Summer is upon us and its time to get back out there and rev up up our training routine. Last year women were the majority for Half- marathon runners and finishers in America and they are increasingly shifting from solidarity runners to participating in social events. But whether women are gearing up for their daily running sessions or training to run a marathon, there are many nasty running problems that women can experience that are just not addressed or talked about. These embarrassing foot malfunctions can make anyone cringe and can crop up at any time. Ladies your not alone, many women are afflicted by certain embarrassing foot problems caused by running. We so badly want to get a pedicure, but our disgusting feet are enough to make ant foot technician run for the hills. We have all been there, we just don’t want to talk about these embarrassing running-related issues that we consider to be so grody. Fear not, you are going to get the low down on some of these gross issues with some tips in how to deal with them.


(1) Chafing

If running is your preferred form of exercise, or you like to participate in marathons you might deal with foot chafing.  Foot chafing or irritation is a common complaint while running.  Chafing often occurs on the inner thigh, groin area, armpits, nipples, etc. as a result of sweating, friction from body parts rubbing together, or friction from clothing, but it can also occur on your feet. When you begin to run, your feet can start to rub against your shoes and eat away at the tender skin. When you wear a pair of tennis shoes for an hour running in the heat, you can develop these raw spots that can bleed and become very tender and these raw spots can literally stop you in your tracks. It is irritating, and completely frustrating, when it gets to this point because you have to stop running so your skin can heal. Friction and wetness work together to create painful, burning chafing and the only way to relieve this condition is to minimize the friction that is irritating the skin.

Wearing shoes that do not fit is the biggest culprit of chafing. Your shoes should not be too big or too small because this causing rubbing and slipping. Choosing the right pair of socks is just as important. Invest in socks that are absorbent, soft and comfortable and avoid seams. Wearing proper socks can help prevent wetness. Cotton sock hold in moisture so it is best to wear sock that will wick away that nasty wetness. Acrylic, polyester, and polypropylene help remove sweat, leaving your feet dry. Athletic socks not only offers arch support, they are also ideal for athletic and running shoes because they deter moisture. Running socks have extra padding on the underside, This will help absorb the impact your foot makes when you run. You can use runners tape to wrap toes separately, and this may help prevent friction on top and in between your toes.








Use foot powder, the powder will absorb moisture and keep your feet dry and the powder will discourage friction.  Apply moleskin in hotspot areas of your shoes where the shoes are causing the chafing. You can also stick the moleskin directly onto your foot, and peel it off at the end of your run. Apply and anti-friction balm directly onto your skin, where the chafing is likely to occur. Using an antiperspirant stick will reduce foot sweating and reduce the chances where the sweating and moisture will worsens chafing. If your foot is sliding around when you are running, you can use wedge heels or place gel or padded insole inside the shoe to reduce movement. Wet skin can make chafing worsen so before you head out the door, apply talcum and alum powders to shoes. Powders can help wick moisture away from the skin and what ever you do, don’t stay in sweaty socks and shoes, change them as soon as you are done running.











Friction and rubbing between your foot, sock, and shoe can create hotspots and tearing, which can lead to blisters. Another way to relieve friction is by lubing, lubing, and more lubing. Lubricate the places on your feet that tend to chafe. Vaseline or a generic petroleum jelly is an inexpensive way to relieve friction. It has been recommended for marathon runners and walkers and in some marathons, it has been an onsite available product. For smaller places you can use a Band-Aid to prevent irritation. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring this type of foot irritation because it can lead to more severe problems that can take a longer amount of time to heal. Following some very simple but effective ways to prevent and treat chafing when it does happen to you, because this will help you enjoy your activities without having to suffer through more serious consequences.


We all have had foot blisters at one time or another but runners are particularly more susceptible in developing painful blisters that can profoundly impact their running experience. These tiny bubbles that fill up with clear fluid can be extremely painful and cause a person to stop running. You can also develop blood blisters where blood formed bubbles develop between the layers of your skin. There are a few reasons why runners develop blister: friction from skin-to sock contact, ill fitting running shoes, excessive moisture from sweaty feet or running in wet conditions, and socks that bunch up or don’t allow as a moisture deterrent.


