Running hurts…..especially marathon running. An ache or pain is usually an injury if it persists for more than 5-7 days in the same pot. If you have pain > 5-7 out of 10 (10 being I’m dying and 0 being no pain); you should seek immediate attention. If you have a mild ache that is nagging more than a week, get it checked out before it becomes a serious injury.
Rule of thumb is every 6 months or 500 miles, whichever comes first. Heavier runners should replace their shoes close to the 350 mile mark while lighter runners can stretch shoe mileage closer to the 550 mile range. If you run around 25 miles per week, you should replace you shoes every three to four months. Remember that the midsole wears out way before the outsole and runners who wear out their shoes faster than this should be evaluated for biomechanical stress problems.
Orthotics lose their function, that is their ability to properly control abnormal foot function, somewhere between 1-3 years. This will be on the lower end if you are heavy or very active. When you reach this point (or sooner if you find your feet becoming more tired or your foot pain is returning) it is time to have them replaced.
Sports orthotics should be firm to brace your foot into the correct biomechanical position during the stress of running. If you feel your orthotics are too hard they may not fit correctly. If they fit well, a topcover that distributes stress can be added. If you are concerned that your orthotics aren’t working properly, contact the office for an evaluation.
The most common cause of heel pain is what is known as plantar fasciitis. This is inflammation of a ligament on the bottom of the foot called the “plantar fascia” at its point where it attaches to the heel. What you can do first, is avoid walking barefoot. Replace your running shoes if they are worn. Then, wear a shoe with a good arch support, ice the heel, and take an anti-inflammatory such as Motrin or Advil. If this does not help, see your podiatrist so your problem does not slow down or stop your runs.
Perspiration in a dark moist environment is the perfect place for fungal producing athletes’ foot. Athletes’ foot can spread around locker rooms, spas, pools and other public areas. It is important that you protect your feet in these areas and wear flips flops, crocs etc… Other ways to avoid athletes’ foot is to dry well between your feet after bathing, applying an anti-fungal powder to your feet, wear socks that are made of fibers that can wick away sweat (such as the newer synthetic athletic socks or natural materials such as cotton or wool), change socks often if your feet sweat excessively, avoid sharing shoes. If over-the-counter anti-fungals are not helping; you may need a prescription so contact the office for an appointment.
The term for pain under the ball of the foot is called “metatarsalgia” and can have many different causes from a torn ligament responsible for stabilizing the toe, to an injured nerve, an inflammed joint or even a stress fracture. Worn out or inappropriate shoes may be making the problem worse. If your toes are going numb during your run or you have pain for more than 5-7 days in a row, contact the office for an appointment. The only way to find out what is causing your metatarsalgia, is it to have it evaluated by a podiatrist.
There are many people with flat feet who never have a problem with their feet. If there is a family history of flat feet with family members needing surgery or having bunions, hammertoes or other foot condition, then yes, you should be treated. This does not mean surgery, rather, a good insert or custom orthotic recommended by a podiatrist. The best thing to do is to have your feet examined, then evaluate the options.
The simplest way to avoid ingrown nails is to trim your nails straight across and slightly round off the edges with a file. If you tear at your toenails rather than cut them, STOP! You are heading towards developing an ingrown nail if you do so. If you find that the edges of the skin closest to the nail are rough, moisturize them and you can even use a pumice stone to soften them.
Runners lose their toenails for a variety of reasons. If you have blood under your toenails before they fall off, usually this is a sign that you running shoes are too small. You should buy them at least a half size larger than your street shoes. You can also be suffering from toenail fungus. This will make your nails yellow, brittle and nasty looking. If you are constantly losing your toenails, contact the office to be evaluated.
An easy home course of treatment to remember is “RICE”. Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. If you still have pain after 3-5 days, an x-ray is warranted. If you have a lot of bruising, seek prompt medical attention because you may have a fracture.
Shin pain can be simply biomechanical stress on the muscles or a stress fracture. If you have chronic shin splints, an evaluation is necessary to determine your treatment. Shoes can help, but often physical therapy and orthotics are needed for complete relief of symptoms.
Chi Running is a biomechanical theory that helps some people run more injury free. I have some patients who swear by it and some who honestly either couldn’t master it or it made their knee pain worse. My best advice is to seek more information at www.chirunning.com
There is no good scientific evidence that glucosamine supplements help with joint health, but empirical data from thousands of runners says it works. Be careful about picking a supplement, because these are not regulated by the FDA. My advice is to go to www.cooperwellness.com and try their joint compound formula. Look for more information in an upcoming blog article.