Tips for runners and walkers after the L-O-N-G winter

A press release from the NYSPMA

New York, NY – March 10, 2014 – The days are longer, the temperature has nowhere to go but up, and our thoughts turn to getting fit for warmer weather’s revealing wardrobe. For many, that includes getting back into a running or walking regimen and, as race season approaches, it’s important to get the most out of your exercise routine while avoiding injuries.


Members of the New York State Podiatric Medical Association (NYSPMA), the largest state component of the American Podiatric Medical Association, see the results of runners and walkers who don’t pay attention to what their feet are trying to tell them. “Something like a blister or chaffing can turn into a major problem if not addressed immediately,” said Dr. Robert Russo, President of the NYSPMA and a practicing podiatrist.

In order to avoid common foot problems, including blisters, black nails and calluses, there are warnings that should be heeded and preventative steps that can be taken to avoid serious injuries.

A good running shoe is essential. Fit and function are key, and shoe construction and sizing varies among manufacturers. Shoes that are ill fitted or too tight can lead to black toenails and neuromas (enlarged nerves). To test if your shoes are too tight, remove the insert or lining of your running shoe (if it is not attached) and stand on it. If any portion of the foot is hanging over the insert, the shoes are too small. Remember to wear socks that are a poly-cotton blend, which pulls moisture away from the skin and fit comfortably within the running shoe.

Stretch and warm-up for 5- 10 minutes before hitting the track or treadmill. Start by focusing on lower leg muscles. Beginning runners should start with short distances, increasing the run over time to help prevent injury. Try to keep both the feet and entire body relaxed, avoiding tensing and cramping of the toes. Stop running or walking if you are in pain.

At the end of a workout or run, cool down and rest. “After running, in addition to drinking something like Gatorade to rehydrate and replenish essential minerals, gently massage the bottom part of your foot, especially the heel and arch,” reminds Dr. Russo. “A tennis ball or frozen bottle of water rolled under your foot is a good way to massage and stretch following a run,” he added.

Podiatrists are specialists at treating common problems associated with running, such as plantar fasciitis – heel pain; neuroma – an enlarged nerve; calluses – areas of thickened skin; and black toenails, which can be painful.

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