  • Buying the right footwear is very important. Good quality running shoes can help prevent those nasty little bubbles from forming on hot spots of your feet. When buying running shoes talk to an expert and ask what is right for your needs. Stay away from running shoes that press against the tops or sides of your toes, this constant rubbing and friction will no doubt cause painful blisters and may make you have to stop running. Shoes with a higher ankle counter, higher heal counter, or unusually high instep will also induce constant friction that will lead to blister formation.
  • Avoid wearing new shoes when running long distances-it is best to wear shoes that have been worn in and are comfortable. Because your feet swell when running, you need to have shoes that have been broke in to avoid friction and tightening around your toe area and the sides of your feet.
  • Do not wear cotton socks, invest in sport socks that draw moisture away from feet. Invest in nylon socks instead, which allow for more breathability and less moisture buildup or wick socks which are a wool blend sock that deter sweat and moisture buildup that saturates your feet.
  • If you know there are spots on your feet that are more prone to blisters, try applying moleskin or other soft bandages such as Blist-O-Ban to these hotspots. Some runners will also tape up their toes individually to avoid blister formation in-between the toes or on the tops of their toes.
  • Use drying agents to minimize the occurrence of blisters as well as other products, these include lubricants, powders, and creams such as Blistershield, Blister Defense Sticks, FootGlide, Vaseline, good old fashioned deodorant, and foot powders these all help to create a friction free surface.


In some situations where blisters are not interfering with walking or are not to painful, they are best left in tact to help prevent infection. You can cover them with an adhesive bandage or plastic-coated gauze pad but make sure they can breath. If you have blisters in interfering areas that need to be popped follow these simple steps to pop them safely.

  1. Wash your hands with a lot of soap and water.
  2. Clean the blister and area around it with a clean swab or cotton ball using soap and water, rubbing alcohol, or iodine.
  3. If you are using a needle or pin, sterilize it with rubbing alcohol and use a clean swab or pad.
  4. Puncturing the blister spots close to the blister’s edge is the best area to puncture a blister and soak up the draining fluid with a clean cotton pad or gauze.
  5. Apply antibiotic ointment and cover the area with an adhesive bandage so the whole site stays clean.
  6. Keep an eye on it and after a couple days cut the dead skin away from the area using sterilized scissors, reapply antibiotic ointment and new bandages until blister is healed.
  7. If at anytime you see green or yellow discharge around the blistered area  or it becomes red and swollen, call your doctor because infections can set in and become severe and cause sepsis or other infection related illnesses.


Jogger’s toe also known as black toe is another complaint of runners and appears as a bruise beneath the toenail. Almost everyone who runs gets a black toenail at one time or another and it is accepted by some runners as an integral part of running. Injured toenails are a nasty sight and can be very difficult to treat because they are not only painful, but a perfect home for bacteria and infection to breed. The cause of black or blue toenail from running is grounded in the repeated impacts that occur with each step and where your foot continually slides forward leaving your toes to take the brunt of the impact. When starting a run, a runner pushes off from the ground causing the toes to claw to gain additional thrust power for a faster starts, but it also causes pressure on the toes and thus bruising the toenails.


You guessed it, ill fitting shoes or poorly laced shoes. If your feet do not have sufficient room for proper movement it will cause abrupt impact on your toes and a toebox that is too low will push down and cause pressure on top of your nails when you push off the ground. Shoes that are not laced properly both too tight or too loose will cause toenail injury. Tightly laced shoes can compress the toenails and shoes that are not laced tightly enough will allow your foot to slide too far forward, banging your nails against the front end of the shoe. The more a runner run downhill, it can increase risk for bruised toenails because of the foot is constantly sliding forward causing a vertical impact force. Long runs additionally increase risk for bruised toenails and the gradual swelling from running long distances does not help either because your shoes then become to tight.  Toes that are most commonly complained about are the first three toes. Bruising all dependent upon the relative length of an individual’s toe i.e., Egyptian (big toe is the longest), Greek (second or third toe is the longest). The runner’s longest toe has the highest impact, making it more likely to bruise.


Investing in proper fitting shoes and keeping your shoes laced snug, but not too tight, will help in keep pressure off of your nails. Some runners use ankle lock lacing or Lace-Up Ankle Brace for more security because it will reduce the distance your foot slides inside of your shoe with every foot strike. Keeping your toenails trimmed is very important and remember to trim them short and square not curved. If you have a bruised or blackened toenail that does not bother you, leave it alone and let it heal. If it is bothering you, soak it in warm water, this will relieve some of the irritation. If the toenail does not seem to be healing, appears infected or swollen, you may want to call your doctor and get it treated. Additionally; some other skin and foot problems can masquerade as jogger’s toe so if it is not healing in a timely manner or bothering you a lot, it best to call you doctor and get in checked out.


