Blisters, foot pain and black toenails are common problems for runners.
Before you rush out and spend money on new running shoes, change the way you lace your shoes for a free fix.
The impact of shoe lacing on running
Your shoes are important for your whole body, said Mary Repking, a Marshfield Clinic physical therapist.
“People who don’t tie their shoes snug enough experience higher impact when they hit the ground, and their feet slide around in their shoes,” she said.
Besides blisters and black toenails, the added impact can cause pain in your ankles, knees, hips and lower back.
Plus, simply tying your shoes tighter may lead to more pain and foot problems for some people.
Try these shoe-lacing tricks
Repking suggested trying these lacing styles if you have pain and injuries from running,
Problem: Your foot is slipping, causing blisters or pain from the added impact.
Lacing solution: Lace your shoe normally until you reach the last eyelets near your ankle. Bring each lace through the last eyelet on the same side to create loops. When you tie your shoe, bring the end of each lace diagonally through the opposite loop before making a bow.
Problem: Your big toenail is black or sore from rubbing or striking against your shoe.
Lacing solution: Thread the lace into the first eyelet (the one closest to your ankle) on the outside of the shoe, leaving enough lace free to tie your shoe. Bring the long end of the lace up through the front inside eyelet on the opposite side of the shoe, near your big toe. Lace straight across to the front outside eyelet, then diagonally toward the next inside eyelet. Repeat until all eyelets are laced.
Problem: The top of your foot is sore or raw from rubbing against the top of your shoe. This happens because you have high arches or you tied your shoes too tight.
Lacing solution: Lace your shoe normally until you reach the eyelet before the sore spot. Instead of pulling the lace diagonally, pull it up through the next eyelet on the same side. Repeat on the opposite side. Resume lacing normally.
If changing your lacing doesn’t solve your problem, you may need new running shoes matched to your foot type.
Get medical help if blisters or toenails become infected, or the pain continues or gets worse.