Do you have questions about foot care? We have answers.
Do you have questions about foot injuries or the causes of foot pain? Tanglewood Foot Specialists provides the answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about foot injuries and foot care. If you would like to schedule an appointment to talk to a doctor about your foot pain, call Tanglewood Foot Specialists at (713) 785-7881.
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My feet hurt when I run, but no pain no gain, right?
"No pain, no gain" used to be the battle cry of athletes of all levels. As more and more athletes suffered injuries, a much more zen "let your body be your guide" has prevailed. There is a difference from soreness from conditioning and pain that effects your running.
Pain is your body's alarm system alerting you that something is wrong. Continuing to run through pain can put you at further risk of an overuse injury, such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. These conditions will become worse and force you to limit, or even stop, your running. The longer you wait to get your pain diagnosed and treated, the longer it will take for you to recover.
Listen to your body and contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists at the earliest signs of pain. The sooner you call and come in, the greater the likelihood that you will not have to stop running at all!
What's the best OTC insole for running?
There are a wide variety of off-the-shelf insoles available for running shoes. There are some better then others, of course. There are some that are not supportive enough and others that claim to be more than they are and are as expensive as a custom orthotic.
The typical drug store insoles, such as Dr. Scholl's, are too flexible to provide you any amount of control when you are running. They will offer some cushioning but don't rely on them of you are looking for support.
On the other side of the coin you'll find expensive hard rubber, leather, or plastic insoles. These are often sold at specialty stores such as Ideal Feet and Foot Solutions for $250 or more. Ironically these are similar to insoles sold on late night infomercials for $29.99! Be careful, once you walk out of the store they will not accept them for returns.
You should expect to pay $30-$60 for an off-the-shelf insole. You can find these at athletic shoe stores and running stores with brands such as Superfeet, Spenco, and SofSole. We conveniently offer Powerstep insoles at our Houston podiatry office as well as on our online store.
Will you tell me to stop running if I have foot pain?
The thing I enjoy least as a Houston podiatrist is to tell my patients that they need to stop running for a period of time. I don't take this recommendation lightly, however it is sometimes necessary. There are many types of foot pain that can be managed while you continue running. If I don't feel running during recovery is right, I will discuss other forms of exercise that you can safely engage in.
There are some injuries where you absolutely must stop running and exercising. These are times where continuing to run will make your foot injury worse. For instance, I worked with an Ironman triathlete who had a stress fracture in her foot. I put her in a fracture boot and advised her to not to run for the 8 week treatment period. She couldn't stomach the idea of taking time off...she continued to run, causing a worse fracture that required foot surgery to repair. This ended up taking much more time to heal and a longer time away from running.
If you have foot pain when you run, don't wait to have it evaluated. Don't be afraid that I will tell you not to run! Even if I do, it will take you away from running for a shorter time than if your injury becomes worse. Contact Dr. Schneider for an immediate appointment.
How close to my race day should I wait to get my foot pain checked?
I treat many types of runners in my Houston sports podiatry office. These include weekend warriors, serious high school and college athletes, to marathon runners, ultra-marathon runners, and Ironman triathletes. It consistently amazes me how often people come in just before their race, after months of training in pain, to get a quick fix.
One of the jobs that I take very seriously is to help my patients meet and exceed their goals. The last thing I want to do is to tell a runner that he can't run. There are times when it is unavoidable. The sooner you come into our office after you begin to notice pain, the more likely it is that you will not have a significant interruption in training. The longer you wait, the worse the running injury becomes and the more time is needed to treat your injury properly.
If you have any pain when you are running, the time to come into the office is now. Let Dr. Schneider evaluate your injury and make recommendations to treat the pain and get you back to running. Contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists today! Waiting will only make your injury worse.
What do you think about the Vibram Five Fingers shoes?
There has been a recent surge in people who are attempting to run barefoot or in minimalist shoes, such as the Vibram Five Fingers. The Vibram shoes resemble gloves, with an individual pocket for each toe. These shoes were not originally designed for runners, but rather for kayaking and other water sports to protect their feet from sharp rocks. The barefoot running community found that the shoes offer a "barefoot function" of the feet while offering protection.
I have no real argument with the Vibram Five Fingers shoes or those who wish to run barefoot or in minimalist shoes. Many runners do so quite successfully My concern is that they often run while wearing the shoes incorrectly. Barefoot and minimalist running requires a major change in your running gait. Many runners, however, don't take the time to make such a change. That results in injuries ranging from heel pain and Achilles tendonitis to stress fractures.
Barefoot running is not as simple as taking off of your shoes and going. Take the time and get coaching if it is something you wish to pursue. If you experience any pain or swelling along the way, contact Houston Podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan to get you back on the road, with or without shoes, as soon as possible.
Why does running cause my toenails to become black and fall off?
