Choosing the right running shoe has never been easy.
Besides such usual variables as style, price, make, model, comfort and fit, runners also spend time considering more technical features such as cushioning and stability.
In recent years, however, the debate about what runners put on their feet has heated up. From the au naturel crowd who think shoes are unnecessary altogether, to the more conservative wave of runners who believe in shoes but not their technology, there’s a distinct shift away from the old rules of choosing shoes.
Cushioning, once considered the primary measure of a shoe’s worth, has dropped down the list of a shoe’s must-haves. So, too, have stability features, which are designed to correct biomechanical flaws. Today runners are told to rely on perfect mechanics instead of the perfect pair of shoes if they want to reduce their risk of injury.
Those mechanics include shifting from striking the ground heel first to landing mid- to forefoot first. In fact, say those who support a forefoot landing, switching from landing on your heel to landing on the front of your foot reduces so much of the impact stress that running shoes no longer need their customary well cushioned heel to reduce the risk of injury.
That shift in philosophy has caused considerable confusion among those who have spent most of their running lives pounding the pavement in cushioned shoes laden with technology. Add to the fact that there’s no proof changing your shoes or how your foot makes contact with the ground will keep runners injury free, and the confusion among average runners is justified.
The barefoot fad has died down, leaving most runners to choose a shoe that lands somewhere between the technology-laden model of old and the minimalist style that features little more than a thin sole and upper. This stripped down version of running shoe has a lower profile heel with decidedly less cushioning and minimal stability features.
Does that mean runners need to abandon shoes that have served them well for decades and buy into this new fad of running shoes?
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Overuse injuries are distinct from such commonplace trauma injuries as sprains, strains, broken bones and concussions. They are specific to the parts of the body most used during the athletic endeavour. These body areas can include the knees of athletes in sports that require running and jumping, such as basketball and soccer.
The overuse injury is caused by repetitive micro-trauma caused by chronic use of a specific body part, coupled with an inadequate time for rest and healing. But overuse injuries can be prevented if athletes and parents take precautions and familiarize themselves with the symptoms.
Don’t push through the pain. Young athletes should never be encouraged to “tough it out” and ignore pain. While pain may just be the sign of a sore, tired muscle, it can also be the first clue to an overuse injury. Players should stop and rest and gradually return to the activity, if the pain subsides. If it persists, see The Podiatrist.
Remember to rest. It’s under-rated, but rest is key to injury prevention and on-field success. The multi-tasking athlete who runs from school to practice to individualized training sessions, while still trying to keep up in school, needs to find time for eight hours of sleep and the occasional day off from the activity to stay injury-free.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated. Water is best for hydration during athletic activities under an hour. Consider electrolyte-enhanced sports drinks for longer bouts of activity – more than an hour – and for repeated activity in the same day.
Encourage your children to engage in multiple sports and athletic activities. Not only do the kids learn different skills, but they also develop and work complementary muscle groups while resting others. It is suggested to forgo specialization in sports until adolescence or puberty.
While prevention techniques like stopping play and getting rest are keys to avoiding overuse injuries, ice is helpful when applied to the affected area 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Injuries occur in many patients early in the new season, when kids may try and do too much too soon. Be sure to increase practice and playing time gradually.
If you are suffering from an overuse injury, please give us a call at The Podiatrist
We are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Foot Health: Parents, watch for warning signs of common injuries to active children’s feet | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz
Sports are a large part of growing up and there is a high risk of active kids injuring their feet. Because of this, it’s important for parents to know the warning signs and what to watch out for when it comes to their children’s foot health.
Common injuries and symptoms
The most common injuries they see include ankle sprains from lack of support, chronic heel pain from overuse and inflammation in the heel bone, tendonitis and stress fractures.
To prevent injuries such as these for your children, it’s important to follow the following recommendations:
1) Watch for warning signs – Pain and swelling are often the easiest clues to spot. If your child is cautious to bear weight on a certain area or showing you parts of their ankles or feet that are swollen, the best home remedies include rest, ice and elevation.
If they complain of numbness, tingling or can’t move their limb properly, there may be a serious injury and you should make an appointment with a podiatrist.
2) Purchase sport-specific shoes – One of the easiest ways to prevent foot injuries while playing sports is to make sure that your child has shoes that are made specifically for the sport that he or she is playing. Due to the different movements each sport requires, the support and structure of their respective shoes can make a huge difference in comfort, stability and performance.
Running, for example, should be done in shoes that have good shock absorption, control, flexibility and room for orthotics (if they are needed). Custom or semi-custom inserts are wonderful for runners and the heel pain that often comes with the sport.
3) Make sure each pair of shoes fit properly – The ultimate key to the best foot health in children is to make sure their shoes fit correctly. While many parents who have multiple children often make use of hand-me-downs, it’s important to make sure that the shoes you’re giving your younger child aren’t too small.
