Mind, Body and Sole: 29 March

WR's resident GP answers your questions on headaches, perianal abscesses and numb feet

Your questions to GP Juliet McGrattan this week:

MIND: All in the head

I always get a headache after a long run, it seems to start half an hour or so after I’ve stopped. Is this anything to worry about and what can I do about it?

As there’s a gap between your running and your headache then it’s unlikely to be a serious condition. Many runners find this happens if they’re dehydrated or their blood sugar levels fall. The key seems to be eating and drinking sufficiently immediately after a run. Try having an electrolyte drink and a healthy snack within half an hour of stopping.

headache

BODY: Pus off

My friend recently suffered from a perianal abscess, which was really painful for him. It’s made me nervous, not just about running, but exercise in general. How common is this ailment and how can I avoid it?

Ouch! Skin abscesses are collections of pus that develop as lumps under the skin and become red, swollen and painful. They’re usually caused by bacteria sneaking into cuts in the skin, hair follicles and sweat or mucous glands. Top spots for them are therefore our armpits, groins and around the anus and vagina. Most of them appear out of the blue but good hygiene can reduce the risk. Take a shower soon after exercising and dry these areas thoroughly. Wash your kit after every use. Don’t let this be a reason to stop you exercising. The quicker they’re treated, the less problems they cause so see your GP if you think you’re developing one.

bacteria

SOLE: Toe tingler

When I run longer than an hour my feet go numb. I’ve loosened my laces but this doesn’t help. It’s really annoying. What is this and what can I do about it?

Tingling, pins and needles and numbness in runner’s toes and feet is a common problem. This usually means a nerve is being compressed. You’re right to lace your shoes more loosely, try changing the lacing pattern too. Make sure your heel is fully back when you do lace up. Choose thinner socks and ensure your toes have plenty of space; you might need to go up half a shoe size. Avoid sudden increases in your distance. If none of this is helping then see your GP as you may have a neuroma such as Morton’s neuroma where nerve tissue becomes thickened and scarred. Your GP can arrange treatment.

feet numb

Got a question for Juliet? Email [email protected]


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