From ingrown toenails to calluses to sore feet, runners face specific challenges when it comes to foot care. Here are some common maladies these clients endure and some ideas for making sure they leave your salon happy and healthy.
> MUSCLE SORENESS: Whether your client has just taken up jogging or she’s an experienced athlete training for a marathon, she will likely experience muscle aches and pains. Considering that a runner’s foot strikes the ground an average of 800 times per mile, this isn’t surprising. To ease soreness, soak your client’s feet in a soothing bath of warm water and Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts, both of which contain high levels of magnesium. According to the Epsom Salt Industry Council, this mineral/electrolyte may reduce inflammation, which in turn relieves pain and soreness. When you massage your client’s feet and calves, be sure to start out gently, adding pressure only when she indicates you should do so.
> BRUISED/LOST/INGROWN TOENAILS: Many runners suffer from “runner’s toe,” a condition caused by the toe repeatedly hitting the toe box of the shoe. If you notice bruised or ingrown toenails, encourage your client to make sure her shoes are properly fitted, as too-small shoes will exacerbate the condition. In some instances, runners can even lose their toenails. If you see a damaged or missing nail, be sure to ascertain that the nail area is completely healed over before proceeding, as pedicuring on the vulnerable, thin bed epithelium can be risky. Keep your client’s toenails short; clip the nails straight across, then gently round the corners to avoid pressure when running.
> BLISTERS: Because of so much friction being applied to the skin of the feet, runners often form blisters — fluid that develops between layers of skin. If your client has blisters on her feet, you may pedicure very gently, provided the blisters are intact and not infected. Clients should be encouraged to seek medical attention if the blisters become painful or appear infected.
> CALLUSED FEET: Constant friction and pressure on a runner’s feet often causes calluses — areas of skin that have thickened. These calluses are the body’s attempt to protect itself by adding another layer of covering. The abnormal pressure can be caused by ill-fitting shoes or an underlying bone problem, such as a bone spur. Rather than completely removing the protective callus, you might simply reduce it and smooth the skin, depending on your client’s wishes. There is a fine line between having a bit of toughened skin to protect the foot and having a callus that threatens to form a blister underneath. Encourage your client to maintain her softened skin between salon visits with the proper products and tools for home care, such as a pumice stone and exfoliating scrub.
> PLANTAR FASCIITIS: Overtraining and imbalances can cause plantar fasciitis, a condition characterized by arch and heel pain caused by inflamed fascia (connective tissue that surrounds muscles, blood vessels, and nerves) in the sole of the foot. This pain may be most acute first thing in the morning. Runners may over pronate, causing feet to roll inward, or supinate, causing them to roll outward. Over-the-counter arch supports or custom orthotics may help to correct the structural imbalance. Gentle stretching may also help. You can incorporate specialized massage into your runners’ pedicures to help ease the pain of plantar fasciitis, and point clients in the direction of specialized products, such as plantar and Achilles stretching aids and compression foot sleeves.
Look for products containing ingredients to cleanse, soothe, exfoliate, and moisturize.
Pain Relievers: (anti-inflammatory, promotes circulation)
> Epsom salt
> Dead Sea salts
> Green clay (also deodorizes)
(antiseptic and antibacterial)
> Tea tree oil
Moisturizers: (emollient and nutrient rich)
> Vitamin E
> Coconut oil
> Avocado oil