Posts for: April, 2015
This past Monday, the 119th Boston Marathon raced through the streets. Over 54,000 people lined up to run the 26.2-mile course. A lot of people wonder what on earth could possess someone to want to do that. 26.2-miles of pounding the pavement must wreak havoc on the legs and feet. So what really does happen to your feet during a marathon?
Before you even start your marathon training, you should go see your podiatrist. They have all the information you could want about what happens to your feet as you are running. They can also help you understand your own foot anatomy or problems and help you choose the perfect pair of running shoes. You need to understand how your foot strikes the ground, what to keep an eye out for if you develop problems, and how to avoid those problems all together.
According to Runnersworld.com, after the knee, the foot is the most injured part of the body. These injuries can be anything from a simple blister to a painful fracture. Don’t worry, blisters are a much more common problem than any other, so don’t use the possibility of a stress fracture as an excuse not to run. “The most common locations for blisters are the sides of the heel, the sides or bottoms of the toes, and the arch of the foot. ‘Hot spots’ are areas on your foot that become warm and painful during or after long runs and may or may not develop into blisters.” http://goo.gl/539v0f
It’s important to understand that places where you develop blisters during a short run may be different than the places where you develop blisters on a long run. Right around the mid point of the marathon, the energy you loaded up with before the race begins to lag. Your legs feel the burn of the miles they have gone through and as a result of you’re your fatigue, your pace and stride change. Any change in your stride will change the stress points of your feet and thus change the ‘hot spots’. This can result in blisters developing in places they normally wouldn’t.
So what is the best way you have your foot strike the ground? “Most of the tenets of good running form are universally agreed upon by coaches, athletes, physiologists, form gurus and shoe designers: an upright postural alignment with a slight forward tilt, a compact arm swing and short strides that result in a cadence of 180 steps per minute.” http://goo.gl/wRrZhJ But when it comes to where and how your foot strikes the ground, there are pros and cons to each style. The important thing is to find what works for you. Over-striding is a common problem with new runners. They extend their legs too far which results in a forceful heel strike and you end up doing more work across the same distance and time.
A mid-foot strike is thought by many to be the ideal gait, but for some, altering your running stride to achieve this, can mean under-striding for those with longer legs. This is equally bad. In the end, it’s all about finding what is right for your feet and legs. Make sure that your stride feels natural. If you end up with severe foot pain after running, you are doing something wrong and it would be best to alter your stride.
Another common problem with marathon runners is the recovery. Don’t just collapse as soon as you cross the finish line. Keep moving for 10 or 20 minutes and avoid standing still. Change into a pair of graduated compression socks to help promote blood flow. Later that day, elevate your legs for 10- 15 minutes to reduce inflammation. Over the next couple of weeks, don’t force yourself to continue heavy training. Short walks or jogs (1 – 2 miles) are ok, but if your feet start protesting, put off resuming your running for a couple more days.
When they say anyone can run a marathon, they mean it. But it’s important to listen to your feet and your podiatrist to ensure proper foot health all the way from the first day of training to weeks after the marathon.
To shoe or not to shoe, that is the question. If you’re anything like me, you kick your shoes off as soon as you walk through the door to your home after work. However, I know many people who will not go without shoes, even in their own home. So what are the arguments for going barefoot or not? Is it safe? Is it healthy? Is it even legal if you want to go without shoes in public? The answers may surprise you.
Belief: Going without shoes is bad for your feet.
Truth: Shoes are a modern day convenience. Millions of people worldwide still go without shoes on a daily basis, many of them by choice. Research on those who go without shoes show that their feet are actually healthier than those who constantly wear them. One reason may be that most people who wear shoes are not wearing the correct size. And don’t even get me started again on high heels. Common problems associated with wearing the wrong shoes include: calluses, bunions, hammertoes, and other foot deformities. Shoes interrupt the natural gait of humans. Evolution spent thousands of years perfecting the way we walk, making sure that each step increased the health of the human body in a natural, mechanical way. Now you throw on a pair of shoes and that gait changes. Take running for example. Research shows that when we run without shoes on, we are more likely to land on the balls of our feet, causing less shock to the legs than the “traditional” running gait of heel-toe while wearing shoes.
Belief: I can hurt myself or get a disease from going barefoot.
Truth: Think about the things you do everyday. Do you drive to work? Driving is exponentially more dangerous than going barefoot. When people argue about the dangers of going barefoot, they throw around words like “athlete’s foot”, “tetanus”, and “parasites” to scare you. The truth is that these are of very little concern. Let’s look at athlete’s foot. The APMA describes athlete’s foot as “a skin disease caused by a fungus, usually occurring between the toes. The fungus most commonly attacks the feet because shoes create a warm, dark, and humid environment, which encourages fungus growth.” http://goo.gl/e13HXO Pay close attention, did you notice the word shoes in that quote? So when people try to tell you that going barefoot will grow fungus on your feet, just look down at their shoes and chuckle. You know the truth.
But what about tetanus? Sure, cuts, abrasions, and stepping on sharp objects are always concerns when going barefoot, but this is easy to avoid and remedy. First of all, make sure your tetanus booster is up to date (once every ten years). Secondly, don’t just start going barefoot everywhere all at once. If your feet are not accustomed to being barefoot, then the soles of your feet are probably pretty sensitive. Once you start going barefoot for short periods of time, the skin on the soles of your feet will stiffen and grow thicker, which makes them more resistant to sharp objects. Third, be smart! Even if you love going barefoot, you wouldn’t walk through a construction site or a pile of glass without shoes. So be logical and watch where you step.
