While running is a great way to exercise, proper foot care both at home and with regular visits to a podiatrist is essential to prevent injury. Here are six foot care tips for runners to keep in mind.
LETS GET WALKING--PART 2
Now that you started a new exercise regimen and feeling good about doing something great for your body-- how do your feet feel? Are they comfortable in the shoes you use for exercise? Are the shoes supportive enough? Do the shoes offer enough cushion/shock absorption?
It is important for shoes to fit well and be comfortable. It is equally important that exercise shoes are equipped to handle the stress load you put on them. Wearing a pair of sandals or flip flops to walk in is a major NO-NO! There is no heel control in an open back shoe and therefore excessive heel roll out (pronation) is noted which leads to overuse and under stabilization of the pedal joints. This in turn leads to inflammation and pain of soft tissue and joints. The excessive pronation causes joints and soft tissue to function outside their prescribed roles.
Shoes such as KEDS are nice and cute but offer no support or means of shock absorption. They are like wearing ballet slippers to run in. Once again it is important to take the appropriate amount of time to find that perfect pair of shoes for you. There are many brands and styles to choose from but it does not mean every pair of shoes will work for you.
What I find helpful, is to look at the shape of your foot (have someone outline the shape of your foot on paper) and compare its shape to the shoe last (shoe shape). If they are similar that may be the shoe for you. What you have identified is that your foot has a certain shape. Whether it is straight or curved it should match the shape of the shoe. Following this line of thought increases the chance for a comfortable wear.
Lastly, buy your shoegear after 3-4 p.m. this will ascertain a truer fit. As the day progresses, the foot may swell slightly and the shoe you buy in the a.m. may not be as comfortable by the end of the day.
I can give you many examples of which brand or style of shoe is best to use and/or stay away from—but that task would be arduous and take more than a few paragraphs. I hope you take this one point home with you—in order for an exercise shoe to function properly for you it must--be a great fit, provide adequate support and shock absorption capabilities as well as look and feel great. Consult your podiatrist for further information as well as a salesperson with a great knowledge base.
Until next time, be good to your feet and each other!
Warmest of Wishes,
Mark E. Barnhart, DPM, FACFAS
LET'S GET WALKING-PART I
We want to get in shape so that we will feel better, look better and live longer-right? Of course that is right. We all know getting into shape does not occur overnight nor with just one gigantic workout session.
To get into shape you don’t have to spend a great deal of money nor buy expensive equipment--you have the best equipment around--YOUR FEET. That’s right your feet. Walking is one of the best exercises one can do to get into shape. Most times it is just walking out your front door and strolling the neighborhood.
Before beginning your workout regimen speak with your family doctor to ensure there are no limitations with your activity level. When initiating a new regimen begin slowly and increase time and distance gradually over a few weeks. It is important to vary your workouts--doing one single exercise regimen 5 times a week gets rather tedious and monotonous. Therefore, when doing a walking program consider walking in the park, in the mall, around the neighborhood and yes even in your living room with a DVD. This varies the surroundings and keeps things a little more interesting and fresh.
Prior to working out a crucial point to consider is what your feet are wearing. Every foot is not made the same nor is every shoe --therefore choose wisely. There are a great deal of athletic shoes to choose from--one for each type of activity ie walking, running, cross training etc. It is important to get the right shoe for you. Lets keep it simple-- I feel that a good quality running shoe tends to work best for a walking regimen. A running shoe has great support, it is lightweight and allows for increased biomechanical control. A walking shoe tends to be too heavy, bulky and clunky. A cross training shoe tends to not offer the support or shock absorption I find necessary-- what it offers in one area it lacks in another. Before starting your walking program consider speaking with your podiatrist concerning your foot type and what shoe brand and/or style would be the best for you.
As stated, begin your walking regimen slowly and build on it weekly. When increasing time or distance make it gradual so it is not stressful on your joints and soft tissue. And most of all make it FUN. Until next time, be successful, and be good to each other and to your feet.
Warmest of Wishes!
OH MY ACHING TOE!
How many times while walking have you stubbed your toe on the corner wall or on a piece of furniture? Or have fallen or dropped something on the foot? O’Boy does it hurt! How many of you actually followed up with your Podiatrist? Did the incident fracture the toe or just cause a great deal of pain, swelling and bruising? If the pain, swelling and bruising lasts longer than 3-4 days or pain is severe enough to interfere with your gait, you most likely fractured the toe.
Fortunately, a way to evaluate for a fracture is to perform X-rays. X-ray exams can easily determine the extent of damage and allow for proper treatment plans to be determined. Your podiatrist will be able to perform this exam easily in their office and determine if the fracture requires realignment.
See your Podiatrist as soon as possible to implement a treatment regimen for your sore foot. RICE therapy (rest, ice ’20 minutes per hour”, compression, elevation) is usually the first instruction you will receive. This helps to reduce the swelling, pain and inflammation. NSAIDs help to reduce the pain and inflammation as well. For toe fractures which are stable and nondisplaced-- the most common treatment is immobilization. Your Podiatrist will perform this measure and instruct performing this until point tenderness is resolved. If there is malalignment, adjustment of the toe by the physician must be performed and the reduced fracture splinted. After manipulation Xrays will be taken to compare to the initial Xrays to determine correct alignment.
It is imperative to have a podiatric evaluation of toe fractures to ensure proper position and promote healing of the fracture. Until next time be good to your feet and each other.
Warmest of Wishes,
Dr. Mark E. Barnhart, FACFAS
FROSTBITE!!! It's that time of year-- we must be aware of how much time we spend in the cold outdoors. We need to always consider keeping our extremities warm and covered properly. Frostbite is brutal and caused by prolonged cold exposure leading to freezing of the exposed area.
Most common areas affected are ears, nose, fingers and toes. It is imperative to keep these appendages protected and warm when facing the winter weather outdoors. Prolonged exposure to temperatures of 32 degrees or less increases the tendency for frostbite to occur.
Symptoms of frostbite include numbness, tingling and burning of the body part. The appearance of the body part changes as well--from red to white to purple as well as looking waxy .
Mild cases of frost bite most likely will heal uneventfully. Severe cases can result in loss of that particular exposed body part. It is imperative to pay attention to how you dress when dredging through the winter.
Immediate treatment is a must! Take yourself to a warm environment immediately. Don't rub the skin as this causes further damage to the area and increased pain. Warm the area if possible in warm water NOT HOT. If the water is too hot this will lead to further damage. Don't use hair dryers, heating pads, heat lamps or stoves--if your body part is numb you will not feel the amount of heat generated and may burn yourself.
When the affected area is rewarmed then cover and contact your doctor as soon as possible. By having a medical evaluation the extent of damage may be assessed. Until next time, stay warm and be good to your feet and each other.
Dr. Mark E. Barnhart, FACFAS