special attention to my feet, but I had a pair of custom insoles molded from my feet at a local running shop. They provide extra support and a boost to my super-low arches.
I'm also susceptible to sore, tight arches post-run and swim, so I always have a foot roller like the TriggerPoint Nano X nearby to work out any aches and keep everything loose. Or I just grab a tennis ball or one of my kid's rubber balls, which'll do in a pinch.
What do you do to keep your feet happy, healthy, and strong? Tells us below.