Good Luck WS100 Runners

June 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Footcare, Sports 

Years ago, back in the late 80’s, I has the good fortune to run the Western States 100 Endurance Run four times.  While I never earned the silver buckle, I had respectable times: 26:32, 26:00, and 24:32. The fourth time, I pulled myself at Rucky Chucky. I always did my training in the Ohlone Wilderness, Lake Chabot, and Mt. Diablo.

My third time, when I missed the silver buckle by 32 minutes, I never should have finished. My training for the six months before the race was only 750 miles! I was 250th into Robinson Flat and 100th at the finish line. Between the two,  no one passed me and I passed everyone I could. My pacer and I had a great night run, picking people off as we ran. I thought I had a shot at 24 hours, but when I got to Highway 49, I knew I would fall short.

So it is with those memories that I wish everyone at Western States the best of luck for a safe and fun run.

I’ll be doing foot care at Michigan Bluff and then Sunday morning at the finish line. I hope some of you crewing will have the opportunity to stop by medical at Michigan Bluff and say hi. If you are running the race, I hope you can run past with great looking feet.

But if you need help with blisters or any foot related care, I’ll be there.

Fixing Your Feet makes The Washington Post!

June 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Foot Care, Footcare, toenails 

Several weeks ago I was interviewed by Gabriella Boston, a reporter for The Washington Post. She emailed me asking whether I was available and when could we talk. When she called we talked for about an hour. She asked all kinds of questions about foot care based on my experiences for runners.

The article came out on the 17th and is worth reading. The title is How Runners Can Keep Their Feet Happy. Sections include, run training, proper footwear, cross training, and foot care. Gabriella interviewed two podiatrists, a physical therapist, and me. Fixing Your Feet is also mentioned in the article. Click on the link in the paragraph above to read the full article. My bet is that you’ll learn something new.

Runners Should Pay Attention to Foot Care

June 16, 2014 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Footcare, Health, Sports 

I’ve been on vacation much of the past two weeks and given my time away, have turned to a good friend, Alene Nitzky, an experienced and well qualified ultra runner who wrote an article published at the Coloradoan website. You have heard me go on and on about the importance of god foot care. Here’s another slant, from an ultra runner who has run Badwater and many other ultras.

Alene Nitzky

Alene Nitzky

Runners spend all kinds of money on entry fees, clothing, travel to races, nutritional supplements and race foods. They spend all kinds of time on training, body work, stretching, weight training or cross training.

They worry about their weight, hydration, nutrition, sleep, and preparing for race-day conditions. And most of all, they obsess about finding the right shoe.

But in all this obsession, the two things they forget are the most essential tools they have to carry them from start to finish and go into those expensive running shoes.

Their feet.

Your feet are your base of support. They are the vehicle that carries you forward and through the distance. You can’t run without them. So why do so many runners neglect them?

You can do all the right training and preparation, wear the right shoes and gear, but if your feet fail you, it can ruin months of hard work.

The problem is lack of foot care. Blisters are just a symptom of the problem. Friction and moisture are the two culprits in creating blisters. Improper hydration plays an important role, too.

Blisters are caused by layers of skin and fabric or debris trapped inside the shoe or sock, combined with friction from running motion. Creases in socks, rough edges inside shoes, and dirt contribute to these rough spots. Calluses that are allowed to develop on feet and are not removed can lead to deep, painful blisters. Rough or jagged toenails can catch on socks, causing the fabric to bunch and rub against the toes.

The role of hydration, especially too little sodium relative to fluid intake, also contributes to blistering. Fluid travels out of the blood vessels into the tissues and separates layers of skin, making shoes tight and contributing to more friction. Check your hands while running. If your hands are swollen, your feet are swollen, too. Popular sports drinks often don’t have enough sodium to replace what is lost during long, hot weather events.

Regular pedicures are helpful. If you don’t want nail polish and all the extras, you can do much of it yourself. Softening and removing calluses over time reduces the likelihood of blisters under these trouble spots. Soften rough, dry spots with lotion when you’re not out running. Keep your toenails trimmed and filed. Underneath the ball of the foot, most people don’t realize they have callouses, and these are a common trouble spot.

Moisture is another problem, even in our dry climate. If you are running trails with stream crossings or crossing snow banks at high altitude, you are also at risk for developing blisters. But even without water crossings, your feet sweat, and moisture in socks and shoes can become a problem.

Keeping your feet as dry as possible helps. If you have a dry pair of shoes and socks to change into after the stream crossings are behind you, that will help.

Use a good sock that wicks moisture away. There are many different brands at specialty running stores. Keep your shoes and socks clean. If you’re running a road marathon, don’t race in shoes or socks you wore on trails. The dirt will stay inside and cause friction.

A foot kit should be part of every runner’s supplies. You can learn how to give yourself a pedicure, how to stock a foot kit and tips for avoiding blisters and other foot problems by doing some research.

Band-Aids are fine for knees and hands, or even on feet that aren’t being used, but they are not meant for use on feet while running. They don’t hold up to friction, moisture and shearing. The Band-Aid will soon bunch up and crease, and any dirt in your shoes and socks will stick to them, causing more friction.

Two excellent resources for learning how to take care of your feet are John Vonhof’s book, Fixing Your Feet, 5th Edition, Wilderness Press, 2011, and website fixingyourfeet.com. You can also get a free subscription to his fixing your feet blog with helpful tips.

Alene Nitzky, Ph.D.,RN is a health coach and cancer exercise trainer. Her website is Sunspirit Wellness Services.  She has been running ultramarathons since 1991. Her blog is Journey to Badwater

I encourage you to check out Alene’s websites. She’s a great person with a big heart.

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