Spread Your Toes

April 30, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Foot Care, Health 

There is a toe skill that I admire. Less you think I am kidding, I assure you that this is for real. If you are normal, you have already skimmed this post and looked at the photo.

Let me explain. Time after time, when I am patching feet, I ask the athlete to spread his or her toes. Usually this is when I am applying a figure eight patch between the toes, which I use to anchor a tape patch on the forefoot at the base of the toes. It is also important when trying to clean the skin or lance a blister between the toes. Yes, I consider this a toe skill – spreading your toes.Can you spread your toes like this?

Can you spread your toes like this?


Sound easy? Try it and see how far you can spread your toes.

Truth be told, I have found few people that can really spread their toes. The toes in the photo belong to my granddaughter, Alyssa. Aren’t they great? See how far she can spread her toes? I love it.

When you are sitting around, reading, watching TV or a movie, taking in the sun, work on learning how to spread your toes. It really does help those of us who work on your feet.

A Lesson about Lubricants

April 26, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Foot Care, Foot Care Products 

A few months ago, received an email asking if I could comment on the use of Vaseline or petroleum covered with powder. Cas Camara, of Florida, was going to run the Brazil 135 and was looking for feedback.

I responded: “Vaseline is the old-time standard for a lubricant-but it has problems. The problem is that it is sticky and attracts grit, gust, sand, and whatever the athlete comes in contact with. It tends to also cake up over time and can almost harden over time on socks, shorts, or other materials. Newer lubricants are less sticky and are much slicker and better at lessening the effects of friction. Putting powder on a lubricant can be done but usually athletes use one of the other. I have only seen a few use both. Powder may cause the lubricant, especially Vaseline, to cake up.”

Cas emailed me later and said, “I concluded the race without any foot problem by applying a mix of lanolin and Vaseline several times a day. I wore an Injinji sock under a Thorlo sock with loads of powder in between.”

Then a few days ago I received another email, which in part, said: “…it seems that the socks I used with just a basic Vaseline smearing were not the right tools to use, so it’s back to the store I go to get some different socks and to find the right solution for me and my feet.”

The point here is that Vaseline is still used by many athletes – but in my opinion, it has more faults than value. To repeat what I said earlier in this article, Vaseline and other petroleum-based lubricants are sticky and attract grit, gust, sand, and whatever the athlete comes in contact with. They tend to cake up over time and can almost harden over time on socks, shorts, or other materials.

When you have such great products such as BodyGlide, SportsSlick, SportsShield, and Hydropel, why use an inferior lubricant? Use what will work best on your feet. The newer lubricants are proven as longer lasting, better bonding with your skin, they do not cake up in your socks, and a few excel at repelling moisture. The use of Vaseline on feet is just as bad as wearing cotton socks.

If you want an easy one-stop shopping experience for all four of the the above products, check out Zombierunner.com. Click on Foot Care and then Lubricants.

A Tip for Hotspots and Blisters

April 18, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care 

It is easy to get ready for your race and forget good planning. The paper today had several articles on Monday’s Boston Marathon. Whether you are running a 10K or a marathon, just going for a long walk, or doing a multi-day event, today’s tips is important.

Am ENGO patch in the heel counter of a shoe

Am ENGO patch in the heel counter of a shoe

ENGO Blister Prevention Patches are great to reduce friction over a hot spot or blister. These oval patches are very slick and adhere to your shoe or insole to protect the sensitive area. Just peel off the backing and apply the patch to the area. I recommend pinning an ENGO Patch to your bib number if you are running a race – or put one in your fanny pack. When you feel a hotspot or blister developing, apply the ENGO patch to the area.

The patches are available in small and large ovals, and a large 3×4 rectangle.

ENGO Blister Prevention Patches are available though my link to ZombieRunner or directly from the ENGO website.

Debunking Common Foot Myths

April 12, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Foot Care, Health 

We all hear those silly myths and old wives’ tales like, “Don’t cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way!” or “Step on a crack and you’ll break your mother’s back.” But there are other myths that are no laughing matter, especially when they involve your health. FootPhysicians.com lists common foot myths that just are not true.

Myth 1: Cutting a notch in a toenail will relieve pain of ingrown toenails.
Reality:  When a toenail is ingrown, the nail curves downward and grows into the skin. Cutting a “V” does not affect the growth of the toenail. New nail growth will continue to curve downward. Cutting a “V” may actually cause more problems and is painful in many cases.
Myth 2:  All pedicure salons use sterile instruments, so it’s fine to use theirs.
Reality:  Unfortunately, this is not the case with all nail salons and most often as a result, the instruments can spread germs that can cause nail fungus and bacterial infections. To be safe, it’s best to invest in your own nail files, clippers and cuticle sticks, but if you choose to use shop instruments, make sure they are sterilized after each use. Soaking your feet in the motorized tub at a nail salon is not always safe. Even bleach, if not left for long enough will kill bacteria and fungus in the basin.
If you do have a fungal infection many of my patients use the following: Anti-fungal tolnaftate Miranel (Miranel is contains deeply penetrating technology power-2% Miconazole Nitrate AND soothing botanical ingredients such as: tea tree oil, eucalyptus, camphor and menthol)

Myth 3:  Shoes cause bunions.

