Treating “Marathon Feet”
A groggy good morning to you, Champ! It’s 4am the “morning” after your first marathon, and your feet are screaming bloody murder. You’ve been running long-distances for years and followed all your doctor’s instructions. What gives?
Although you earned a good night’s sleep, if you’re suffering from a common post-marathon condition, then your feet may be keeping you up at night and it’s time to consider some marathon foot care basics.
This condition is commonly referred to as “marathon feet,” and it can be very painful, but also treatable and easily prevented.
How Do I Know if I Have “Marathon Feet”?
The condition typically affects first-time marathon runners. A runner experiencing “marathon feet” might wake up the night after a long-distance running event with severe pain in the feet. They may be unable to walk, and sometimes the pain is so intense that even resting them under a blanket hurts too much. Ouch!
Sound familiar? As long as there’s no sharp pain in the joints or bones and no swelling, you probably just have marathon feet. This is when the soft tissues of the feet become inflamed from pounding them on the street for 26.2 miles. Half-marathoners have also been known to suffer from marathon feet
Train Your Feet for Prevention
The best way to avoid marathon feet is through prevention. While training for a marathon, train the same way you will race.
“Marathon feet” usually strikes runners who have trained on a surface softer than the one they encounter on race-day. If your long distance race is on the street, a treadmill or a soft racing track won’t properly train your feet to withstand the pounding on the big day.
You’ll also want to pay close attention to your footwear. Train and run in shoes that are well-cushioned. Racing flats will be too hard on your feet. Replace your training shoes every 400 – 500 miles so that you don’t wear them out. A foot and ankle specialist can recommend the right shoes for your feet.
After the Fleet Feat, it’s Time to Treat the Feet
As soon as you walk in the door to your home or hotel after the race it’s marathon foot care time. Give your feet a 15-minute ice bath. It may be uncomfortable, but is the best way to prevent “marathon feet”!
After you are urinating normally again, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory could help treat achy feet. Consult your foot and ankle specialist for medical marathon foot care options.
If you’re still experiencing pain by Monday, continue with 15-minute ice baths 2-3 times per day. You should not have to take the anti-inflammatory medications for more than two or three days.
If the pain you’re experiencing is in your bones or you see swelling at the joints, then it’s probably not marathon feet, and we recommend you consult your foot and ankle specialist immediately. You may be suffering from something more serious, such as a stress fracture or a full fracture.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our foot and ankle specialists, please call (877) 989-9110 or visit us at www.footankleinsitute.com
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