Ok, so how about those pesky parasites? While it is true that certain parasites can enter the body through the feet, this is very uncommon in the United States. The main concern for parasites is in developing countries where sanitation might not be the best. Again, just be smart about this. Don’t walk through a sewer without shoes on (although, I can’t think of why you would walk through a sewer in the first place).
Belief: Going barefoot is just gross and dirty.
Truth: When is the last time you washed your running shoes? Or that pair of high heels you wear to work every day? I’m guessing your answer was somewhere between “not very often” and “never”. Now, how about the last time you washed your feet? I’m hoping for most of you that the answer is every day in the shower. So when you get right down to it, going barefoot may get your feet a little dirtier than if you were wearing shoes, but based on how often your feet get washed, I would say that’s an ok trade off.
Belief: Going barefoot is good for everyone!
Truth: Unfortunately, this one is not true. If you have certain conditions, especially diabetes, it is very important that you continue to wear shoes, even at home. Diabetes leads to poor circulation in the feet, resulting in diminished sensitivity. So while most people would be able to feel a small sharp object poke the bottom of their foot, people with diabetes may not and this could lead to infection and possibly amputation. Even something as simple as stubbing your toe could lead to a more serious problem. The good thing is, there are plenty of shoes out there that, when they fit properly, can actually be good for your feet and look stylish.
You also want to wear shoes while playing sports or working around heavy or dangerous machinery or conditions. I wouldn't suggest playing a game of soccer or going to your factory job without shoes, even if it's legal to do so.
Belief: Going barefoot in most public places is illegal.
Truth: WRONG! There is no law requiring you to wear shoes except in a few public places, such as government buildings. When you see that sign in the window that says “No shirt. No shoes. No service.” That is simply that establishment’s decision. There are restaurants that won’t seat you if you aren’t wearing a tie, but that doesn’t mean it’s a law. Don’t believe me? The website www.barefooters.org wrote letters to the government of every state in 2009 asking about laws concerning going barefoot. Every single response affirmed that there was no law requiring footwear in public establishments. You can read all of the responses here: http://goo.gl/IxHwnF
So the next time you want to kick off your shoes and relax, do it. Get in touch with Mother Nature and feel the sand/dirt/grass between your toes. I promise, you wont get in trouble for it, although you may get some strange looks.
Do your skin or nails embarrass you? With sandal weather just around the corner, it may be time to show your feet some love. The Foot and Ankle Wellness Center is hosting an exclusive, invitation-only Skin & Nail Rejuvenation Night on Thursday, April 23rd from 5:30pm to 7pm. Join us for a few hours of wine, appetizers, and information to transform your skin and nails. You could even win a $500 gift card!
All you have to do is call 740-363-4373, ext. 7 or email [email protected] and make a reservation. All requests must be received before April 16th. Space will be limited to the first 100 people to RSVP.
What can our laser do for you? Laser therapy cures fungal nails, rejuvenates hands, eliminates spider veins, and removes hair, warts, age spots, and scars. How does it do that? Let’s look at the basics of laser technology.
Laser stands for: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Laser procedures use non-ionizing radiation, so they do not have the same long-term risks as other types of radiation such as x-rays. A medical laser uses precisely focused light sources to selectively interact, in useful ways, upon various tissues within the skin and body. When you turn on a lamp, that light bulb spreads wavelengths across the room in every direction. When you turn on a laser, those wavelengths become highly concentrated and centered over a single area.
Light and your body tissues interact all the time. Have you ever had a sunburn? That was UV light interacting with your skin to create a change. This happens all the way down at the molecular level. Molecules can experience:
- Photochemical reactions; getting the molecule so excited that it will share electrons with other molecules and thus change into something different
- Photothermal reactions; light turning into heat energy which can be used to separate or bind tissues
- Photoablation; getting the molecule so excited that the body rejects it from the tissue completely (This is what we mentioned briefly in the Gangrene article)
- Plasma-induced photoablation; molecules transfer energy from one to another creating a series of collisions that result in the release of many electrons
- Photodisruption; just like plasma-induced photoablation, but with a few shockwaves thrown in
Essentially, the way we set the laser can create different chemical reactions in the body at the molecular level to change our tissues in different ways. Your podiatrist will set the frequency (wavelength) of the laser, the power delivered to the unit, and the duration and repetition of the illumination. Each of these factors affects the tissue in different ways and will be customized to you personally for your specific needs.
How safe is the treatment? Laser technology has been around since the 1900s when Oscar Raab developed its use in “Photodynamic Therapy”, which is still used today to kill bacteria and viruses, and treat everything from acne to cancerous tumors. There are some safety precautions that your podiatrist will explain during treatment, such as wearing protective eyewear.
Trust in the Foot and Ankle Wellness Center to give your nails and skin new life. Don’t forget to RSVP to our event before April 16th and remember, we are limited to the first 100 people who request an invitation. Can’t make the event? No problem. Just ask any of our staff about your medical laser treatment options and we can schedule you for a normal office visit. We hope to see you all soon!
April Fool's Day is quite possibly the funniest day of the year. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy a chuckle on April 2nd too. Enjoy some foot humor to keep the laughs going.
Let's face it. Standing in line is a bore. These people discovered an ingenious way to keep their places while comfortably sitting down. http://goo.gl/W8q0xB
We should have seen this one coming. http://goo.gl/xH2Q2L
We all know this feeling. http://goo.gl/unH2EG
He does have a point there. http://goo.gl/a7Jh78