"No pain, no gain" is the mantra of many athletes, but misguided stoicism can cause you serious problems. Your feet shouldn't hurt after a workout. If you find yourself limping home from the gym, you're doing something wrong. The fix may be as simple as stretching or buying a new pair of shoes, but if the pain persists, contact your physician.
Practice good hygiene. Wash your feet with warm, soapy water after every workout and before you go to bed to prevent fungal infections. Keep your toenails neatly trimmed and moisturize dry, cracked skin.
Stretch your feet before and after each workout. Sit down and cross your right leg over your left knee. Curl your right hand around your right foot so the palm presses on the toes. Pull your toes toward your body until you feel a stretch in the arch of your foot. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side. Another simple way to stretch the arch muscles is to put a towel on the floor and curl your toes around it to pull the towel toward your body.
Wear properly fitted, activity-appropriate shoes. Go to a sporting goods store and have your feet measured. Then, pick a pair of shoes suited for your usual workout. For instance, if you jog on the treadmill, you need running shoes, not cross trainers.
Support your arches. Do a simple experiment at home to determine your foot structure. Lay a brown paper bag on the floor. Step in the bathtub to wet your foot, then step on the paper. If your footprint is mostly filled in,, you have a flat foot and require a lot of arch support. You may need prescription orthotics to prevent foot pain. If you see a big gap between the imprint of your toes and heels, you have a high arch, according to WebMD.
Talk to your doctor. Chronic foot pain isn't normal -- even for athletes -- and may be a symptom of a larger problem. Plantar fasciitis, bunions, hammertoes and loss of foot padding are all possible causes of foot pain.
Tips & Warnings
- High heels and flip flops may be making your feet hurt -- not the workout. Don't wear shoes with a heel higher than 2 inches and save flip flops for the beach.
- Photo Credit Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images