How To Soothe Your Feet After A Long Run
Whether you’re training for a half-marathon, full marathon, or only spending long hours on your feet, here are a couple of tips to help your feet feel less sore.
1. Ice Bath
A lot of people shy away from this because it sounds torturous. However, standing up to your knees or mid-calves in the ocean, a cool creek or even a buck of cold water can help to reduce immediate swelling and inflammation. The exposure to colder temperatures aids in healing microtrauma, or small tears, in the muscles that come from extended, repetitive motions.
While research is still inconclusive as to whether ice baths give you a competitive advantage, a number of elite runners and athletes do prescribe to ice baths as a therapy. Make sure your ice bath is no longer than 5-8 minutes and the temperature no lower than 12° Celsius. A cheat would be to rinse off the lower legs and feet in cold water at the end of your post-workout shower.
2. Roll with a Foot Ball
I love my foot massage ball. It lives on my coffee table, so it is there calling my name when I sit down to unwind after a run or long day at work.
I suggest rolling your feet back and forth along the arches from the heel to the toes and back. You can also roll width-wise across the forefoot. This is an effortless way to alleviate tension in the muscles and fascia of the feet.
The rolling action also stimulates circulation, aiding in recovery. I suggest about 5-10 minutes per foot, absolutely after activity but it can certainly be done on a daily basis.
Make sure the ball is small enough to get into ‘the nooks and crannies’ of the feet – something in between a golf ball and a tennis ball on both size and rigidity. At Kintec, we carry both the Foot Rubz Ball and the Addaday Foot Roller. Our Go Fit Travel Roller includes a myofascial ball as well.
Similar to rolling, you can massage the feet by hand. You can use either a soothing lotion with peppermint or a therapeutic cream like Traumeel that contains arnica to reduce inflammation.
We carry P3 Cream, an all-natural analgesic enriched with calendula, a natural anti-inflammatory.
A number of companies are now making recovery sandals. The idea is that you wear a sandal with some built-in support post-run or activity. These can be worn immediately following your run or race, but also around the house. Often after a longer run, the feet can be quite swollen, so this helps give them space so as not to compress the foot.
With a little bit of time and effort, you can make sure your feet are ready to go for your next run!
Kristin Ohm-Pedersen, BHK, C. Ped (C)