A bruised toenail has almost become a badge of honor, certainly among marathon runners. It is a common, but preventable, result of when your toes repeatedly impact the front of your running shoe. The impact causes bleeding beneath the toenail which makes the nail appear black and blue.
Once you have a bruised toenail from running, one of three things will happen. It is possible that a new toenail will begin to grow beneath the damaged nail. As it progresses, the damaged nail will loosen and fall off, usually without pain or bleeding. I other cases, a new nail will grow behind the damaged nail, pushing the damaged portion out as the new nail grows in. In cases of minor injury, the nail can reattach to the nailbed and grow as it should.
The best chance of keeping the toenail and allowing it to reattach is to visit your Houston podiatrist as soon as possible after you notice your nail is bruised. Dr. Andrew Schneider will painlessly relive the pressure beneath the nail, providing immediate relief of any discomfort you may have. Contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists for an immediate appointment.
Why does running cause shin splints?
Shin splints are an overuse injury involving the muscles and tendons on the front of your leg and ankle. These tendons are overactive because of your natural mechanics. If your foot is flat, or of it has an excessively high arch, your mechanics becomes unstable. One way for your body to compensate for this instability is to increase the use of your muscles to add stability.
Unfortunately, when muscles are overused, they don't have the blood supply to support the excess usage. Not enough oxygen is available to the tissues and they "cry out" for more by becoming inflamed and causing pain. This is true of most overuse running injuries, including shin splints.
The best way to control shin splints is to address your mechanics and reduce the usage of the muscles. This is best achieved with a custom orthotic, a specialized insole made for you to allow your feet to function in a more stable and efficient manner. When properly constructed, an orthotic can effectively eliminate your shin splints.
If you have suffered with shin splints, you should consider a custom orthotic to allow you to run without the worry of constant pain. Contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an evaluation to see if custom orthotics is the appropriate treatment for your shin splints.
Can I still run if I have foot pain?
Pain is your body's way to tell you that something is wrong. While you may consider some pain that you experience is normal, there really is no such thing as normal pain. there is a difference from soreness after a hard workout as opposed to pain when something is wrong. It is important that you identify the cause of the pain to make sure you are not forced to stop running.
It's true that "No Pain No Gain" was once the athlete's battle cry, but not anymore. It is important that you differentiate soreness from training from pain due to injury. Continuing to run through pain can worsen the injury and significantly delay your full recovery and return to your training. I see it everyday...runners who swore the pain would go away if they just run through it, only to encounter a severe tendonitis, tendon rupture, stress fracture, or worse.
Don't take the chance of having to stop running for a long recovery. If you are feeling pain when you are running, call Tanglewood Foot Specialists for a comprehensive evaluation. Dr. Schneider will do all he can to keep you running, but you have to do your part and take the first step.
How do I know if my feet are okay to run on?
We all have two feet and their sole purpose is to walk, run, and jump. We all have the capability to do those things, but some of use do it with greater ease than others. We consider those people to be natural athletes. What it really means, however, is that they were born with more efficient mechanics than others.
Your feet were made to run. That's not to say that they will be pain free when you do. When you first start an exercise program, it is common for your feet to ache, just as other muscles do when they start to be conditioned. There is a difference between soreness and pain. If the discomfort lasts beyond a week, you should get checked out by a Houston podiatrist to prevent further injury.
If you have instability in your gait while walking or running, you would benefit from the biomechanical stability provided by a custom orthotic device. An orthotic will provide the efficiency that your feet and ankles need which, in turn, will stop then from hurting.
If you are experiencing pain when you are running or while playing other sports, don't be discouraged. Contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider to schedule an appointment to get you on the right path.
I keep getting stress fractures, is that normal?
Stress fractures are not normal. A stress fracture is a non-displaced fracture in a bone which forms because of increased stress on it. When a stress fracture is treated properly and heals, the bone should return to full strength. A stress fracture can recur after it heals. There are two possible reasons why this happens.
The first reason is a repetitive and recurrent force on the bone. This can be a problem in runners and other athletes of all levels. The persistent force causes your bone to break down and ultimately fracture. When this happens it is important to get treatment right away. Treatment includes immobilization in a cast boot. In some cases crutches may be necessary to use.
If the excessive pressure on the bone is not properly managed, the fracture can recur. The best way to avoid this situation is to address the stress on the bone. This is most commonly addressed by using a custom orthotic device. This is a specialized insole designed to redistribute pressure and increase the stability of the foot and ankle.
The second reason a stress fracture can occur is due to an inherent weakness in the bone. This can be caused by a demineralization of the bone causing osteoporosis. It can also be due to a weakness in the bone due to poor circulation coming into the bone. In both of these cases, the underlying issues must be addressed as well as the fracture.
My patients like to differentiate between a broken bone and a fracture, thinking a fracture isn't as problematic. The truth is a fracture IS a broken bone and must be treated as such. If you are dealing with foot or ankle pain, or if you have had recurrent stress fractures, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an immediate appointment.