Radiation Therapy Eases Foot Pain

October 22, 2012 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Foot Care, Health, Sports 

A new study conducted by researchers at Saarland University Medical Center in Germany focused on patients suffering from chronic bone heel spurs. The study showed that radiation therapy provided relief.

With millions of American suffering from heel pain, commonly often diagnosed as plantar fasciitis, this could be a new form of treatment. Plantar fasciitis is a common problem for athletes – with some dealing with it for years and others never beating it.

Plantar fasciitis (PF) is best described as an inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot running from the heel to the toes. Those with a severe case of PF often experience extreme pain and it often compromises their ability to walk and stand. It is often most problematic in the morning.

The Saarland study looked at 62 patients followed for one year. Twenty-nine received a standard dose ot radiation therapy, and 33 received a low dose. The radiation therapy used was external bean radiation that delivers radiation only at a specific part of the body.

The patients receiving the standard radiation dose found pain relief to be “highly significantly superior” and of the 29 patients receiving this dose, 80% had complete pain relief. The pain relief continued or improved for as long as 48 weeks after their treatment.

Dr. Marcus Niewald, a radiation oncologist at Saarland said that, “Radiation therapy has been used for its anti-inflammatory effect for more than 60 years.” Researchers are, “… extremely encouraged by the results of the study because evidence of improved quality of life for patients in clearly evident with the standard radiation dose.”

The study also found no acute side effect or long-term toxicity from the radiation therapy.

The study was published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology.

If you suffer from chronic plantar fasciitis, ask your podiatrist or doctor to research this study and see if it could be beneficial for you.

 

Foot Fetish

October 14, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Foot Care, Health 

I have always liked the prose “Foot Fetish” that Lisa BUtler, an ultrarunner, wrote about feet. I have included it at the front of each edition of Fixing Your Feet since the 3rd edition.  It’s short, but relevant to those of us who love sports. Here’s what Lisa wrote:

My feet are runner’s feet;
a little rough around the edges,
with black nails on the toes where I have nails at all
Lovingly decorated with bright colors.

My toes are warriors, of a sort.
They carry the entire continent of my body on adventures
and rise to challenges that could crush them.
Some days they are worn and calloused,
but they are strong and fierce adversaries for the
rocks they overtake.

My arches are the springboard of my soul.
They give me lift with every step I take
and cushion all my landings.
They are always ready
when I want to jump for joy.

My heels respond when the shepherd
of my spirit nips at them to run.
They strike again and again,
to thwart frustration,
to redeem the day.

My feet are runner’s feet;
a little rough around the edges,
but they are strong
and they are willing
and oh, I love them.

~ Lisa Butler, Ultrarunner

Adventure racer's feet from Raid the North Extreme

Adventure racer’s feet from Raid the North Extreme

Spartathlon Feet

October 6, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Health 

Several years ago I met Gregg at Badwater in Death Valley. We were in line to check in at Furnace Creek and I heard the last name. It was the same as an aunt of mine. Turns out we are related.

At Badwater he ran well and finished near the top. Later that year, he and his wife moved to Asia and I had not heard from him – until the other day. He sent an email about running the Spartathlon in Greece. It’s a 246-kilometer (153 mile) race between Athens and Sparta. The Spartathlon aims to trace the footsteps of Pheidippides, an Athenian messenger sent to Sparta in 490 BC to seek help against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon. Here’s his email:

I just finished running Spartathlon. It was nearly as hot as Badwater (100.4), ok maybe not as hot as Badwater, but it was far to hot for this race, considering it is normally 86. The race by the way is fantastic; I would highly recommend that you make a trip out there if you get the chance.

So, I took a photo of my feet after the race and thought you might like the photo, being that you are the foot guy. Might make for a good example. The blister appeared to start from underneath the pad of my foot by my big toe. The pressure built up so much that it formed the blister on top of my foot as well – as you can see from the photo. Pretty cool if you ask me. I probably ran with it for 50 miles, since I didn’t change my shoes and didn’t feel like taking them off. They lanced it when I finished… as I was receiving two bags of IV fluid. Haven’t had any problems with it since, although it has taken a few days for the pressure under my foot to slowly recede.

Spartathlon Feet

Spartathlon Feet

As you can see in the photo, there is blood in the blister. Here’s where you have to be careful and take precautions to prevent infection. I don’t encourage people to lance these on their own, but in aid stations with the right equipment and knowledge, it can be done. When I do it, I always give the athlete the warning signs of infection: redness, warm to the touch, pain, fever, pus, and swelling. If you have a blood blister, be careful.

Really though, Gregg’s feet look pretty good for just having run 153 miles. Don’t you agree?

%d bloggers like this: