1. Set your goals
Writing down short and long-term fitness goals will help you stay on track, decrease your risk of injury and motivate you to keep going. Your goals should be realistic and specific. Don’t just say you wanted to get fitter or complete a 10 km run at the end of the summer. Specify the length, and number, of training runs you need to complete each week.
2. Talk to a professional about recurring pain
It can be natural for feet to hurt occasionally, however, if your feet regularly hurt, they should be assessed by a professional. Canadian Certified Pedorthists are the go to healthcare professional for foot pain. Trained in the assessment of biomechanics, they specialize in foot orthotics and footwear. During your initial appointment, your Pedorthist will conduct a thorough assessment and recommend an individualized treatment plan to ease your pain.
3. Understand and treat your feet
When it comes to foot pain, your gait (how you walk or run) is often a contributing factor. Your Pedorthist will analyze your gait during your initial assessment, examining alignment during heel strike, mid stance, toe off and swing phase, to determine whether you have any biomechanical issues that require support. Depending on your gait, you may require foot orthotics or a particular style of footwear.
4. Do a shoe inventory
Shoes play a significant role in foot pain. Did you know sports shoes should be replaced every 12 months as the foam breaks down even when they’re not being worn? As a guideline running shoes should be replaced every 500 to 1,000 kms as they wear out. Also remember, whatever sport you play, always wear activity-specific shoes as they are designed to reduce injury. For example, basketball shoes have extra height to protect your feet during lateral movements.
5. Orthotics can help
A foot orthotic is a medical device that fits discreetly in your shoe to support, align and accommodate your foot function. Orthotics can be highly beneficial in easing heel, arch and forefoot pain. There are two types of orthotics: over-the-counter and custom-made orthotics. Speak to your Pedorthist about whether orthotics will benefit you.
6. Do you need a brace?
Foot and ankle braces can help relieve foot pain and prevent injury as they provide additional support to the arch of your foot, absorb shock and hold your foot in place. Although over-the-counter braces are widely available its important to speak to your Pedorthist first as fit and type of brace are critical to effectiveness.
7. Pain relief
As keen as you are to get active this summer, remember to slowly build up to your fitness goals and take time to warm up properly before each activity. If your increased activity levels result in a foot or lower limb injury don’t push through the pain. Take time off or switch to a different activity until it heals.