On Ingrown Toenails…..

Unfortunately a relatively common injury due to the repeated stress of our pounding is an ingrown toenail.  It may be annoying and trivial at first, but it can get pretty serious and then as bad as requiring surgery later.  Again I turn to the pros who know more than I do on the subject.  According to local North NJ podiatrist Nicole Hayward:

“What Is an Ingrown Toenail?

When a toenail is ingrown, it is curved and grows into the skin, usually at the nail borders (the sides of the nail). This “digging in” of the nail irritates the skin, often creating pain, redness, swelling, and warmth in the toe.

If an ingrown nail causes a break in the skin, bacteria may enter and cause an infection in the area, which is often marked by drainage and a foul odor. However, even if the toe isn’t painful, red, swollen, or warm, a nail that curves downward into the skin can progress to an infection.

 

Causes
Causes of ingrown toenails include:

  • Heredity. In many people, the tendency for ingrown toenails is inherited.
  • Trauma. Sometimes an ingrown toenail is the result of trauma, such as stubbing your toe, having an object fall on your toe, or engaging in activities that involve repeated pressure on the toes, such as kicking or running.
  • Improper trimming. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is cutting your nails too short. This encourages the skin next to the nail to fold over the nail.
  • Improperly sized footwear. Ingrown toenails can result from wearing socks and shoes that are tight or short.
  • Nail Conditions. Ingrown toenails can be caused by nail problems, such as fungal infections or losing a nail due to trauma.

Treatment
Sometimes initial treatment for ingrown toenails can be safely performed at home. However, home treatment is strongly discouraged if an infection is suspected, or for those who have medical conditions that put feet at high risk, such as diabetes, nerve damage in the foot, or poor circulation.

Home care:
If you don’t have an infection or any of the above medical conditions, you can soak your foot in room-temperature water (adding Epsom’s salt may be recommended by your doctor), and gently massage the side of the nail fold to help reduce the inflammation.

Avoid attempting “bathroom surgery.” Repeated cutting of the nail can cause the condition to worsen over time. If your symptoms fail to improve, it’s time to see a foot and ankle surgeon.

Physician care:
After examining the toe, the foot and ankle surgeon will select the treatment best suited for you. If an infection is present, an oral antibiotic may be prescribed.

Sometimes a minor surgical procedure, often performed in the office, will ease the pain and remove the offending nail. After applying a local anesthetic, the doctor removes part of the nail’s side border. Some nails may become ingrown again, requiring removal of the nail root.

Following the nail procedure, a light bandage will be applied. Most people experience very little pain after surgery and may resume normal activity the next day. If your surgeon has prescribed an oral antibiotic, be sure to take all the medication, even if your symptoms have improved.

Preventing Ingrown Toenails
Many cases of ingrown toenails may be prevented by:

  • Proper trimming. Cut toenails in a fairly straight line, and don’t cut them too short. You should be able to get your fingernail under the sides and end of the nail.
  • Well-fitted shoes and socks. Don’t wear shoes that are short or tight in the toe area. Avoid shoes that are loose, because they too cause pressure on the toes, especially when running or walking briskly.
What You Should Know About Home Treatment 

  • Don’t cut a notch in the nail. Contrary to what some people believe, this does not reduce the tendency for the nail to curve downward.
  • Don’t repeatedly trim nail borders. Repeated trimming does not change the way the nail grows, and can make the condition worse.
  • Don’t place cotton under the nail. Not only does this not relieve the pain, it provides a place for harmful bacteria to grow, resulting in infection.
  • Over-the-counter medications are ineffective. Topical medications may mask the pain, but they don’t correct the underlying problem.”

On Ganglion Cysts….

We runners continually get odd injuries and one of them is a Ganglion Cyst.  According to my friend and runner personal trainer podiatrist Nicole Hayward: ”

What Is a Ganglion Cyst?

A ganglion cyst is a sac filled with a jellylike fluid that originates from a tendon sheath or joint capsule. The word “ganglion” means “knot” and is used to describe the knot-like mass or lump that forms below the surface of the skin.

