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Riley Jones is a student from Charlottesville, VA. With an unshakable affinity for basketball and all things ’90s, he can be found on Twitter @rchrstphr.
Suggested sneaker: Nike Flyknit Lunar One, $130
While blisters can sometimes be painless, that’s often not the case. These irritations are pockets of liquid which can arise on any part of the foot. They’re caused by friction and moisture, but the good news is that they can be easily avoided. The most important precaution to take is to be sure that your shoes fit you properly. You’ll want a little extra room to breathe and let the foot move around, so it’s not constricted by materials that may cause irritation. It’s also advisable to use socks that don’t have seams, as the extra ribbing can cause friction.
If you develop a blister, the first step is to be sure to clean it thoroughly. Next, decide whether to let the blister heal on its own or to allow it to drain by popping it with a needle. If the blister is extremely painful, you may want to go ahead and pop it by sterilizing a needle and inserting it into the side and base of the irritation. Let the liquid drain and disinfect the area with alcohol or peroxide. Finally, cover the blister with a bandage for a few days before removing it to finish the healing process.
Suggest sneaker: Saucony Omni 12, $120
Whether you’re a serious athlete or not, chances are you’ve experienced a broken toe nail at some point in your life. Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to prevent broken toenails. Keeping your toenails trimmed and clean can help to dissuade nail breaking, but unfortunately it’s not a guaranteed preventative. If your injury is serious, it may be necessary to seek medical attention. However, in the case of a minor broken nail, there are simple steps you can take to alleviate pain and begin the healing process.
First, trim the broken pieces nail down so they are not protruding. Cover the injury with a bandage to keep the split nails from catching or snagging on foreign objects, so as to not exacerbate the damage. Allow for proper air flow by leaving open space around the toe, and remove the bandage after the nail has re-healed.
Suggested sneaker: Asics Gel Nimbus 14 2E Wide, $100
A bruised toe can easily be mistaken as a fracture, however it’s not quite as serious of an injury. If your toe is still straight and not bent in an unusual manner, it’s most likely a bruise. Like many foot injuries, one of the easiest ways to prevent bruised toes is to make sure you have enough room in your sneakers. Wearing shoes that are too constricting in the toe box can lead to bruising, blisters, and more painful injuries. You may want to consider trying out a shoe with a wide size to accommodate your toes.
For treatment, remember the the acronym “R.I.C.E.” (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). Try not to put any added stress or pressure on the toe and give it adequate time to re-heal. Your feet will thank you in the long run, and you’ll be back at it in no time.
Suggested sneaker: Brooks Beast, $140
Plantar fasciitis is a common heel injury that occurs the when the plantar fascia (a thick tissue which connects the heel to the toes) becomes agitated. It’s a common injury in athletes with extreme overpronation, those with flat feet or high arches, and those who are overweight.
The most important step in avoiding plantar fasciitis is wearing performance sneakers that cater to your foot’s movement and shape. Regular stretching can also help to prevent the injury. If you do develop plantar fasciitis, be sure to take it easy on your feet and ice the heel area. As you begin to feel better, start to stretch regularly to strengthen the tissue.
Suggested sneaker: Nike CJ81 Trainer, $120
Sprains often occur in either the midfoot area or in the joint at the base of the big toe (known as “turf toe”). The best ways to prevent sprains are to thoroughly warm up before activity, condition muscles through regular training, and being mindful of the surface you’re on.
Similar to toe bruising, one of the most important things to remember when treating a foot sprain is to Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate (“R.I.C.E.”). Anti-inflammatory medications can also help to relieve pain, and you may want to considering a new pair of shoes to prevent further issues.