If you are anything like the team at San Joaquin Foot & Ankle, the New Year brings with it plenty of new goals and resolutions, many of which are health related. Whether you like to run indoors on the treadmill or like to brave the cooler weather jogging outdoors, this blog series is for you. We'll start today by talking about the best gear, and in the coming weeks we'll give you our recommendations for technique, common foot problems runners face, along with the best treatments to help, and even a list of upcoming runs in the Central Valley area. We hope you enjoy this series, our Ode-To-Runners.
Whether you are a novice or a pro, the first thing you need to consider before going out for your next run are the shoes you wear. Your best support & defense against foot problems is choosing the right pair of shoes. Select a pair that fits you well. Your toes should have some wiggle room and the width should be appropriate. The soles should be flexible at the ball of the foot and provide appropriate arch support & cushioning. I advise replacing your shoes every 300-500 miles or roughly once a year. Visit our patient education section for more detailed information on my recommendations for athletic footwear. By scrolling to the bottom right hand side of the page, you'll find a section on shoes. Clicking on the arrow next to "Shoes," you'll find I specifically break down footwear by gender, the type of activity you are engaging in, such as running, hiking, etc, and even what your shoe wear patterns may say about your foot structure and potential issues.
Inside your shoes, I advise wearing socks made of a synthetic “wicking” material made to keep your feet dry when running to reduce the incidence of fungus, blisters, and odor. Another piece of gear to consider: arch supports. Give your feet an extra boost during your workout with a pair of prefabricated or custom orthotics, both of which are available in our office, and provide support to your foot structure which can provide extra comfort during your runs and prevent biomechanical problems down the road.
Do you have running gear or other related questions? Check out the rest of our Ode-to-Runners Blog Series, or feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jack Harvey at his office in Manteca by calling 209-827-2700 or by scheduling an appointment online. Happy Trails!
Today we're here on the blogosphere to declare war on your bunions! But before we bring out the big guns, maybe we should review the basics...
What is a Bunion?
A bunion is a bump of bone on the joint located at the base of your big toe. Smaller bony protrusions formed on lesser toe joints are called “bunionettes.”
When you have a bunion, your bone sticks out abnormally and it can end up rubbing against your footwear, causing irritation, pain, redness, soreness, and swelling. And because you flex your toe joint with every step you take (cue the Police song here), you are battling a progressive condition that can quickly become worse. When left unchecked, bunions can cause other conditions too, like hallux valgus where your lesser toes are forced to overlap one another, or hammertoes in which your toes may become permanently bent downward.
What Causes Bunions?
Bunions are caused by abnormal foot structure. Although your bunions themselves are not hereditary, members of your family may develop bunions because you may share a similar pathology of abnormal foot structure. Wearing ill-fitting, high heel, or narrow footwear can contribute to the development of bunions. If you suffer from chronic pain associated with arthritis, you can be at risk for developing bunions as well because arthritis can result in changing gait patterns.
How Can I Beat My Bunions?
If your bunions are becoming a pain, now is the time to take action! There are several ways to beat bunions, ranging from conservative to aggressive treatment options. Over the next few weeks we'll blog about the possible treatment options: conservative, aggressive, and surgical. Until then you can find more information by checking out our patient library or you can make an appointment to see Dr. Harvey today! Let's beat your bunions!
You may have heard about orthotics in the past and wondered if they can help you and if it’s worth the investment. Orthotics are supportive insert devices used in shoes to give functional support and control to the foot. They work by encouraging your foot into a neutral position which more evenly distributes forces throughout your foot and eliminates pain-inducing abnormal motion.
What types of conditions can orthotics help with? Amazingly, orthotics can aid in the treatment of several types of foot problems. Orthotics can be a great help to those suffering with issues such as:
- Heel pain (plantar fasciitis)
- Achilles Tendonitis (inflammation and/or pain in the Achilles tendon)
- Flat Feet
- Great Toe Pain
- Neuromas (Thickening of the tissue surrounding the nerves causing pain)
- Metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot)
- Diabetic Neuropathy
What are the advantages of using orthotics? First, many patients find immediate relief from pain by using orthotics. Second, there are several types of orthotics to fit all budgets, shoe styles, and comfort levels. Third, they are often times a less expensive and less invasive way of treating foot conditions than surgical intervention. Fourth, many insurance companies cover the cost of custom orthotics either partially or entirely, making custom orthotics even more affordable.
Curious about whether orthotics might be right for you? If you are local to the Manteca, CA area, please contact our office at 209-823-3700 or make appointment through our website for a consultation with Dr. Jack Andrew Harvey, your qualified foot and ankle specialist.
Got Cracked Heels?
Do you suffer from dry, cracked heels when you wear open heeled sandals? These cracks, known as heel fissures, are caused when excess pressure is placed on dry skin and calluses on the bottom of the foot. They generally aren’t painful at first, but they can be unsightly. If the cracks become deep enough, they can begin to cause pain or even bleed and lead to infection. It’s important to inspect your feet often to ensure the skin on your heels is healthy. If you are suffering from heel fissures, here are some helpful home remedies:
1- Moisturize your feet daily and drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated
2- Wear clean socks and closed shoes as much as possible
3- Avoid barefoot walking, especially on hard surfaces
4- Use a pumice stone in the shower to help remove dead skin & soften calluses
When Home Remedies Aren’t Enough
If these home remedies aren’t helping and you are experiencing pain, come into our office and in 30 minutes we can have your heels feeling much better. Podiatrists use special instruments to reduce your calluses to prevent further cracking. In our office located in Manteca, CA we also dispense a powerful 40% urea cream which promotes faster healing of your fissures. One of our most popular products is a special urea cream stick that makes application a snap because you never even have to touch the cream to apply it to your feet!
If the cracks in your heels are getting you down, there is help! Feel free to set up a consultation today by calling us at (209) 823-2700 or visiting www.sjpodiatry.com. Let’s get your feet feeling new again!
Q. Are flip-flops bad for my feet?
A. While Cosmo Magazine has their opinions on the matter, according to scientific studies, there is actually no conclusive evidence that flip flops are necessarily bad for your feet or your gait.
That being said, flip flops are certainly not what I would call a “supportive” shoe. The ideal shoe, especially for someone with foot problems, is made of a soft material with laces, a two inch heel or less, and has shock absorbing & skid resistant soles. Wearing flip flops can leave your feet exposed to the elements, including dirt, bacteria, & fungus. And anyone who has worn flip-flops can attest to the cracked heels that can result from overuse.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret: I wear flip flops! It’s true. On occasion I leave my feet open to the elements and enjoy wearing them at the beach or around my hometown of Manteca, CA! If wearing flip flops causes you pain, change your footwear. Otherwise, feel free to join me! Visit our patient education section devoted to shoes at www.sjpodiatry.com for more!
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