Ganglion cysts are among the most common benign soft-tissue masses. Although they most often occur on the wrist, they also frequently develop on the foot – usually on the top, but elsewhere as well. Ganglion cysts vary in size, may get smaller and larger, and may even disappear completely, only to return later.

Causes
Although the exact cause of ganglion cysts is unknown, they may arise from trauma – whether a single event or repetitive micro-trauma.

Symptoms
A ganglion cyst is associated with one or more of the following symptoms:

  • A noticeable lump – often this is the only symptom experienced
  • Tingling or burning, if the cyst is touching a nerve
  • Dull pain or ache – which may indicate the cyst is pressing against a tendon or joint
  • Difficulty wearing shoes due to irritation between the lump and the shoe

Diagnosis
To diagnose a ganglion cyst, the foot and ankle surgeon will perform a thorough examination of the foot. The lump will be visually apparent and, when pressed in a certain way, it should move freely underneath the skin. Sometimes the surgeon will shine a light through the cyst or remove a small amount of fluid from the cyst for evaluation. Your doctor may take an x-ray, and in some cases additional imaging studies may be ordered.

Non-Surgical Treatment
There are various options for treating a ganglion cyst on the foot:

  • Monitoring, but no treatment. If the cyst causes no pain and does not interfere with walking, the surgeon may decide it is best to carefully watch the cyst over a period of time.
  • Shoe modifications. Wearing shoes that do not rub the cyst or cause irritation may be advised. In addition, placing a pad inside the shoe may help reduce pressure against the cyst.
  • Aspiration and injection. This technique involves draining the fluid and then injecting a steroid medication into the mass. More than one session may be needed. Although this approach is successful in some cases, in many others the cyst returns.

When is Surgery Needed?
When other treatment options fail or are not appropriate, the cyst may need to be surgically removed. While the recurrence rate associated with surgery is much lower than that experienced with aspiration and injection therapy, there are nevertheless cases in which the ganglion cyst returns.”

 

Thanks Nicole!!!!    Happy Running Everyone.   Please like my running coaching page:  Click Here

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On Leaving a Race….Quickly!

For those of you that like to race often enough, you probably know that the exit strategy to leave the race is almost as important as getting there on time.  I was talking to one of my runners who was caught in traffic yesterday after a race and that is what inspired me to write this post.  Who has finished their race only to then get stuck in traffic or in an indoor parking lot that is not open or forced to wait for buses or some transportation to get back to your car?

Stake out the race…

The first thing to do is get directions to the race so that you get there on time.  Then you need to know where to go after you get to the race location.   Get there early so that you can see where the bathrooms are, where the check in is and where the start line is.  Then see if you can relax and have a normal race day preparation.  If you are in a rush, obviously you would get nervous as you frantically have to do everything.

Also before the race….

As you park, note if your parking spot is within the race itself or within a loop of a 2nd race to follow or neither scenario.  If you are not so encircled and have time, aim your car in the exit direction as you park.  If there is a traffic jam it is a lot easier to pull into traffic instead of having to make a turn in any other direction.   Even if you have to park a mile away, what a great way to force yourself to warm up?

If you are stuck having to wait for a bus to the beginning or vice versa, you might just have to bite the bullet and have to wait in both directions.

Finally, the race comes and goes.  If you spend a lot of time talking or waiting for the medals, you might miss the traffic.  If you don’t and need to leave fast, if you have been careful, you should be able to get out more quickly than those who parked in a place they could not get out of……

Happy Running!

 

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On Track Workouts….

My old high school coach used to tell me: “You have to run faster to be able to run faster“. In the simplest terms, you have to train your legs to go faster so that you can break through your time barriers.  There are many types of workouts to help you get there, but today’s post is about track workouts.

Intervals…..

You may have heard about interval workouts.  Basically you run a set distance a certain amount of times with a set rest period.  You can do intervals practically anywhere you want.  However, a track is measured exactly right so that most intervals can be exactly measured.  Most tracks are 400 meters, so it is relatively easy to measure off most common distances.  One mile is approximately 1600m, so 4 laps is 1 mile and so forth.   Yes, it can get monotonous, but if you want to control certain parameters of your workout, a track can be your best tool to use for this purpose.

