Recovery is a crucial part of every workout, but runners need to pay special attention to foot health and recovery to stay healthy and keep doing what they love.
In addition to the standard recovery rules that apply to every athlete (and the essential gear that goes with it), there are a handful of steps you could take to keep your feet in tip-top condition, so you can keep running for a long time. Check out our seven must-do postrun steps!
- Stretch. First things first, when you get back to your house or wherever you've run from, take a moment to stretch out your feet. Toe scrunches are great for before and after runs; also try this yogic kneeling toe stretch and a wall stretch that'll also help your calves.
- Roll 'em out. Try a specialty roller for the feet, a frozen water bottle, or something like a lacrosse or golf ball to roll out the muscles (especially the arches) of the feet. Don't go so hard as to bruise your feet, but just enough to start releasing the tension.
- Ice and elevate. Working with an injury or unusually sore feet? Inflammation and pain can be assuaged with a bit of icing and elevation. The rule of thumb is 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off with the ice; prop your feet up on a pillow on the couch, armrest, bed, or coffee table.
- Epsom soak. Another way to relax your muscles — an epsom salt bath, but for your feet. Fill a bucket with warm water and your favorite epsom salts, and dunk your feet while you chow down on some protein and maybe watch a TV show or two. Feeling sore all over? Go for a full-on bath!
- Arnica massage. Pain, bruising, inflammation: all remedied by the arnica montana root and available in a moisturizing cream form at health food and natural markets. You'll feel relief from the soothing cream and the massage, and keeping your skin moisturized helps to prevent painful cracking of skin that can occur from the combination of dryness plus impact.
- Tend to blisters immediately. If you've come home from a run with some bubbles on your feet, treat them right away! If the blister is large, drain it with a sterilized needle to prevent a larger break or tear, and treat with antibiotic ointment. If it's smaller, protect and treat simultaneously with a Blister Block Band Aid.
- Compression socks. Slip on some socks for the squeeze your circulation needs. Whether you're wearing them for an hour around the house or finding a pair you can sleep in, the compression in the sock aids in muscular recovery (and they feel really nice!).
- Try a modified pedicure. While you don't want to remove your calluses (they protect you from blisters), getting a nice soak, trimmed toenails, and a moisturizing massage is a soothing, relaxing treat after miles and miles of impact. We know the benefits of moisturized skin, and keeping nails short prevents rubbing, lesions, and black toenails.