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Running in Winter Has Its Pitfalls

Experts suggest you stay warm and keep moving

SUNDAY, Jan. 4, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Running on a cold winter day can be one of life's greatest pleasures.

It burns calories and adds color to your cheeks. Just keep some basic safety and comfort tips in mind:

  • Make sure you stay warm and dry, advises the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). This means insulated footwear, along with a single pair of thick socks made of acrylic fiber or a blend. Unlike cotton, acrylic wicks away moisture caused by perspiration, which can contribute to trench foot, athlete's foot and frostbite.
  • Don't wear tight shoes, because they increase the risk of frostbite and can contribute to the development of neuromas, or benign growths of nerves between the toes, which need to be treated by a doctor.
  • Stretch before running. This is true all year long, but particularly important during the winter because muscles take longer to warm up, making them susceptible to pulls and tears.
  • Pay attention to how your foot hits the ground. If a surface is slippery, many runners land with the whole foot instead of the rolling heel-to-toe motion, which could result in a groin pull, the APMA says.
  • Try to avoid running on icy areas but, if you must, think about putting spikes over your running shoes. Make sure you have proper instruction before hitting the pavement or the track.
  • Don't pop any blisters that develop. If a blister pops on its own, apply antiseptic and a band-aid, the APMA advises.

More information

Here's more advice on winter running from the American Running Association.

SOURCES: American Podiatric Medical Association; American Running Association
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