Proper Shoe Lacing and 2 Other Hacks to Save Your Toes

Houston podiatrist discusses foot pain from runningIf you are training for a marathon or a triathlon and find yourself hampered by foot pain, don’t feel as though your running days are over. Sometimes, the solution to your foot pain may be as simple as tying your shoes in a different manner. I have seen so many runners give up on the sport prematurely because of discomfort that could be relieved with some of these simple techniques. Read on for a few simple solutions to common runner’s foot pain:

PROBLEM: Your Shoe Rubs the Top of Your Foot
My solution: Re-lace your shoe so that they tie around the sore spot instead of over it.

How do I do that?:
Mark the spot on your foot where you are experiencing discomfort—lipstick or something else that will rub off easily will work well for this. Next, slide your bare foot into your shoe and quickly remove it. Look for the spot where your lipstick rubbed off on the tongue of your shoe. When you go to lace up, proceed as usual until you reach the eyelet just before the marker of the sore spot. Instead of threading through that opening, bring your lace back under, pulling it through the eyelet above the marker on the same side of the shoe; once past the marker, return the lace across the foot and proceed as you usually would. Do this on the other side as well. Hopefully, the empty spot created by this technique will take pressure off your sore foot and make running more comfortable.

Houston podiatrist discusses alternate shoes lacing to stop foot painPROBLEM: Your Toenail Turned Black
My Solution: Get the material of the shoe up and off of it.

How is that possible?
I know this problem looks really gross, but don’t let it turn you off running—the discomfort of a black toenail can actually be alleviated with special lacing. Just thread one end of your lace through the eyelet next to your big toe. Then pull the end of that lace up to the last eyelet on the opposite side of your shoe, pulling it through to the outside. Be sure to leave enough slack at the top to tie a bow. Next, take the rest of your lace straight across toward the outside of the shoe. Keep going until all of your eyelets have been laced. Using this technique will help get the material of the shoe up and off your big toe when you tug on the outside lace.  

PROBLEM:  Your Toes Are Squished
My Solution: Add a set of laces to minimize constriction.

Will that really work?:
Yes! Start by taking out your original laces and measuring them. Then, buy two sets of laces that are half the length of your original set. On each shoe, use one lace on the bottom half of the eyelets and a second on the top half. While this might look a little crazy, with two bows on each shoe, the technique works because it lets you tie your bottom laces a bit looser, giving those cramped toes some extra wiggle room.

While I’ve offered you some easy fixes to help training go smoothly, not all runners’ foot pain can be solved by re-lacing your shoes. If foot pain is hampering your marathon or triathlon training, schedule an appointment with Houston Podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an analysis of your specific injury and a solution that will allow you to return to the streets, trails or treadmill.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.