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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How do I know if I'm running right?
Most of us never really learned how to run. We started walking as a child and running came naturally soon after. In fact, that's the appeal for most people who take up running for exercise: you lace up your shoes and go!
If running was so natural, why do injuries occur? Even though we know how to run does not mean we do it efficiently. That said, many people take advice from friends, books, and running magazines, about the right way to run. Such advice is often problematic, since everyone runs a bit differently. For instance, one runner used a heel strike and another with a midfoot strike. Neither is wrong, per se, but depends on many factors, including foot type and the associated biomechanics.
If you are determined to make significant changes in your running gait, you should consider doing so with an experienced running coach. A coach will be able to objectively watch you run an offer appropriate recommendations.
There are also times where your running is impacted by mechanical instability. This causes the muscles to work harder and leads to overuse injuries, such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and shin splints, and also results in getting fatigued quickly. These cases are well managed with custom foot orthotics.
If you are noticing that you can't run as far or as long as you like, contact Dr. Andrew Schneider in Houston, TX. Dr. Schneider will perform a comprehensive biomechanical examination to identify where you are not efficient and will recommend the best treatment to improve your running.
Is stretching necessary when I run?
Stretching is one of those things that many runners don't like to do. In fact participants in all sports, all who would benefit from stretching, don't take enough time to do so. Stretching accomplishes several things. It provides gradual "warm up" to the muscle fibers prior to putting additional stress on them during exercise. Stretching also helps to eliminate lactic acid buildup from muscles after a workout. Stretching is indeed an important element to help increase your fitness level and to prevent running injuries.
There are different philosophies as to when is the best time to stretch. Some feel they stretching is best prior to a run. Others recommend stretching after a brief warmup. Still others stress stretching after a run. None of these philosophies are wrong and you should choose a stretching regimen that works for you.
One pitfall many runners encounter is developing a stretching regimen that is too long. We often take an "all or none" approach to stretching. We either do the whole stretching routine, or none. Time gets in the way and "none" often wins out. Focus on key stretches for the major muscle groups and get it done first. If you have time, stretch more.
Not stretching enough can make overuse injuries, such as heel pain, Achilles tendonitis, and shin splints, more likely. If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an immediate appointment and comprehensive evaluation.
How much does the surface I run on matter?
Every step you run results in two forces: the force of your foot hitting the ground and the force the ground exerts back into your foot. This results in a large amount of pressure coming into your foot. This is the reason that the surface that you run on makes a significant difference.
The harder the surface you run on, the greater the force coming back into your lower extremity. The harder surface materials are concrete and asphalt. More moderate surfaces include gravel, grass, and a rubberized track. In Houston, we consider a surface similar to the track at Memorial Park a perfect surface to run on.
Surfaces can be too soft and irregular, though. Running on a beach causes your foot and ankle to work harder as you try to stabilize yourself in the loose sand. Our Houston roads also pose a problem, since they are banked for drainage. This causes those running on the side of the road to run on a slant, causing a significant differential in the running surface.
Regardless of the surface you are running on, you should never have pain. If you find that your feet or ankles are painful when you run, contact Dr. Andrew Schneider at Tanglewood Foot Specialists. We will eliminate your pain quickly and take measures to ensure it won't return. Most importantly, you'll get back to what you love...running!
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 the Good Feet Store 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 Redithotics insoles at our Houston podiatry office.
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.