Allowing enough room for the width of one finger between the big toe and the shoe is the rule of thumb (no pun intended).
We know that when it comes to our kids, health and safety are top priorities. Contact The Podiatrist if you are concerned about your child’s feet.
One of the most common problems doctors see with hockey players and other frequent skaters is Haglund’s deformity, which is also known as a “retrocalcaneal spur.” This spur occurs at the Achilles tendon, just behind the heel bone.
Haglund’s deformity is different than a traditional heel spur, which is more common and found underneath the heel. However, if either is ever suspected, both conditions must be ruled out with an x-ray evaluation.
For those who don’t know, a heel spur is a bone outgrowth of the heel bone that is often very hard and painful. It can occur under the heel or at the back, where the Achilles tendon attaches itself to the heel bone. When this area is examined and palpated, there is a feeling of hardness rather than the typical suppleness of a healthy Achilles tendon.
Typically, an episode of tendonitis will also have occurred with Haglund’s deformity, which makes a skater more prone to suffering a recurrence. At this point, it is important to stop all activities, rather than continuing to skate and possibly rupture the tendon.
Proper training shoes with good heel cushioning and stability can protect the area from additional trauma. As always, preventative measures are of great importance. Hockey players and casual skaters can both protect themselves by stretching and strengthening the area through exercise to gain better flexibility. This injury can be very painful in acute stages and can become chronic, creating problems for years. If you believe you may be suffering from either type of heel spur, be sure to rest the area and seek medical attention.
In rare cases, certain heel spurs can require surgery. Other treatments include customized orthotics, anti-inflammatory medication and cortisone shots.
Have you ever felt aching knees or back pain during or after running or an aerobic workout? In step class do you find that your knees are feeling under pressure? It very well could be that your fitness shoes are causing the pain. Used trainers might still look nice, but they may have lost their support and ability to absorb shock.
Sports shoes should be changed after 150 hours of cross training. If you work out three days a week and remove your sneakers after each workout (not using them for everyday running around), your sneakers should last about one year.
Are Your Running Shoes Causing You Pain?
Maintaining a physically active life takes effort and determination. Whether your fitness program is just beginning or you’ve been at it for years, the last thing you need is to be sidelined by pain or injury. Selecting the right shoe can go a long way toward helping you stay in the game.
Wear and Tear
Another way to determine the best shoe type is to examine your old shoes. If they’re worn out around the outside edges, you’re probably under-pronating. Shoes that sag inward indicate excessive pronation. An even pattern of wear points toward normal pronation.
Even if our shoes still look great on the outside, running and walking shoes should be replaced about every 600 kms, or every 3-5 months, if you’re averaging 40 kms a week. If you’re heavy-set or have a higher weekly mileage, replace your shoes at the shorter end of that range. Wearing shoes that no longer offer the right amount of support and cushioning puts you at risk for pain and injury.
Matching Shoes to Sports
It isn’t a good idea to wear your running shoes for activities such as playing tennis, or even in a step class, because running shoes don’t offer much lateral support. For activities that involve a lot of side-to-side movement, opt for cross-trainers or sport-specific athletic shoes like court shoes.
For persistent pain that doesn’t resolve with a change of shoe style, talk to The Podiatrist, because your shoes may or may not be the problem.
The right care and the right shoes will help you get back on your feet and back out there, working up a healthy sweat.
Contact The Podiatrist for all your foot care needs.
A genetic analysis of fungi on the human body finds that our feet have the most – more than 100 types, many of which ward off the unhealthy fungi that cause infections like athlete’s foot.
At least 80 types of fungi reside on a typical person’s heel, along with 60 between the toes and 40 on the toenail. Altogether, the feet are home to more than 100 types of fungus, more than any other area of the human body.
It may sound icky, but many of the fungi on our skin serve a very useful purpose. One of the major functions of healthy fungi is to prevent pathogenic fungi from adhering to our skin where they can cause athlete’s foot, plantar warts and stubborn toenail infections. There is something about toenails that fungi just love.
Our feet are like a bustling fungi hotel, with different types moving in and out at a fast clip. For starters, while skin temperature on our core remains a pretty stable, the temperature of our feet fluctuates wildly. Cold feet may be hospitable to some strains of fungi, while hot feet may be more attractive to others.
Since they’re so close to the ground, our feet are probably also exposed to more fungal diversity than other parts of our body.
And there’s one more thing: People are fastidious about washing everything off their hands, but people don’t really specifically wash their feet. For many people, standing in the shower seems good enough.
Fungal foot diseases are often treated with antifungal medications that attack all fungi indiscriminately, both good and bad.
