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Runners’ Feet and Toes: The Long and the Short of It

photo of female runner getting ready to start

Runners’ Feet and Toes: The Long and the Short of It

Posted by American Foot and Leg in Foot Problems 26 Aug 2016

With the rush of the Summer Olympics now over, athletes and spectators alike may be wondering if certain physical characteristics provide an advantage. In some sports, the physical traits that dominate are clear such as height in basketball. However, other than athleticism, in other events, the advantageous physical traits may be less clear.

Runners often wonder if having big feet is an advantage. The mechanics of having large feet to provide more leverage and longer strides seems to make sense, but the research shows that any additional weight at the feet can slow a runner down. In fact, a heavier midsection will slow a runner less than bulk at the feet. So while runners with big feet can be excellent runners, they have no specific advantage, and because of their big feet, which denote big shoes, they have to work harder to surpass runners of equal skill blessed with smaller feet.

If feet can affect ability, what about toes? Well the research shows that sprinters have longer toes, while distance runners fare better with shorter toes. Long toes provide increased contact with the ground allowing the push that is needed in sprinting. Long distance running does not require acceleration throughout and having shorter toes decreases the contact and, therefore, the energy expelled.

So if you have big feet and long toes and are thinking about taking up running, you may want to consider swimming instead. Like Michael Phelps’ reported size 14 feet, long feet act like flippers giving you more propulsion in the water.

Whether you have big feet or small feet, all feet are prone to injury. Two of the most common injuries for runners are plantar fasciitis and tendonitis. Both of which are caused when ligaments are stretched or strained, and both of which are treatable.

In the Atlanta area, American Foot and Leg Specialists are dedicated to treating all of your foot, ankle, and leg needs. Committed to staying current with the latest technology, American Foot and Leg Specialists are using platelet rich plasma (PRP), a new treatment for sports related injuries, to treat injuries such as plantar fasciitis and tendonitis. PRP is a non-surgical procedure where a professional takes your blood and increases the platelet levels then injects the platelet rich plasma into the affected tissue with the guidance of ultrasound. The platelets construct new tissue treating the injury.

With four convenient locations in Fayetteville, Forest Park, Locust Grove, and Stockbridge, American Foot and Leg Specialists are helping the people of Atlanta maintain healthy feet and ankles. If you are experiencing a problem or would like more information on the treatments available, please contact us today.

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