Psoriasis that shows up on your feet is commonly referred to as  palmar-plantar psoriasis. Psoriasis can be uncomfortable anywhere, but when it is on the top and soles of your feet it can become extremely painful and difficult to treat. This condition can cause your feet to

  • Crack or split
  • Thicken
  • Redden
  • Scale
  • Swell
  • Blister or have pimple-like spots (pustules)

There is no cure for psoriasis, but there are common ways to treat it to relieve some of the symptoms including moisturizers, mild soaps, and soap substitutes. Your doctor may additionally recommend Coal tar products, Salicylic Acid, and Corticosteroids which are typically in the form of lotions and ointments.

It is best to treat Psoriasis with a combination of these methods because they work better than one treatment alone and in many cases, most treatments are used as a trial and error process. In some cases your doctor will suggest  alternating or using topical corticosteroids with a type of vitamin D ointment and yet another treatment that may be recommended by your doctor is using a corticosteroid under a type of dressing called hydrocolloid occlusion which bonds the cream to help the skin to stay moist and lasts for several days. Psoriasis is an immune system condition and when skin treatments are not effective, your doctor may recommend drugs that affect immune system directly including Cyclosporine to slow down an overactive immune system, low dose retinoids to reduce cell multiplication, and Methotrexate to slow down an enzyme that causes the rapid growth of skin cells in psoriasis. Light therapy combined with retinoids for feet psoriasis may be prescribed, this includes using UVB or psoralen-UVA (PUVA) phototherapy or targeted phototherapy (laser treatment). PUVA is another treatment where you either take the drug psoralen orally or have it applied like paint and this is typically used along with light therapy.

If these treatments fail to work, a biologic medication may be prescribed which targets specific parts of the immune system and these can include:

  • Adalimumab (Humira)
  • Adalimumab-atto (Amjevita), a biosimilar to Humira
  • Brodalamab (Siliq)
  • Etanercept (Enbrel)
  • Etanercept-szzs (Erelzi)
  • Infliximab (Remicade)
  • Ixekizumab (Taltz)
  • Secukinumab (Cosentyx)
  • Ustekinumab (Stelara)


Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a fungus that causes the skin to redden and crack sometimes causing burning and itchy eruptions that may become weepy and oozing where the affected areas flake and becomes itchy. There are three types of athlete’s foot 1) on the soles of the feet, 2) in between the toes, and 3) inflammatory or blistering. In particularly severe cases, there may be some cracking, pain, and bleeding. The skin can also turn white and thicken and is often slightly swollen. Athlete’s foot typically develops in the gaps between the toes but the infection can also spread across the soles of your feet referred to as Moccasin athlete’s foot. It can affect athletes and non-athletes, but long distance runners are more at risk for athletes foot due to extreme moisture from feet being trapped in warm, damp shoes for extended periods of time. This fungus can also reproduce rapidly and the microbes can get inside the body through a crack, callus, ingrown nails, cuts, or blisters.


  • Athlete’s foot grows best inside running shoes.
  • Feet sweat profusely.
  • Hot sweaty shoes are like little incubators for nasty microbes.
  • Many runners simply toss their wet shoes into the closet when they are finished running allowing fungus to grow.
  • Shoe that remain damp harbor pathogens.
  • The fungus that causes athlete’s foot can be found on floors, clothing, and especially from contaminated socks and shoes.
  • Runners commonly have calluses, jogger’s nail, cut, or blister, all areas where microbes get inside the body.
  • Athlete’s foot is very contagious and can spread to person to person by walking or touching contaminated areas.


In most cases athlete’s foot symptoms are mild and over the counter topical medications can be bought at pharmacies. In more severe cases where topical medications do not work, doctors may prescribe a more powerful antifungal medication, which is usually taken orally.


  • Wash feet several times a day with soap and water.
  • Soak feet in salt water or diluted vinegar to clear up blisters.
  • There is some evidence that soaking feet in a tea tree oil solution can help.
  • Make sure feet are completely dry after washing, especially between the toes.
  • Wear clean socks that do not retain moisture.
  • Wash towels regularly, do not share them.
  • Use talcum powder to keep feet dry.
  • Remove shoes and socks right after a run and wash feet with soap and water, towel dry completely especially between toes.
  • Change footwear regularly because they need to have time to dry out.

Even though athlete’s foot symptoms are typically mild, if left untreated there can be the risk of complications including fungal nail infection, secondary bacterial infection, infected lymph system, cellulitis, and allergy.


