Running is a great cardio workout for your body, but pounding the pavement over the course of a long run is incredibly harsh on feet. Every stride taken while running applies a force of three to four times the runner's body weight on knees, ankles and feet. During a 10-mile run, a runner's feet make 15,000 strides, translating to thousands of pounds of force on each foot during a Marathon!
NYC podiatrist Dr. Johanna Youner is one of the premier cosmetic foot surgeons in the country. She leads the well-known practice, Park Avenue Podiatric Associates, and is a known innovator in the field of podiatry thanks to advances like using dermal fillers to treat corns. Dr. Youner offers foot related advice and tips to runners participating in this year's New York City Marathon that will keep feet in tip-top shape and have them feeling like a champion at the finish line:
Stretching – Stretching primes the body for the strenuous activity so be sure to stretch before and after running, paying special attention to the calves, hamstrings, quads and feet
Shoes – Invest in a good pair of running shoes as they provide the specific impact support that running demands; if feet sweat heavily try putting talcum powder in your shoes to keep feet dry
Orthodics – If you have arch or heel pain, you may be a perfect candidate for orthodics, which are now widely available in over-the-counter varieties; visit your doctor to learn what option is best for you
Socks – Cotton socks absorb moisture and what you don't want during the marathon are wet socks; opt instead for a synthetic sock (containing acrylic) to help keep moisture from your skin thus reducing the likelihood of a fungal growth. Another secret of the pros is to avoid situating the seams in a place where the shoe is tight – the pressure can force the seam to dig into the skin causing pain and blistering
Anti-Inflammatory Medications – Do not preemptively pop Advil to prevent aches that may arise during the race; pain is a valuable indicator during high-impact events and taking anti-inflammatory medications will mask any red flags the foot sends up during the race
Groom Toenails – Make sure your toenails are trimmed to no longer than the tip of toes before the race to avoid a painful ingrown toenail or even a fungal nail
Blisters – Blisters result from excessive friction between shoes and feet so take preventative steps by making sure shoes fit properly and are laced up to fit snugly; if you are prone to blisters, apply Vaseline to problem areas prior to your run or try padded “blister proof” socks like those made by Thorlo. Dr. Youner also suggests applying moleskin to problem areas also prevents blisters from forming
Visit Your Podiatrist – Dr. Youner's patients who run in the New York City Marathon make appointments the week before the race to get rid of corns and calluses, stock up on moleskin, get advice on orthodics, and in some cases, receive cortisone injections for heel spurs (plantar fasciitis) so they can run in their dream event
Finish Line – When the race is complete, Dr. Youner prescribes RICE: Rest your feet, Ice feet to keep inflammation and swelling down, Compress with ACE wraps to reduce swelling and Elevate feet to help them rest up for the next big run.
Runner's Injuries, Prevention and Treatment
Although numerous injuries can occur during a long distance run, the most common are shin splints, runner's knee and plantar fasciitis. Shin splints develop along the front of the lower leg and are commonly caused by running on hard surfaces, overtraining, weak muscles, wearing shoes that lack support and running downhill. Chronic shin splints can be very painful and may indicate a stress fracture. Runner's knee is the most common pain found among runners and is often caused by weak muscles supporting the knee and unsupportive shoes. Women with wider hips are also naturally prone to the condition. Heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis is seen in patients who are overweight, have flat feet, or are starting a new running program. Stress placed on this ligament in the foot can lead to heel pain. To avoid all of these maladies, Dr. Youner recommends stretching before and after activity. If any of these symptoms develop and persist, contact your podiatrist.
About Dr. Johanna Youner, DPM, FACFAS
Dr. Johanna S. Youner is successfully following her lifelong ambition of combining health and beauty as an attending podiatric physician at New York University Downtown Hospital and in private practice for over 17 years. The techniques of foot care and foot health she and her staff at Park Avenue Podiatric Associates employ are cutting edge, using innovative yet safe techniques for foot problems. Dr. Youner is a Board Certified (ABPS) foot surgeon and a graduate of California College of Podiatric Medicine (1990), where she earned her Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, as well as Barnard College (1983), where she was accredited a Batchelor of Arts in Philosophy. She is also a member of and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medicine Association (APMA) and trained in surgical residency at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine. Dr. Youner makes regular appearances in the media. She has been featured on Good Day New York, Reader's Digest, New York Times and Harper's Bazaar.
Dr. Johanna Youner graduated from Samuel Merritt College (SMC) California School of Podiatric Medicine (CSPM) formerly known as California College of Podiatric Medicine (CCPM), in 1990.