Really, wear flip-flops in the gym locker room and around Public swimming pools.
Please contact The Podiatrist for any foot care advice.
We are back.
Hope you all had an enjoyable Holiday.
Do you feet need some tender loving care?
Make an appointment today.
How to care for blisters and other minor foot wounds over the holidays.
The tourist’s nightmare. The walker’s bane. The runner’s curse. The blister. Whether on your palms or soles, this nasty pest is a recipe for pain. As most of us are aware, blisters occur when the skin rubs up against a surface repeatedly over time. The friction causes a small tear in the upper layers of the epidermis which forms into a small gap. The tear allows for the seeping of fluid into the void between layers, and then, folks, you have your blister.
We notice blisters popping up on the soles of our feet, our heels, and sometimes our toes. Blister development generally requires thick and rather motionless skin, and this, not strangely enough, is found on the soles of the feet, the heel, and the toes. Blisters form more easily on moist skin than on dry or soaked skin, and are most apt to occur in warm conditions. Thus, the sole of the foot, damp and warm after a long day’s walk, is the perfect place to harbor a blister.
If you do get a blister you will want to relieve your pain immediately. It is important to keep the blister from growing and to prevent infection. You can treat most blisters yourself. Here is how.
Small, unbroken blisters that don’t cause discomfort generally need no treatment. The best protection against infection is a blister’s own natural skin. It is a good idea to protect this skin, or roof, with a band-aid and to avoid rupturing it. Larger or painful blisters that are intact should be drained without removing the roof. First clean the blister with rubbing alcohol or antibiotic soap and water. Next, heat a needle or a safety pin over a flame until it glows red. Allow it to cool before puncturing a small hole at the edge of the blister. This disinfects the pin. Deplete the liquid with light pressure and apply an antiseptic ointment such as Crystaderm. When the blister is drained cover it with a bandage. Change the bandage daily. If it becomes wet or soiled, change it more frequently.
Blisters with small tears should be treated the same as those that you have performed needle-work on. More padding may be needed to decrease the friction (and pain) in the course of exercise or activity. Ring-shaped pads made of felt will protect small blisters.
When you are ambushed by blisters the biggest question on your mind is, will this endless bandaging and pestering pain ever go away? It will in time. But, fear not, there are ways of actually preventing blisters. To avert blisters you need to eliminate, or at least minimize, friction. The best way to do this is to wear the correct size shoe. Shoes should fit comfortable with roughly one thumb’s width between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Narrow shoes can cause blisters on the little toe and the big toe. A narrow toe box may cause blisters on the tops of the toes as well.
Loose shoes may create blisters on the tips of the toes. It is important to buy shoes for a specific sport or activity as well, as specific shoes are designed to be used for specific motions. Basketball shoes and walking shoes are not, and should not be used, interchangeably. Wear the same socks when you try on your pair that you plan on wearing during your work out. It is best not try on shoes in the morning, as feet tend to swell during the day. It is also a good idea to give the shoes a test run, just to be safe. Walk or jog around the store before purchasing the shoes. Make sure you do not experience any discomfort.
Coupling the right pair of shoes with the perfect pair of socks will aid in your crusade against blisters. Socks can decrease friction between the feet and shoes. Layering of socks or double-layered socks can minimize abrasion. Socks made from new synthetic can absorb moisture from the skin better than wool or cotton, thus creating a less blister-friendly environment. It is a good idea to always carry an extra pair of socks to change into in case your feet get too damp. Foot powders and spray antiperspirants that contain aluminum chlorhydrate or aluminum chloride are other ways to decrease moisture. If you are really concerned about blisters try applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly to your feet to decrease friction. Duct tape or cloth tape will provide a similar result.
Blisters are minor problems every human must face. Though they are but minor ailments, they must be dealt with. It is important to treat blisters immediately because a small blister can lead into a big infection. If there is puss, excessive redness with streaks leading away from the sore, or if you are experiencing extreme pain you should see a doctor.
For all your foot care needs, contact The Podiatrist. We have a range of foot creams that are ideal for preventing blister, as well as treating them.
We all know the pain of high heels after a long day or the soreness of walking several miles in flats. But what are our shoes actually doing to our feet — and which shoes are the ones we really should be wearing?
Wearing heels shifts your weight to the balls of your feet, which puts pressure on your foot. This also creates a balance problem: It forces your knees and hips forward, hurting your back and legs. Wearing these shoes can cause: hyperextension, ankle sprains, midfoot fractures, neuromas,pinched nerves, bunions and hammertoes.
Wedges also have heels, which puts pressure on your foot and juts your body forward. But the heels tend to have more cushioning, plus they often have platforms which protect the ball of your foot and reduce the incline. This helps with balancing. Wearing these shoes can cause: Hyperextension, ankle sprains, midfoot fractures, neuromas, pinched nerves, bunions and hammertoes.