Reality:  Bunions are most often caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. So don’t blame your parents.  It is not the bunion itself that is inherited, but certain foot types make a person prone to developing a bunion and increase the risk of bunion growth. While wearing shoes that crowd the toes together can, over time, make bunions more painful, shoes themselves do not cause bunions. Although some treatments can ease the pain of bunions, only surgery can correct the deformity.
Myth 4:  A doctor can’t fix a broken toe.
Reality: Nineteen of the 26 bones in the foot are toe bones. There are things a foot and ankle surgeon can do to make a broken toe heal better and prevent problems later on, such as arthritis or toe deformities. Broken toes that aren’t treated correctly can also make walking and wearing shoes difficult. A foot and ankle surgeon will x-ray the toe to learn more about the fracture. If the broken toe is out of alignment, the surgeon may have to insert a pin, screw or plate to reposition the bone.
Myth 5:  My foot or ankle can’t be broken if I can walk on it.
Reality: It’s entirely possible to walk on a foot or ankle with a broken bone. It depends on your threshold for pain, as well as the severity of the injury. But it’s not a smart idea. Walking with a broken bone can cause further damage. 

For more articles check out FootPhysicians.com. They are a wealth of quality information on all aspects of feet and foot care.

Help for Chronic Heel Pain

April 8, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Foot Care, Health 

Heel and tendon pain are common foot injuries often caused by repetitive activity such as running. It is estimated that 1 and 2 million patients visit a doctor each year for heel-related pain. The study mentioned below may be helpful for many athletes.

A retrospective study of 100 patients who received a radio frequency treatment for heel or tendon pain found that the procedure improved their level of activity and significantly reduced pain. 

Dr. Thomas Brosky II, DPM

Dr. Thomas Brosky II, DPM

Thomas A. Brosky II, DPM of the Foot and Ankle Clinic of Oakwood, Ga. presents his research findings at the Midwest Podiatry Conference in Chicago on Thursday, April 1.
Topaz is a minimally invasive procedure for the debridement, or cleaning, of soft tissue, such as tendons in the knee, shoulder, elbow and ankle. When using Topaz to treat heel pain, a podiatrist uses a series of small punctures at appropriate locations in the foot. The doctor then slips the TOPAZ wand thru these punctures where radio frequency energy is applied on and around the affected tendon for 1/2-second duration treatments a quarter inch apart. Then, with every fourth application, the device is inserted deeper in the tendon until it reaches about one-quarter inch in depth.

The entire TOPAZ procedure typically takes less than 20 minutes and the patient is ready to leave the clinic once they recover from light anesthesia.

In Dr.Brosky’s study, patients who had not responded to conservative treatment were given Topaz. Then, he and his research team surveyed 100 of these patients to determine their satisfaction and level of success with Topaz. 

Of the 100 patients surveyed, 93 responded. When asked about pain levels during six-week postoperative period, 47 said they had no pain, 27 had mild pain and 18 said their pain level was moderate. More than 9 of 10 indicated they were happy with this procedure and would recommend it to a friend.

“The results of our survey indicate that many patients who undergo Topaz do very well, even when surveyed a year after the procedure,” Dr. Brosky said.

He said that almost eight of 10 patients said they could walk several blocks without pain after the surgery and that while 47 patients indicated they couldn’t run before the surgery, 65 said they could run afterward.
Brosky stressed that Topaz isn’t a first-line treatment for heel pain.

“All of the patients in the study had conservative treatment first such as ice, stretching, and over the counter pain relievers,” he said. 

Utilizing the science of Coblation technology, the TOPAZ MicroDebrider, was developed by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based ArthroCare Corp. Their website describes “TOPAZ as a quick, simple and minimally invasive medical technique now available for the treatment of tendons and fascia. The TOPAZ MicroDebrider utilizes patented Coblation® technology, designed to specifically treat tendons and fascia. To date, over 5 million Coblation procedures have been performed1. The TOPAZ technique has been associated with quick return to daily activities allowing for significant improvement in patient outcomes. Since obtaining original FDA clearance in 2002 and expanded indications for tendonotomy in 2005, TOPAZ has offered a minimally invasive alternative for thousands of patients for the treatment of tendons and fascia.”

The Topaz website offers a physician locater based on your Zip code.

Stretch EZ Perfect for Many Foot Problems

April 1, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Foot Care Products 

The Stretch EZ from OPTP

The Stretch EZ from OPTP

While aiding in physical mobility and flexibility, the Stretch EZ’s cradle design encompasses the foot allowing for a comfortable stretch to the foot, heel, Achilles tendon, hamstring, quadriceps, inner/outer thigh and calf. Made of a comfortable poly laminate and webbing, this unique stretching aide assists in the treatment of plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, calf, thigh, hip and low back strains and injuries. Strap loops allow for personal control of each stretch. For more information or to request a free catalog, visit the OPTP website. The cost is $29.95.

Could you use a towel? Sure. But the Stretch Ez holds the foot at the correct angle and exerts even tension across the whole foot.

I recommend this product if you are struggling with plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, calf, thigh, hip and low back strains and injuries.

OPTP (Orthopedic Physical Therapy Products) is a recognized leader in providing healthcare and fitness professionals with orthopedic, physical therapy, rehabilitation and fitness products. They offer balance equipment, prefect for building ankle strength, tapes, resistance exercise equipment and more. Check them out at their OPTP website.

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