63289151An article in this week’s Play magazine, published by the New York Times, offers a close-up look at athletes’ much-abused feet. Turns out, most of us tolerate achy feet far longer than we should, which can cause long-term medical problems.

Run on your toes? You might be setting yourself up for potential bone breaks. Wear running shoes that are too small or don’t fit properly? The nasty consequences that can cause range from bunions to dead, black toe nails. The moral of the story: Get a coach to analyze your stride and correct any form problems (like landing on your toes, not the ball of your foot), and see a doctor as soon as your dogs start to howl.

—Kristin Harrison