A common foot ailment that runners have is Heel Fissures, this when the skin on the bottom outer edge of the heel becomes extremely hard, dry, and flaky. Because of the constant force that the feet take when running, this can cause the dry heels to crack. When you continue to run, the fissures can split open further and become deeper, the fissures can bleed and expose the underlying tissue to infection which in turn, make running impossible. If the heel cracks deep enough, it can bleed and increase risk of infection and lead to serious other medical problems. When these cracks are present, the skin appears dry and callused with  yellow to dark brown in hue.  This distinct discoloration is typically very easily identified. There are many reasons why the heels become excessively dry and cause cracking of the heels or heel fissures:

  • Dry skin or lack of moisture
  • Obesity
  • Aging
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Diabetes
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Wearing shoes to small
  • Prolonged standing
  • Wearing sandal or open back shoes
  • Living in dry climates
  • Having calluses on the heel area.
  • Sweaty feet-having inactive sweat glands
  • Wearing socks with low absorption
  • Wearing plastic shoes

Heel fissures typically affect both feet, but may only occur on one foot and may develop on one side of the heel or around the whole outer edge. Wearing proper shoes and the use of deep skin moisturizers and lotions can reduce the dryness associated with the condition. Heel Fissures can become very painful, heel pad wants to expand outward, but the skin is not pliable enough to expand with it, so it cracks.


Heel Fissures is caused by extremely dry skin so it is important to keep your  skin moisturized.  You can use a pumice stone and brushes to help minimize calluses. No cure for heel fissures exists, but in more mild cases it is recommend that deep moisturizers and lotions be applied to the the skin twice a day, once in the morning and once at bedtime. In more severe cases, it is best to consult with a physician or podiatrist so they can prescribe a more powerful skin ointment that can penetrate the skin and they can safely remove the dead skin from your feet. Heel fissures first begins as dry, scaly skin on the bottom of the feet, especially at the heels and is very painful. It occurs with repetitive friction with shoes rubbing the wrong way. When left untreated, fissures can bleed and become so deep that they lead to serious medical problems. These problems open the door to bacterial infections and if this happens you will need antibiotics to treat the area. Untreated heel fissures can also lead to ulcers or cellulitis or worse yet, gangrene. Heel fissures can develop in the heel area of one or both feet and continue splitting open more and more, getting both wider and deeper. Runners are more at risk to have thick, rough, and dry heels, and because of the constant pounding to the feet when running, these fissures have a tendency to crack more deeply, quickly, and bleed making them more susceptible to infection, viruses, and illness.


  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, this keeps the body hydrated.
  • Use a humidifier in your home to return moisture to the air.
  • Apply deep moisturizing lotion, salve, or body butter, and place socks over them when you go to bed.
  • Apply deep moisturizing lotion, salve, or body butter to your feet in the morning.
  • Gently use a pumice stone in the shower to get rid of the dry skin on your heels, but be careful not to irritate areas that are already cracked.
  • If you have severe deep heel fissure cracks, avoid running and allow some heeling time because the constant pounding on your feet from running will make it worse.
  • If your heel fissures are severe and you have deep crack and bleeding, make an appointment with a podiatrist and get help so your feet can heal and avoid further complications.


Having stinky feet is embarrassing and it is potentially harmful because bacteria and fungus attack our foot tissue and toenails which causes the foul foot odor. Generally runners are prone to this problem, primarily because of heat, moisture, bacteria and fungus that resonate in running shoes. The main culprit is that the feet do not get adequate air circulation over periods of time and once the bacteria forms, it is very difficult to get rid of and it can spread making matters worse. Bacteria can take on a life of its own, spreading from shoe to shoe, from sock to sock, and in many cases can spread from person to person if shoes and socks are shared. It is important to know the source and cause of your stinky feet. Typically people have over 250,000 sweat glands in our feet that produce a pint of moisture every day but most of that moisture evaporates before it has a chance to attract bacteria. Sweat alone does not stink, but when it comes into contact with bacteria it can become foul. Shoes and socks are the perfect environment for sweat and bacteria to hangout and if you wear socks and shoes that do not allow evaporation, the moisture gets trapped and the bacteria begin growing.


