Our feet absorb more force when we’re running than any other part of our bodies. They can make running really tough if we don’t take proper care of them. If our feet ache, blister, peel, or itch, it can make running miserable. In fact, next to the knee, the foot is the most frequently injured part of the body. Avid runners listen up, here’s how to pamper your tootsies and avoid foot heel pain. 1. Choose the right shoe. Proper shoe selection is crucial to healthy feet. Shoes that are too short can cause black toenails and shoes that are too narrow can cause nerve pain. And these are just a few of the negative results that come from improper footwear. Go to a running store with a shoe fitting specialist to ensure that your running shoes fit. 2. Choose the right socks.  Fit is as important with socks as it is with shoes to avoid back heel pain. Ill fitting socks can cause blisters as can wet socks or cotton socks. Luckily, socks are much less expensive than shoes, so you can experiment with trying to find the right pair. 3. Keep your toenails short. Keeping your toenails short is very important so that you avoid developing foot fungus and avoid poking a hole through your socks. Long toenails can also scratch the surrounding toes. Be careful cutting your toenails so that you don’t slip and cut your foot or cut your toenails too short. 4. Increase your mileage gradually.  Increase your mileage no more than 10 percent per week. Balance frequency, duration, intensity, and recovery so that you don’t overload your body, and your feet as a result. 5. Choose natural pain relieving products for your feet. Try topical creams that are made with natural pain relievers when your tootsies are in pain. Products made with arnica, a potent anti-inflammatory that helps with pain and inflammation, and menthol, which soothes and cools pain in the feet, is also a good choice.

Sara Novak is a Natural Health Care Expert for Zax Health. Follow her on Twitter at @sarafnovak.