Andra Coberly 2017-05-20 05:11:08
THE MOUNTAIN ATHLETE HAPPY FEET Five ways to ensure your feet are not your downfall this summer. FOR SOME PEOPLE, foot care means regular pedicures and a love for Italian leather loafers. But in Colorado, feet are tools. They traverse mountainsides and carry every pound of your body mile after mile. They run, they ride, they trek, they lug. They are beaten and bruised, pounded and pushed. And for the most part, they keep you upright. But your feet can only handle so much; blisters, corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, scrapes, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis. At best, these nasty conditions will make hiking your first 14er slightly to fairly uncomfortable. At worst, they will keep you on the couch even on the loveliest Colorado day. Lucky for you, all it takes is a little preventative care and compassion to keep your feet happy. If the Shoe Fits The most common cause of foot problems is ill-fitting shoes, says Nathan Hunt, podiatrist at the Orthopaedic & Spine Center of the Rockies. “Usually, they are either too small, they don’t fit correctly or they are too old,” Hunt says. Shoe shopping may be one of your most vital training practices. Find a shop with knowledgeable staff, like Vertical Runner, REI or Mountain Outfitters. Shop in the afternoon to account for foot swelling, and get someone to put their fingers in your shoes while you are wearing them—to make sure you have room but not too much room. Hunt says the average shoe will last about 500 to 600 miles. Heavier people will go through shoes faster; as will people who do more highimpact activities. If your heel is worn down, it’s time for another round of shoe shopping. Too Much, Too Soon The sky is blue, the temperature perfect. It’s Saturday, and you have nothing planned. So you hit the road. Despite the fact that you haven’t run in a while, you feel good and you run long and hard. You go and go and go—and then pain. “Especially getting into spring and summer, if you’ve been lax with your exercise and then you do a 10-mile hike or a long run, your body is really not ready for it,” Hunt says. Doing too much too soon can cause overuse injuries, such as stress fractures or plantar fasciitis, which is pain and inflammation of the tissue running across the bottom of the foot. Both conditions can be debilitating, leaving you sidelined while you heal. Hunt recommends a gradual approach, especially for distance athletes. Slowly reintroduce yourself to your favorite warm-weather activity. On weekends, don’t push yourself too hard. The rule of thumb, Hunt says, is that your long run should not be more than one-third of what you have run all week. If you ran a total of 30 miles Monday through Friday, then your weekend run shouldn’t be more than 10 miles. If you aren’t an endurance athlete, there are still plenty of risks for overdoing it. Walkers, hikers and joggers are still at risk and should gradually increase their activity over time. Sandal Skimping Are sandals your favorite part of warm weather? Be wary, your flip flops could be wreaking havoc on your feet. Hunt says if you wear sandals all day everyday (or even most days), make sure you “find something with more support than a shower flip flop.” Find a pair that has sturdy soles. Spend some money, $60 to $70, to get a pair that’s going to be good enough for an everyday shoe. For short hikes and moderate activity, Hunt says that so-called “performance sandals,” like Keens or Tevas, are perfectly acceptable for light hiking or everyday wear. Though, the exposed nature of these shoes may leave you vulnerable to scrapes and scratches. Just watch out for rocks and branches. Trend Spotting Remember the barefoot running trend? Remember the minimalist shoe? Or the running glove trend? You may still see the occasional person sporting those five-toed, waterproof sock/shoe thingies, but the numbers are quickly declining. And according to Hunt, that’s a good thing. “Lots of people still have interest in it, but for most, it’s not a good idea,” he says. “If you are 40 years old, you’ve probably been wearing shoes nearly 40 years. It’s likely not a wise decision to start using your feet in such a different way.” With any shoe trend, be sure to modify your technique and your workout to get accustomed to the change in support. Help is Around the Corner Pay a little extra attention to your feet this summer. Listen to them. Feel them. The better you know your normal post-hike aches and pains, the easier it is to recognize the not-so-normal aches and pains. If you have prolonged pain that doesn’t go away after resting, it’s time to get professional help.
Published by Breckenridge. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://ourdigitalmags.com/article/Health+%26+Wellness/2793389/411262/article.html.