Your legs can carry you the distance, but your feet? Well, those dogs just get tired. Soreness in your feet can range from mild aches to all-out pain that makes it hard to hobble out of bed the next day. Sore feet following a run may be a natural result of over-work, or it could indicate an imminent injury.
Check your gear and training plan for ways to prevent sore feet from happening. If it's too late for prevention and you need immediate relief, some simple methods soothe your tootsies.
Sore Foot Prevention
A remedy for sore feet is to stop any symptoms from happening in the first place. The right shoes and proper training helps.
Old or improper footwear is a surefire way to get sore feet from running. Shoes last about 400 to 500 miles, not forever. If you're not counting miles, replace them after a year to ensure the shoes' cushioning and foam is keeping your feet supported. These components break down with time and use.
Also, what shoes you run in matter. Any old running shoe isn't optimal and can lead to soreness. Head to a running-specific store that will do a gait analysis, during which they watch how you run and determine if your overpronate (turn in), supinate (turn out) or are mostly neutral. Specific shoes offer support for each gait type.
Proceed with Caution
You may be an eager runner and want to pile on the miles quickly — don't. Aggressive changes in your running plan can lead to injury in your feet and elsewhere. Instead, stick to adding about 10 percent to your run each week — this means if you go 10 miles one week, you do 11 the next. Slow progression gives the tiny muscles, connective tissue and joints in your feet a chance to grow accustomed to the impact and recover.
Vary Your Terrain
Constantly running on the same surface, whether that be the road, sidewalk or treadmill, can make your feet ache from using the same muscles over and over again. Vary your terrain; for example, hit a trail one day and asphalt another. This mixes up which muscles in your feet do the work, so you're less likely to experience overuse in certain ones that makes them sore.
Read More: The Top of My Foot Hurts After Running
If your feet ache after a run, take any number of measures to lighten their load.
Soak your feet: Give them the spa treatment in and soak in a warm tub with Epsom salts.
Legs-Up-the-Wall pose: Lie with your buttocks against a bare wall and stretch your feet up the surface. Hold this yoga pose for 5 to 10 minutes to relieve swelling that might contribute to the soreness.
Muscle rubs: Use a topical pain-relieving cream or gel to reduce soreness. Natural ones may include arnica or peppermint, while commercial varieties can include aspirin.
Doctors visit: If sore feet are a chronic issue or they impede daily function — for example, you can't walk down the stairs in the morning after a run — you're due for a doctor's visit. You may have plantar fasciitis, a burning sensation at the bottom of your foot, or another chronic injury that's making your feet sore. A doctor or sports medicine physical therapist can guide you as to the proper treatment, so you don't have to suffer after every run.
Read More: Can I Run with Plantar Fasciitis?