The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

How To Care For Your Feet After Running The NYC Marathon

Posted by on Friday, November 4th, 2016

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The New York City Marathon is less than a day away! You may have envisioned yourself triumphantly coasting over the finish line, but have you thought about what comes next? Your “dogs” will undoubtedly be “barking” after such intense pounding. Everyone expects to be a little bit sore, but sometimes the pain persists for weeks or even months. Here are answers to common questions and a few tips to treat your feet after running this weekend’s marathon.

marathon feet
Need a treat for your feet after the pain of marathon run? Here are a few suggestions from NYC podiatrists. Image Source: Flickr user marksteelenz.

Should I Use Anti-inflammatories For My Feet After A Race?

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication can take the edge off the pain, but be sure to wait until you are urinating normally again. After a long run, it’s common to have hyponatremia, which happens when there is abnormally low sodium in the blood. Researchers have found “a significant association” between NSAID use and the development of hyponatremia, so you don’t want to take anti-inflammatories before your run or before your electrolyte balance has been re-established.

What Is The Correct Way To Ice For Pain Relief?

We recommend a 15-20 minute ice bath immediately upon returning to your home or hotel. We also recommend using an ice wrap rather than placing ice directly on the foot. The correct way to ice is early (within the first 36 hours) and aggressively (as often as once an hour for 20 minutes or so at a time). A 1982 study of ankle sprains found that those who iced immediately required half the recovery time as those who applied heat. The first few days are crucial, but, after that, the impact is negligible. You may find it helps with acute flare-ups, particularly if you have a stress fracture that becomes aggravated by taking on too much activity.

Do Foam Rollers Help With Arch Pain?

Foam rollers are a runner’s best friend. The idea is that, like a massage, you’ll increase circulation to the area, which speeds up healing. You can use a real foam roller, or you can just use an old tennis ball or frozen water bottle you have lying around the house.

How Do I Treat Blisters At Home?

Blisters can be downright debilitating. The best route is preventing the blister in the first place by investing in quality, high performance, sweat-wicking, breathable socks and ensuring you are wearing the right style of shoe for your feet—in the proper size and with the proper lacing. If it’s too late for shoulda-coulda-wouldas, then you are best off putting a blister plaster over the sore spot and ambling around in a post-op shoe for up to a week. Be on high alert for sudden increases in pain, swelling, redness, or warmth at the blister site. Other signs of serious infection include red streaks extending from the blister, fever, chills, nausea, and dizziness.

What Can Be Done About The Dreaded Black Toenail?

Common culprits behind black and blue toenails include shoes that are too small or laced too tight, foot swelling, and nails that are not cut short enough to prevent prying forces from bending at the nail bed. The black and blue is caused by a bruise, which is the pooling of blood beneath the nail-bed. It could take anywhere from three to nine months for the discoloration to resolve and a healthy nail to grow in. Many people swear by using a combination of emu oil and tea tree oil to naturally discourage fungal or bacterial growth following nail injury. If your toenail is tottering and threatening to come off, DO NOT pull it off yourself, as this could seriously damage the nail bed. Instead, soak the toe in disinfectant and wrap it in sterile gauze. You can also contact a podiatrist who can drain some of the fluid to relieve the pressure if the pain is bad.

Take care of feet leading up to the marathon and after! We’ll be here for all your foot and running questions.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.