Common Foot Problems For Runners

Summer time, and the running is easy

Finally, some warm weather!
It finally seems that the doldrums of winter have blown out of Manhattan and the greater New York City area.  People are emerging from their protective bubble of outerwear and rain gear to become more active in sports, running, walking, and just getting outside. With that said, a few foot health tips seem to be in order.  In order, that is, to prevent foot pain and injury and perhaps preemptively address some foot issues that may be more apparent in open shoes than in winter boots.  So, let’s talk about some of the more common conditions that present around this time of year.

A few ounces of prevention…
After a brutally cold New York City winter, and what seems like a painfully rainy spring, many of us are tempted to hit the pavement, court, asphalt, beaches, or Astroturf hard- but remember your sea legs, me maties!  Unless you have been conditioning consistently throughout the winter and spring, the feet and legs may not quite be ready for prime time yet.  Start low, and go slow.  Make sure to warm up before each exercise regimen and increase mileage and exercise time slowly to give your muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones a chance to get used to high impact exercise again.   Listen to your body, it will determine your pace and encourage you to exercise within your zone.

Are you a fungi?
Whether or not you are an athlete, you may have the feet of one.  Fungus thrive in warm, wet places, such as shoes, and the spaces in between toes, and now that the weather is getting warm, the number of patients seeking evaluation from their NYC podiatrist for evaluation of this condition rises with the mercury.  If your feet itch and the skin is peeling, cracking, or the area between the toes appears wet, you may have a fungal infection, which can be effectively treated with topical or oral antifungal medicine.  Make sure to dry the feet well before putting on socks, disinfect shoes and shower with a good antiseptic, and have other members of the household check their feet too.

Aches and pains, strains and sprains  
If you have experienced an injury to your foot or ankle, don’t just wait to see if the pain will go away, as the injury may be worse than it appears, and treatment is generally more effective when administered early.  For an acute sprain, suspected fracture, or other foot and ankle injury use RICE- rest, ice, compression, and elevation- and follow up with your New York City podiatrist as soon as possible.  Another common injury seen this time of year is a stress fracture- loosely defined as abnormal stress on normal bone.  This may be due to- you guessed it- stress, such as a sharp increase in intensity of exercise that causes the bone to crack.  This may start as mild swelling and pain in the ball or another part of the foot, and if not treated early can take a long time to heal.

Just Shoe It!
It’s barefoot time, so that means it’s apparently time to step on all sorts of cool sharp objects.  Oh, if I had a nickel for all the stuff I have picked out of people’s feet over the years. From glass, wood and staples to needles and cactus spines (be careful riding an ATV in Aruba), you wouldn’t believe the wide range of small foreign objects I’ve found dug deep into my patients’ feet.  Generally, most items can be safely extracted in the office, but, please, leave the picking to your Manhattan foot doctor- you may succeed in pulling part of that bottle out of your foot, but the rest of it can become more securely lodged inside.

Now get out of here!
We are on the cusp of Memorial Day weekend and that means summer is upon us.  Whether you are a runner, sports enthusiast, spectator, beach goer, or just lawn furniture fixture, the time has come to get out.  Take good care of your feet, and I will see you in the office.