Role Mothers’ Rules for Strong Feet (and Injury-Free Feet)

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.


image for Maureen 3


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.

Tania (third from right) & co. during a post-marathon soak


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.

Penny Ball Instragram Shape
Penny and her fave 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.

6 responses to “Role Mothers’ Rules for Strong Feet (and Injury-Free Feet)

  1. Don’t neglect the trigger points in your calves! DH had what he though was PFa few years ago … Turned out to be be knots that were resolved within a week or two!

  2. For races, Injini toe socks and TrailToes Lube! Balega socks for most regular runs, Plus, NanoX roller a few times a week. An absolute for ANY and ALL runs: a gel heel sleeve for my left foot to go over my Haglund’s deformity.

  3. Yikes! This was the article for me. I teach and run so ended up with a stress fracture and metatarsalgia this fall/winter. After wearing the boot, I have been getting weekly stim treatment and laser treatments. I have new running shoes and work shoes that are stable with cushion but not much flexibility. I tape my 2nd toe down as it wants to “toe up” and hurts the ball of my foot. I have been rolling my feet twice a day and doing toe exercises as well. Cushioned socks and orthotics help too and I am finally feeling more normal. It’s amazing how much pain can come from a foot injury! I think I’ll add the spa treatment to my list.

  4. I’m only able to run a or three days a week after decades of run. Yesterday doing 9 miles for a half in April, all I could think about after mile 7 was how my feet hurt. I know this is do to life long wear but also they just aren’t used to the pounding because I don’t run as much. Compression socks help. I do need to take better care stretching the tendons on top and on bottom before and after.

  5. Love the pix of Penny and her ball!
    I roll my feet every day, w/ both a foam roller and a knobby ball. I use Body Glide or Honey Stick every day on my feet, even when I am not running. I am very particular about my sox, Swiftwick, Pro Compression or Wright Socks double layer. And sometimes I use KT tape.

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