Running is good for you, yes? Certainly, but only if you’re doing it correctly and not causing harm to your poor feet. We checked in with Dr. Casey Ann Pidich, an NYC-based podiatrist, for the most common, foot-hurting mistakes she sees people make when they run.
1. Running Without Socks
This, according to Dr. Pidich, is the “worst idea ever.” Why? “Socks help prevent blisters when running, and they also help absorb sweat.” She says to consider them an additional layer of protection for your feet—not to be skipped.
2. Measuring Your Sneakers Wrong
OK, so what’s the right way to measure sneakers? From the longest toe. “Look down at your bare feet. Most people think their big toe is their longest toe, but it might actually be the second toe that’s your longest,” Dr. Pidich says. “Measure the sneaker size from the longest toe—your first or second toe. You should have a bit of wiggle room from your longest toe—and actually all your toes—when fitting a sneaker.”
3. Running Through Pain
You know the saying “no pain, no gain”? That’s not true in this case. “If one foot is painful and looks swollen, something is wrong,” Dr. Pidich stresses. “Stop running, and seek a professional, because you may have tendonitis or worse even—a stress fracture.” She tells us that most people experience swollen feet at the end of the day, but if one foot in particular looks off, it’s a good indication that something is wrong.
4. Wearing New Sneakers for a Race
Sure, you want to show off your fresh new kicks for that 10k, but Dr. Pidich says race day is never the time for a maiden voyage. “Sneakers are made of materials that will slightly compress and mold to your specific pressure points on your feet as you run,” she says. “This process takes some time and gradual wearing in.” So how should you approach outfitting your feet for a race? “It's best to alternate between a worn pair and a slightly newer pair from the same brand while training, and use your regular broken-in sneakers for your race.”