As many runners make their way back into work, still aching from the 26 mile stint, the hard work to recovery has just begun.
There are many home remedies which can cure the mild effects of long distance running but not everyone gets away with blisters and black toenails. First time runners often experience marathon feet or marathon foot, where the soft tissue becomes inflamed and walking can seem inconceivable.
In most cases, an ache is manageable, however if you suffer pain, especially when the pain is sharp and intense, it could well be something a little more sinister.
Let’s take a look at how to care for your feet after long distance running and some well known marathon injuries.
The best way to start off your foot” recovery is by plunging them into an ice foot bath! It’s not going to be pleasant at first but within a few minutes they will thank you for it.
Try this for at least 15 minutes to bring down any swelling by constricting the blood vessels, it can also help reduce tissue breakdown.
You should continue this treatment each day until your feet stop hurting!
Other home remedies consist of anti-inflammatory medications and a well deserved foot rub.
Try and avoid bursting any blisters. You can even leave any corns or calluses alone for now.
If you have black toenails, try not to worry, these will either fall out or grow out. Never force the nail out as you can cause long term damage.
Our top tip is to use tape on nails that are loose to stop them from catching! It also helps prevent unwanted fluff getting in and causing infections. Remember to use a hairdryer to heat the tape before removing it!
What if it’s more serious?
You may be suffering from something more serious, such as a stress fracture or plantar fasciitis, if you are experiencing sharp pains or unexplained sore pressure points. Here are some tell-tale signs you may need further help –
Sharp, stabbing pain at the bottom of your foot?
Could be a sign of Plantar Fasciitis, an inflammation of the fibrous tissue (plantar fascia) which runs lengthwise across the bottom of the foot.
It can occur at anytime but you are more prone to it when running long distances.
If you are continuing to train without rest then consider extra support for the affected foot and pop a tennis or golf ball in the freezer! Rolling the frozen ball under your foot will ease your pain, helps repair your tissue and encourages you to gently stretch that area out.
Unidentified pain when bearing down on one foot
If you can’t tell if your bone or your tissue is hurting but your pain becomes worse when hopping or placing force on the affected foot, then you could be suffering from stress fractures.
It is really hard to diagnose these fractures as they are so tiny and you are sure to benefit from seeing an experienced physician rather than your everyday doctor.
Be warned, it’s really best not to “run” this one out, it can easily turn into a full fracture if left undiagnosed and treated.
Pain when you raise your toes
If you struggle to raise your toes without pain across the top of your foot then you may be suffering Extensor Tendonitis. This is when the tendons across the top of your foot become inflamed as a result of ill fitting shoes or long distance running. A physio can also rule out causes like a tight Achilles, or issues with your calf muscles.
It maybe also affected by your gait, so seek professional help if this area of your foot becomes a continuous problem.
It is likely you need to seek further medical help if you are still suffering after just a few days rest.
There are many different treatments for injuries sustained in the feet, depending on diagnosis. Freedom clinics offer many treatments from nail and skin care to musculoskeletal issues and lower limb pain. Our specialist team can advise you on a care plan, recommend a course of treatment and teach you how to prevent issues recurring.
We also offer biomechanical assessments & gait analysis, where our expert podiatrist will look at the mechanics and the way you move and any abnormalities that could be contributing to your condition; whether it’s in the foot, ankle, knee, hip or lower back.
For further information on foot care or treatments you may have to take, please click here to get one to one advice.