Our feet take a beating each and every day, especially when we're involved in impact activities. 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 or any other sport miserable. In fact, next to the knee, the foot is the most frequently injured part of the body. Avid runners listen up, it's always important to take care of your feet. Here’s how to pamper your feet and avoid foot and heel pain.

1. Choose the right shoe. Proper shoe selection is crucial to foot health. Shoes that are too small and tight fitting 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 or sports 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. Socks that don't fit properly 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. If you have someone else taking care of your feet, make sure they are experienced with runners feet and go for a gentle pedicure. Those calluses could be helpful in providing a layer of protection.

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 to treat your feet. Try topical creams that are made with natural pain relievers when your feet 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.

Originally written by Sara N, contributing writer (May 2015) 

Updated by Alyssa Rolnick, Co-Founder of Zax’s Original Products, Registered Dietitian and Mother of 3 active kids.