© SKI Publishing
Running: Helping Your Feet Survive
By Christine Dobrowolski,
As the days shorten and the weather cools, running becomes more difficult.
Many times it may seem more inviting to curl up with a good book and
a warm cup of tea as opposed to bundling up and going out for a run,
only to come back drenched from overdressing. For those who are motivated
enough to run through the cold, dark winter days, it is important to
know how to protect your feet so they too can survive the winter months.
- Wear one
pair of light or medium weight (depending
on the temperature) synthetic socks. Don't wear cotton socks. Synthetic
socks wick away moisture
and help prevent blister formation and cold feet.
- Consider running in a trail shoe. Trail running
shoes will help protect your feet more than lighter nylon running
shoes. Trail shoes also tend
to have more tread on the bottom to add traction for slippery surfaces.
- Make sure your shoes fit. If your feet tend
to swell a little in the summer, then your shoes may be a little
loose in the winter. If you tend
to wear heavier socks in the winter, this may not be an issue.
If not, you may find your cold toes are being jammed against the
front of the
shoes when running hills and your heel may be slipping and causing
- Avoid tight footwear in cold weather. Tight
shoes may decrease circulation to the toes. The cold weather will
also decrease the circulation to the
extremities and the combination can lead to problems.
- Pair your socks and shoes. Don't
assume your heavier socks will work with your summer running shoes.
is also true. Your summer
running socks may not work with your winter or "muddy" running
- Don't pull out your old shoes for winter running. You
may not want to wear your new running shoes in the rain, but make
sure you do not
start your winter running in shoes that have 400-500 miles on them.
- Warm up slowly. Your muscles will take longer
to warm-up in colder weather. Without proper warm-up time, you
will increase your chance of
- Minimize running on uneven ground. When running
on uneven terrain, your body needs to quickly adapt to the rocks,
roots or dips. In cold
weather, it is more difficult to adjust to uneven terrain because
your muscles do not react as quickly. This will increase your chances
muscle strains and sprains.
- Make sure you have at least 75-80 miles of running on
your shoes before wearing them in a winter marathon.
- Consider cross-training. If you are feeling
more stiff and sore than usual or are experiencing foot, ankle
or leg discomfort, take a break
from running. Overuse injuries occur more frequently in the winter
as runners unconsciously alter their gait to adapt to slippery,
see surfaces. Consider occasional visits to the gym or embracing
the elements on cross-country skis or a bicycle.
is a podiatrist, runner, and author of "Those Aching Feet:
Your Guide To Diagnosis and Treatment of Common Foot Problems," available
via her publisher, SKI Publishing, and at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.
by Dr. Christine Dobrowolski, DPM
Products at Northcoast
Heel Pain Kit