  • Wash your feet daily with soap and water
  • Keep toenails trimmed (squared not rounded)
  • Always wear fresh, synthetic socks
  • Try to keep your feet as dry as possible
  • Do not share footwear or socks
  • Sprinkle powder in your shoes to absorb moisture (baking powder is cheep and effective)
  • Use creams and ointments to keep your feet soft and healthy
  • Wear canvas or mesh running shoes for more breathability
  • Soak your feet in Epsom salt to neutralize odor and relieve pain
  • Check for fungal infections between toes and on the bottoms of your feet. If any redness or dry, patchy skin is observed, get treatment right away.
  • Don’t wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Alternate pairs of running shoes so that the shoes can dry out. Give your shoes at least 24 hours to air out between wearing and if the odor doesn’t go away, its time to discard the shoes.
  • For severe cases, see a podiatrist for prescription-strength products.
  • If these things do not work, contact your doctor to see if there might be an underlying problem.

Foot odor can be unpleasant and embarrassing. As you can see there are many prevention and treatment methods listed above and all these things can be found at Amazon. More severe cases should be treated by a podiatrist or family doctor to get the right prescription-strength products and make sure there are not other medical related problems. If you are in need of any of the products listed above for all of these running problems that seem to embarrassing to talk about check out Amazon for great inexpensive products and start to relieve some of these icky issues today. http://amzn.to/2p9hQRz

If you like what you have read, please leave a comment below and I appreciate any kind of feed back as well or if you have used other preventative or treatment practices for your foot problems, please leave a comment about your journey to healthier feet. You can also contact me at Click Here




























  1. Psoriasis is really annoying to deal with while jogging. As a student-homeopath, I dealt with clients with psoriasis, eczema, and other skin conditions that really prevented them from jogging and doing other things that they wanted to do in life. With homeopathic remedies, their skin healed very quickly without any side effects. Definitely something to look into!

    • Hi Ariel,

      Thank you for your comment, I myself suffer from foot Psoriasis and at times have a difficult time trying to get it to heal up. I will definitely look into homeopathic treatments, I appreciate natural healing as opposed to medications. I have used apple cider vinegar to soak my feet and that has seemed to work with mild breakouts. Thank you again for your comment and hope you visit again.

  2. Nice review on what could occur with your feet when running outside. I think when it comes to jogging on the hard concrete floors, your feet will definitely feel the effects when running day in and day out on a daily basis. I also like how you mentioned some helpful tips to prevent blisters and other issues that occur on your feet. I also agree with everyone that taken care of your feet is a must and when you experience any of this issues, don’t take to long to treat it. At least that is what I would always thinks. Well done!

    • Hi Martin,

      Thank you for your comment. I do agree that if a person is experiencing any foot problems they should be addressed as soon as possible. Our feet take the brunt of everything we do, from standing, walking, to running and by not taking care of some issues, can lead to some very dangerous consequences.

  3. Thanks for your article. Some of it was pretty confronting though. I do think we take our poor feet for granted and we do need to look after them better. I have never been a jogger more of a walker but you still get the blisters still. And you have given me some good ideas on how to treat them. I get the awful chapped heels and im always having to go to my foot doctor. Thanks again. Joanne

    • Hi Joanne,

      I had started getting foot problems a year ago and my doctor had prescribed all kinds of different topical medications and my heels were so sore due to psoriasis. These medications just seemed to make it worse so I stopped taking them and started really looking at how to care for foot problems. If you are having problems with dry heels, try an over the counter cream called “miracle foot repair” this was the only thing that cleared up my psoriasis and saved me hundreds in doctor appointments and prescriptions, it took about a month for it too completely go away but I noticed a difference within a week. I used it once in the morning and once at night. Some pharmacies and stores carry it, but if you can’t find it, I know Amazon has it. If you decide to try it, let me know how it works. Thank you for visiting my website and if you have any questions or comments, please let me know also.

  4. Uggg… gross stuff LOL. Wow, there are way more things than I could have guess that can go wrong with your feet when you start running seriously, and that’s just your FEET! Yikes!
    I’m thinking that investing in a good pair of shoes is probably the BEST thing you can do, right from the get-go. Do you advise going to a specialty store to get fitted, or would a regular sports clothing/shoes department store clerk know enough about the different makes and feet needs to get the right one for me?

    • Hi Marlaine,

      It is very important to take good care of feet because so many icky things can happen that originates from something minor. Most sports stores these days have people that are actually very educated in fitting the right shoes for the right kind of activities. If a person wants to start walking, jogging, running or have foot problems such as low aches, high arches,etc., I would recommend going to a athletic shoe store first where they have more experience. If someone has been doing these activities for a while, they know what types of footwear and product to use and can get them else where. For everyday footwear, I usually buy from Amazon because they carry all the brand name shoes and products, and I am usually looking for a specific pair of tennis shoes or sneakers and have always been able to get them there. Thank you for visiting my website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *