ZocdocAnswers"As a runner, what steps should I be taking to ensure the health of my feet and ankles before a big run?"

Question

"As a runner, what steps should I be taking to ensure the health of my feet and ankles before a big run?"

I have been running for about six months now and plan to run a half-marathon in two months. I have noticed calluses popping up on my feet and occasionally when I take my running shoes off the toes feel slightly numb. Is there anything I should be doing before, during or after a run that will keep the wear and tear on my feet to a minimum? I would hate to have an injury before my half-marathon.

Answer

First of all, congratulations on starting to run regularly! This is an excellent way to get in shape and to preserve your heart's health. Your doctor or athletic trainer will be able to provide you with the best personalized advice. The main rule when running is that if something starts hurting significantly, you should stop running until you can figure out why. Often this means that if you develop a new persistent pain in the foot, you should go to see your regular doctor or a podiatrist, who will be able to help you figure out what is going on. In addition to this, it makes sense to wear high-quality shoes that provide good arch support and that are neither too lose nor too tight. A professional athletic shoe store can help you select and properly size your running shoes. Shoes that are too loose could lead to excess chafing, whereas shoes that are too tight might cause pressure points or numbness and tingling in the feet, like what you have described in your question. The other preventative measure that is helpful is to avoid ramping up your running intensity or distances too rapidly. Again, your doctor or an athletic trainer could provide some more specific advice on what is an appropriate training intensity for your fitness level.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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