Learning from Taped Feet at Barkley

April 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Health 

When Geoff Baker sent me a few photos of feet, which he took at this year’s Barkley, I found two jewels. The composition of Brett Maune’s feet in the two photos after winning the race is great.

Brett Maune's Feet after winning Barkley

Brett Maune's Feet after winning Barkley

The first photo shows Brett removing tape from his feet. The condition of his feet and legs is rough. Note the light skin on the heel where he’s removing tape. Another light strip of skin is shown on the bottom of the big toe. A strip of tape is still evident on the inside of the right foot.

Winning Feet

Winning Feet

The second photo is a great example that Brett knows his feet well. All the light spots on the bottom and sides of the feet are places where he applied Leukotape. He knew where his feet were vulnerable and he applied just enough tape to protect the skin and tissue in those areas. From all appearances, it worked.

Years ago, a good friend and renown ultrarunner, Dick Collins, told me to never put anything on or around your feet that was un-necessary. His theory, that I support, is that anything that adds bulk can be bad.

That’s why I frown on using moleskin, gauze and soft foam with cutouts over blisters. They all add bulk. When the runner takes off after the patching, his feet feel tight in his shoes because of the added “stuff” in the shoe. This often adds even more pressure on the blistered area, making it more uncomfortable that before. This can easily change the runners gait and this affect continues up the leg to the knee, the hip and the spine.

I commend Brett for winning the Barkley and for knowing how to care for his feet. We can learn from Brett. In short, pre-tape where you need it.

To view a photo montage of images from Barkley, check out The Barkley: Bad Things Happen.

Here is Geoff’s contact information:  Geoffrey Baker Photography.


Can You Find the Shoes?

April 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footwear 

Yesterday I volunteered at the Northern California Survivor Mud Run. I spent seven hours manning the cargo net with Omar, another volunteer. We managed over 5000 runners as they went up and over a 14-foot high cargo net. Runners wore running shoes and a lot had Vibram Five Fingers. Only one guy was barefoot.

Once they passed us, they went through a water station before making their way through an irrigation ditch filled with muddy clay. I watched some of them coming through the ditch and took a few pictures.

Muddy Shoes

Muddy Shoes

Look at these pictures and see if you can find the shoes! Our area has great soft dirt. Five miles down the road where the race was held, was muddy clay.

The end of the 3.47-mile course was totally mud. The runners were immersed in mud up to their necks as they crawled through mud pits.

So, back to the shoes.

Muddy Shoes 2

Muddy Shoes 2

The runners could hose off at the end of the race. And if they wanted, they could toss their shoes in containers where they would be cleaned and donated to a shelter.

So imagine the shoes pictured here were yours.

How many washings would it take to get rid of the mud? Would the washing and mud adversely affect the integrity of the shoe and its stitching? These types of events are becoming more and more popular. People love the challenge of an obstacle course run with friends. They have fun.

My advice if you are going to run one of these – wear old shoes and toss them in the bucket afterwards.

Feet from the Barkley Marathon

April 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Sports 

The Barkley Marathon is considered one of the toughest 100-mile races in the world. It has 59,100 feet of climb (and 59,100 feet of descent), more than any other 100-mile race. Since the race began in 1986, only 13 runners out of about 900 have finished within the 60-hour cutoff.

The Barkley consists of 5 20-mile loops with no aid except for water at two points. The cutoffs for the 100 mile race are 12 hours per loop. The 60 mile “fun run” has a cutoff of 40 hours, or 13:20 per loop. To prove you completed each loop, you must find 9 to 11 books (varies) at various points along the course and return a page from each book.

I read a few of the reports of this year’s race held on March 31 and I looked through hundreds of race photos taken by Geoff Baker. Geoff was kind enough to send me a few photos of feet – and legs from Barkleys. Here is Geoff’s contact information. Geoffrey Baker Photography. and a page from his website showing the competitors – ‘Out There’ at the Barkley: Portraits From the Edge of Endurance.

Thanks Geoff. And now, here are a few photos.

Forced To Quit

Forced To Quit

Barkley Feet

Barkley Feet









Three Lap Legs

Three Lap Legs













The legs tell a story

The legs tell a story



Holey Socks?

April 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footwear Products, Sports 

I just had to share this photo. A few weeks ago I worked at the 21-mile aid station at the Oakland Marathon, which was also the eight-mile aid station for the half-marathon.

Back in the 80’s I ran the old Oakland Marathon and after a few years the event died. Then three years ago, Coorigan Sports took resurrected the run.

So on a Sunday morning, we set up the medical tent. It was me and six nurses from the Alameda County Medical Center. We stood outside the tent and watched the runners and walkers coming by.

I brought my foot care kit in case a runner needed help. I actually got quite a bit of business. The usual hot spot and blister care.

Then a young lady stopped. She wanted a blister patched.

She was wearing two pairs of socks. She took off her socks and I made the necessary blister repairs.

Are these your socks?

Are these your socks?

Then I helped put on her socks. Look closely at this picture and you’ll see the the threadbare sock under the ball of the foot. The rest of the bottom of the sock is so thin you can almost see through the fabric.

I told her she needed to toss the socks and gave her a few tips on socks.

It bothers me to see runners and walkers spend money on a race, wear good shoes and the right running clothes, and forget something so simple as a good pair of socks.

Please, take a minute and check your socks. If you have any like this, toss them.

You’ll be doing yourself a favor.

Study: Barefoot Running Less Efficient Than Lightweight Shoes 

April 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footwear, Health, Sports 

Source: SportsOneSource Media

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder, running shoes make running physiologically easier than going barefoot. The study, published online in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, began by recruiting 12 well-trained male runners with extensive barefoot running experience.

The New York Times indicated that a few previous studies have indicated that it’s easier to go barefoot in terms of physiological effort since more effort is required to handle the extra weight of a shoe.

In the new study, runners were asked to run multiple times on treadmills while either wearing shoes (the Nike Mayfly at 150 grams) or unshod. When unshod, runners wore thin yoga socks to protect them from developing blisters and for hygiene purposes for the treadmills. Next, according to the Times’ article, 150 grams’ worth of thin lead strips were taped to the top of runners’ stockinged feet. Adding an equal amount of weight to the bare foot promised to reveal whether barefoot running was physiologically more efficient than wearing shoes.

Researchers found that when barefoot runners and shod runners carried the same weight on their feet, barefoot running used almost 4 percent more energy during every step than running in shoes.

“What we found was that there seem to be adaptations that occur during the running stride that can make wearing shoes metabolically less costly,” Jason R. Franz, a doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado who led the study, told the Times. The researchers believe that when barefoot, forces generated by the collision of food and ground shift to the leg muscles absent the cushioning provided by shoes.

Moreover, the study found that even when unweighted barefoot running was compared foot-to-foot with running in the Mayflies, 8 of the 12 runners were slightly more efficient wearing shoes, even though they added more weight.

The study only looked only at the metabolic efficiency of wearing shoes, versus not. The scientists didn’t evaluate whether barefoot running lowers injury risk.

The Times article concluded, that “serious racers might want to mull over the trade-off between having less mass on their feet when barefoot versus having greater potential strain on their leg muscles.”

But for the average runner, Dr. Franz recommends that a more lightweight model might be better for many given that some cushioning spare leg muscles from extra train yet avoids the metabolic cost to wearing heavy running shoes.

Related Links: Making the Case for Running Shoes

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