I was out running yesterday, enjoying the warmer weather and trying to rack up my training miles for the Fairfield Half Marathon. I ran past another runner and my eyes were drawn to her fluorescent pink sneakers which, upon closer examination, I noticed were no ordinary sneakers but those with 5 toes! Really just a thin covering of her feet. I noticed how she gingerly ran over a gravel driveway and it got me wondering about the benefits of these skin-like running shoes and why they have become so popular. After much research online, I discovered that, not surprisingly, there are opposing opinions on the merits of barefoot running and minimalist shoes. Those in favor of barefoot running say that it is a much more natural way to run, the way our bodies were designed to run. The barefoot runner tends to land more on the mid-foot than with a heel strike, resulting in less impact on the heel and potentially fewer heel injuries than with running shoes. Podiatrists and the American Podiatric Medical Association on the other hand feel that barefoot running can cause injuries ranging from Achilles tendonitis to severe bruising of the soft tissue of the foot from landing on a rock. The argument from both sides is that there are not enough studies to support the merits of barefoot running or the merits of running in sneakers. Those against barefoot running argue that the few studies that have been conducted were sponsored by Vibram and Nike and are therefore skewed. One thing that both sides agree on is that whether you run barefoot or in sneakers, you should adjust your form accordingly to prevent injuries.
Barefoot running has enjoyed a lot of media coverage in recent years, especially since the launch of the book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall which chronicals the author’s quest to answer the question “Why does my foot hurt?” In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world's greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong. McDougall points out that 50-80% of runners in running shoes are injured every year.
Dr. Doug Richie, a Sports Podiatrist warns that running barefoot significantly changes your running style and unless you are conditioned and trained to run differently, you are likely to experience injuries.
The debate is likely to continue and heat up again now that running season is in full swing again with the warmer weather. Whatever your choice, it’s always a good idea to consult with a physician before embarking on something new and different!
If your golf swing is suddenly out of whack, you might be unconciously compensating for pain in your feet. The three most common foot problems that could be ruining your game are Arthritis, Heel Pain and Neuroma.
Arthritis is an inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints, generally accompanied by an increase in the fluid in the joints which can cause a stiffening of your ankle joint, leading to instability which will ultimately affect your swing. It can also cause pain in the joint of your big toe, hindering your ability to follow-through. Arthritis of the foot and ankle can be treated in many ways, including:
Heel Pain or Plantar Fasciitis is caused by the inflammation of the connective tissues on the bottom of the foot. It can be very painful, like a knife jabbing in your foot and can make it difficult to maintain a solid stance during your golf swing. The condition is often successfully treated with conservative measures, such as the use of anti-inflammatory medications, ice packs, stretching exercises, Orthotic devices, and physical therapy. Newer shockwave therapy is often used in severe cases that don't respond to more conservative treatments.
A Neuroma is an enlarged, benign growth of nerves, most commonly between the third and fourth toes. Neuromas are caused by tissue rubbing against and irritating the nerves often as a result of poorly fitting shoes. Symptoms may include sensations of thickness, burning, numbness, tingling, or pain in the ball of the foot which can make it painful to transfer your wait from one foot to the other during your golf swing. Treatments generally include wearing corrective shoes or orthotics and/or cortisone injections. In severe cases, surgical removal of the growth may be necessary.
Other foot problems can also cause problems like calluses and corns from ill-fitting shoes so it is important to make sure that your golf shoes are comfortable and fit properly. And consider Orthotics for a truly customized fit!
If you are experiencing one of these conditions or any other foot problems that may be hampering your game or life in general, please contact us to make an appointment for a consultation with one of our foot care specialists..
It’s no secret that high heels are very in for Spring 2011. And it’s also no secret that high heels are not great for your feet. But many women the world over love them because they provide an instant full-body makeover and image boost. Women are instantly taller with improved posture and increased self-confidence. But at what price to their feet? Wearing high heels all the time or frequently cramming your toes into them can cause a variety of foot problems:
- Bunions: According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, nine out of ten bunions happen to women and are mostly caused by wearing shoes that are too small. The base of the big toe gets larger and sticks out. The skin over the bunion can become red and tender from rubbing against the shoe. As the bunion gets bigger, it causes the big toe to angle in towards the second toe and it can eventually tuck under the second toe. At this point, wearing any shoe can be extremely painful and some women will need surgery to find relief.
- Hammertoes: A hammer toe is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toes where the toe is bent at the middle joint. They are usually caused by a combination of wearing ill-fitting shoes and a muscle imbalance. When toes are forced into a shoe with a narrow toe end, they are forced into a flexed position The higher the heel, the more the foot is forced into the toe-end of the shoe which squishes the toes against the shoe, increasing the pressure and the bend in the toe. Over time, the toe muscles become unable to straighten. Corns and calluses can also develop on the bent joint area.
- Foot pain and Morton's Neuroma: Morton's neuroma is a painful swelling of the nerve between the third and fourth toes, usually in response to irritation, trauma or excessive pressure. The incidence of Morton's neuroma is 8 to 10 times greater in women than in men. As the foot is pushed forward into the crammed toe area of a shoe with the body full weight of your body focused in this area, inflammation can occur, often resulting in a neuroma.
But don’t throw out all your high heel shoes just yet. Follow these simple guidelines to avoid foot problems:
Better yet, consider the new footwear range from . Alice Alan designs and manufactures shoes with luxurious fabrication, attention to detail and a sleek silhouette. All painstakingly handcrafted and reflective of the season’s hottest looks. Optimal cushioning and arch support are incorporated into the very foundation of each design to minimize stress and fatigue on your feet and body. With Alice Alan, you'll always put your best foot forward.