When you run on happy feet, you run happy

Whether your feet go grinding for a fun run, routine exercise or athletic training, they could only take so much of a beating; you’ll never know when that dreaded foot injury or foot breakdown can happen. Even with jogging, your foot carries 1.7 times your body weight, and this could increase with changes in speed. Your spirit might be willing but when your foot fails, you’ll wish a rewind – stepping back to where you make a conscious, careful effort at protecting your feet.

Help your feet to breathe and keep them in running condition with basic foot care.

Choose sport-specific, proper fitting athletic shoes.
The American Podiatric Association stresses that if you are participating in a sport two to three times a week, you should wear a sport-specific shoe. And fit is equally important as the type of shoe. Sport-specific, properly fitting shoes prevent foot injury and deformities and enhance performance.

Running shoes should:
· Provide adequate cushioning, to absorb shock or impact when the foot strikes the ground, and heel control to allow a stable landing. This will protect you from knee pain and shin splints (pain along the front of the lower leg). Shoes should have a good grip on the ground and the heel should not slip as you walk or run.

· Consider your foot type. For feet with normal arches, select a pair with cushioning and stability that are equally distributed – the inner sole fits the contours of the foot, the heel and midfoot stiff and is but flexible at the front so it bends easily at the ball of the foot. For those with low arches, choose shoes that are strong on stability and motion control, especially against lateral (outer side) motion. For high-arched feet, shoes should have a softer midsole and allow more flexibility. An orthotic device, or shoe insert, may be used to support a weak foot arch.

Buy shoes in the afternoon or after a workout.
The feet are slightly swollen at the end of the day or at their largest after highly physical activity. The toes should be able to freely wiggle even with the socks on, and the shoes should feel comfortable when you walk or run a few steps.

Wear the same type of sock for your sport.
When you try on shoes, wear the socks that you plan to wear during your running.

Stretch before starting off.
Proper general warm-up and stretching of the running muscles even for five to 10 minutes will prevent strain or microtears on the muscles, tendons and joint tissues.

Progress slowly.
Start with small distances and increase gradually so as not to cause sudden load to the soft tissues. You can start with two sets of two-minute jogging and alternate with five minutes of fast walking, then progress according to endurance into a 20-minute jog.

Proper foot hygiene.
Keep your feet clean and dry. Apply powder or petroleum jelly if feet are prone to blisters.



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