I was completely unprepared for what running would do to my feet.  Sore toes, aching arches, blisters bubbling up, toenails falling off… my feet have been through it!    

This is not abnormal. Runner’s tootsies take a beating – pounding the pavement up to 800 times per mile with a force 3 to 4 times our normal body weight.  If feet are not properly protected and cared for, we open ourselves to injury.  Damage can be done not only in the feet, but up the body in our shins, knees, hips, spine and back.
Believing that a bit of prevention wards off weeks of physical therapy, here are my top must haves to keep running feet healthy… and presentable (summer is coming).
1.       Quality running shoes that are appropriate for your feet.  It is so important to get a shoe that properly fits your foot and provides the correct support, stability, motion control, cushioning, weight and venting you need for running. Make this selection easy on yourself, and go to a running specialty store that has qualified staff to analyze your foot and suggest multiple matches.  To help them help you, bring a pair of your old shoes, (so they can look at the wear pattern), and be prepared to answer questions about your running history and future plans.  Also make sure you have the time for the staff to analyze your foot/stride and try to do a quick test run of the shoe before purchasing. 
My personal recommendations:  Gtr. Baton Rouge Area Running Store: 
Varsity Sports
      Running Shoe: Brooks Adrenaline GTS    I over pronate, have a high arch and wide foot. These shoes are PERFECT for my feet.
2.       Moisture wicking socks.   Your feet will get wet from rain, snow, puddles or sweat.  Cotton socks absorb the moisture and hold it against the skin.  This can lead to blistering.  To help keep your feet dry, invest in a few pair of moisture wicking socks.  
3.       Body Glide.  For further help in blister prevention –  BodyGlide is the balm! (tee hee hee).  This product has been a foot-saver for me.  After every 10+ mile run, regardless of shoes, socks or how I’d band aide or wrap the area, I’d get a collection of ugly blisters on the side of my right foot.  A running friend, (thanks Kristina D!), recommended the Body Glide and no more blisters.
Before and after BodyGlide foot picture
4.       Massage Therapy    After weeks of logging serious miles, I’m not sure what can beat a real good foot massage.  Not the quick rubdown during your mani-pedi.  I mean a targeted sports or deep tissue treatment on your feet.  Believe me, your Achilles tendon under the hands of massage therapist is a beautiful thing.   Foot massage can help increase circulation, limit the effects and possibility of a fallen arch, prevent injuries or help you deal with an injury you have.  Regular foot massage can be a great aid to foot comfort and health.   If professional massage is not always possible, check out some of the many self massage resources online and get to work. 
My personal recommendation for Gtr. Baton Rouge area Massage Therapy:
Annointed Hands Physical Therapy 
This final tip is more of a nice-to-have than a must have:
5.       Gait Analysis.  Gait analysis is the study of foot motion when walking or running.  Traditionally, this analysis is done in medical settings, (to assist people with movement disorders), or in the competitive sports arena (to increase performance of elite athletes).  Over recent years, gait analysis is used more and more by folks like me, (non-elite, non-competitive walkers or runners), to prevent injury, and assist in footwear selection.  This service can be found in some specialty running stores, with physical therapists or sports medicine physicians or practitioners.   Before starting marathon training this year, I had my gait analyzed by a local physical therapist who is also a distance runner. The tips and information I received during this session were invaluable. 
Hurting feet can make the whole body miserable!  It’s a great example of the physical side of the body symbolism in 1 Cor 12:26 “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.” (NLT)
Take care of those tootsies and keep your  body glad.
God bless,

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