The College of Podiatry’s Top Tips for Marathon Runners, from lead London Marathon Podiatrist, Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Taking part in the London Marathon or inspired to start up running? Matthew Fitzpatrick, a consultant podiatrist from The College of Podiatry and the lead podiatrist for the London Marathon 2017, has the following top tips for healthy, happy running feet:
- Use a square knot for your laces – the last thing any runner wants is for their lace to come undone during the race. This can not only cause potential injury but can also disrupt your pace. New research from the University of Berkeley in California has shown that if you use a ‘square knot’ where the left lace is crossed over the right and the bow crossed the opposite way, right over left, you significantly reduce the risk of this happening
- Opt for a properly fitted running shoe - go to a reputable sports shop and explain to the fitter that you are doing long distance running. Trainers for long distance should be half a size bigger than your normal shoe size as your feet tend to swell during long runs. Don’t hang onto running shoes forever if you use them regularly. Your running shoe has approximately 250-500 miles of life as over time they become stretched and lose their shock absorbency.
- Don’t forget the importance of good socks – people often focus on the shoe and neglect the type of sock, but ill-fitting socks are one of the main causes of blisters. Blisters sound minor but they can have a massive impact on your performance as they can be very painful. While we would usually recommend a cotton sock for everyday wear because they are breathable, they are not the best material for running as they absorb moisture. A damp foot increases the risk of painful blisters. Go for a specific running sock made from a material which will help wick away sweat. Make sure the sock fits properly so it isn’t bunching or too tight on your toes.
- Know how to identify and treat athlete’s foot – it’s called athlete’s foot for a reason, as it does tend to affect people who do a lot of exercise. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection which is most likely to occur if your feet regularly experience damp, warm conditions – common if you’re running! It tends to affect between the toes but can appear on any part of the foot. Look out for persistent flaking, red skin. This can look either ‘wet’ or ‘dry’; both are forms of athlete’s foot. You can get over the counter remedies, including treatments that specify they only need to be applied once - this tends to be the most convenient solution as often people forget to apply other treatments regularly, which can mean they are not as effective.
- Don’t run through pain – if you experience frequent and ongoing pain in your feet, ankles and legs when you run, this could be a sign that your footwear isn’t right or you have a musculoskeletal issue in your lower limbs that needs looking at. Don’t run through pain as this can cause long-term damage. See a podiatrist who will be able to diagnose the issue and advise on treatment.
Matthew Fitzpatrick will be available to see before and after the London Marathon in the Injury Clinics tent.
To talk to a podiatrist (also known as a chiropodist) about the options available regarding treatment, you can contact an NHS podiatrist or a private practice podiatrist. In both cases, always ensure that any practitioners you visit are registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) and describe themselves as a podiatrist (or chiropodist).
For more information about foot health and to find a registered podiatrist near you.
Find a Podiatrist
Foot Health Advice
Notes to Editors
The College of Podiatry is the academic authority for chiropody and podiatry in the UK, and an independent charity dedicated to feet health research, education and public awareness. It works closely with the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists – the professional body for the UK’s registered chiropodists and podiatrists. In short, they’re the UK’s experts for everything and anything to do with feet. Podiatry is the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and other disorders of the feet.
For more information or to speak to a podiatrist, please contact:
Zoe Willis / Edie Methven