Depending on the heel height, these can cause similar issues to stilettos. Keeping heels to two inches or below is best. There’s a rule of thumb: 25% of your body weight gets increased for every inch that you go, in terms of your body weight on the front of the foot. But in booties, the material around the ankle helps hold the foot steady, putting you at less risk for injuries. When you incorporate the ankle into the shoe, you add stability. Wearing these shoes can cause: hyperextension, bunions and hammertoes.
If the heels are high, you’re going to have the same issues as with stilettos — hyperextension of the back, pressure on the balls of your feet and lack of balance. But the casing around the leg creates more awareness of the leg in general, which can help with stability. Wearing these shoes can cause: hyperextension, midfoot fractures, neuromas, pinched nerves, bunions and hammertoes.
There is such a thing as too flat. Shoes that are too flat don’t provide adequate arch support, cushioning or shock absorption, which those with flat feet need. However, flats are flexible and cause the muscles to work harder, making them stronger — that’s a good thing. Another problem: There’s a higher risk of the sole being pierced by a foreign object. Wearing these shoes can cause: inflammation, tendonitis, heel pain, strains, stress fractures and external injuries (e.g. stepping on a nail).
These sneakers have a thicker sole than flats, so they do provide a bit of shock absorption and cushioning. For those who do need extra cushioning or arch support, Converse-style sneakers allow you to add extra support internally (to a certain degree). They’re also very flexible — the soft canvas exterior can be more comfortable for those suffering from bunions and hammertoes. The material also protects your foot from the environment. Wearing these shoes can cause: inflammation, tendonitis, heel pain, strains and stress fractures.
Too much cushion is not the best thing, either. When you have a lot of cushion, you’re not getting the foot-brain feedback that allows you to sense the ground. These shoes are ideal for forward motion, i.e. running, walking, jogging (not hiking, dancing, cycling, etc). Wearing these shoes can cause: chronic stress injuries, particularly to the heel.
Most jandals are too flat, too thin and too open. This exposes the foot to the environment and doesn’t provide arch support or cushioning. The thong that sits between your toes is also dangerous as it forces your toe muscles to over-grip. Plus, when your big toe hangs off the flip-flop, you increase your risk for toe fractures. Wearing these shoes can cause: inflammation, tendonitis, heel pain, strains, fractures and external injuries (e.g. stepping on a nail).
Rain can cause a moist environment, plus gumboots tend to be made of Latex or other thick, non-breathable materials. You sort of walk more like a Stormtrooper, so you just might get more fatigue from walking in them. The top of the boot can also rub uncomfortably against your calf. Wearing these shoes can cause: mould, fungus, bacteria, wart viruses and blisters.
For more information or advice on footwear and your feet, see The Podiatrist
The holidays have begun. The next couple of months are festive and fun…But can be tough on feet. Shopping for hours, standing in long checkout lines, attending holiday parties, cooking, traveling to friends and relatives, lugging goodies to the post office and a whole lot of running around take their toll on toes, feet, ankles, legs, and knees. Wearing fashionable boots, heels, and other non-sensible footwear significantly ups the pain ante considerably, causing tired, achy, cranky, sore and swollen feet and aching legs. Then there’s dancing the night away at holiday parties that put feet through their paces.
It is possible to shop without dropping. The Podiatrist has these handy tips to help you through.
Treat Feet Right:
-Leave the heels at home and wear comfortable shoes for spending hours on your feet. Walking or running shoes are most preferable
to help increase comfort and prevent ankle and foot pain that results in wearing heels.
-If shoes are tight, use a shoe stretcher to make them more comfortable before heading out the door.
-Wear cotton-based socks to absorb moisture and keep your feet dry.
-Lighten the load of your shopping bags and make frequent trips to the car to drop off packages.
-Distribute the weight of shopping bags evenly on both sides of your body
-Whenever possible use a shopping cart to avoid stressing your back with heavy packages.
-When walking, keep your back straight and relaxed; try not to slouch as it shifts your weight forward and keeps you off balance.
-Women should opt for carrying a small backpack rather than a heavy purse.
-When shopping, ask for assistance to lift heavy objects.
-Keep your energy up by taking frequent breaks to enjoy a snack, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and rest your feet.
If possible, elevate your feet to help reduce swelling during your break.
-After a long, punishing day on your feet be sure to stretch and flex your toes with controlled movements. (Don’t bounce!). Soak
your feet in a warm Gehwol Herb Bath and massage in Gehwol Mint foot cream for soothing relief. Running your feet over a
reflexology roller or golf ball gives feet a great massage.
-See The Podiatrist immediately if you have concerns about any foot issues.