I’m Not That Fast….

As I always say, “There is NO slow – it is you vs. you”.   Therefore, do not get intimidated by the track.  People here track workouts and they imagine everyone running a 4 minute mile at the Olympics.  You can imagine it, but in the end it is you that has to execute the workout and 99.99% of us are not running in the Olympics.  I have met probably 1,000 runners in my life and only 2 have run in the Olympic trials and a 3rd just qualified for 2020 in the marathon.  So the track is where you run your speed to get things done.  Now that we have that part settled, your workout may be slower than other people, but if you are running faster than usual, you are getting the benefit of a track workout.

Get Used to Running Faster….

The beauty of the track is that you are running faster than you are used to, but for much shorter distances.   You develop your fast twitch muscles and those muscles help you run faster when you need them to.   Depending on your goals, you can do practically any interval to help you get a faster time.  If you only run 1 speed continually every day, you are not going to improve your speed by much.

So again – you need to run faster to run faster…..  so incorporate workouts to do this.  Don’t be scared off by the track….you can use it to get to where you want to be.

Happy Running!

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Why Do You Run?

People ask me all the time why I like running.  While everyone has their own reasons, my main one is that I really like to do it….and with people!  I love to run with people – it is a social thing I like to do and I look forward to my runs, once I get started (I do admit that sometimes half the battle is getting out of bed!)  The relationships I have made are worth every mile.

Why do I run?  I love the feeling I get at the end of the run, especially if I finish strongly after a short or long run and the satisfaction of finishing.

Why do I run?  I like how I feel when I’m in good shape, especially after a few good weeks of running.

Why do I run?  It is cool to be able to help other people with running as a coach or a volunteer coach for the town XC team and as a volunteer coach for my church.

Why do I run?  I do feel good when people ask me how many marathons I run and I tell them 23…. and the response I usually get.  I do like how I then tell them how I met a 74 year old runner who had run well over 150 marathons.

Why do I run?  I love the hot shower after a cold frigid weather run.

Why do I run?  I enjoy the priceless moments when my teen daughter asks me to run with her.

Why do I run?  I like the feeling of getting new sneakers…   and donating the old ones…

WHY DO YOU RUN?

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On Achilles Tendinitis

Here is our 3rd in our series of nagging running injuries.  Again, I turn to my PT friend Jessica Garcia to help us with Achilles tendinitis…..

“Three blogs, three lower leg injuries, what’s up with that? While it may seem like overkill, those of us in the field of physical therapy have frequently heard the saying, “when the feet hit the ground”. The importance of this lies in the fact that as the first contact point to the ground, the feet and ankles help dictate lower extremity biomechanics. When searching for factors that may have contributed to any running injury a good starting point is the foot. Injuries march along what is referred to as the “kinetic chain”. Each runner is unique and thus the specific location for an overuse injury is determined by a multitude of factors (e.g., genetics, previous injuries, training factors, etc.) meaning that there is not an etched-in-stone-overuse-injury-sequence through which all runners’ progress. As such it is a good idea for runners to become aware of regions of the body that may become affected and learn a little about the specifics in each region. Knowledge and early warning are a runner’s best friends. So let’s look at one lower leg culprit……Achilles Tendonitis.

The Achilles is the large tendon connecting the two major calf muscles to the back of the heel bone. Under too much stress, the tendon tightens and is forced to work too hard. This causes it to become inflamed (tendonitis), and, over time, can produce a covering of scar tissue, which is less flexible than the tendon. If the inflamed Achilles continues to be stressed, it can tear or rupture.

Achilles tendinitis is typically not related to a specific injury. The problem results from repetitive stress to the tendon. This often happens when we push our bodies to do too much, too soon, but other factors can make it more likely to develop tendinitis. These factors include tight or weak calf muscle, unsupportive footwear, too quick of an increase in volume /intensity/hills or a bone spur that has developed where the tendon attaches to the heel bone. Correction and prevention of this condition require addressing these factors.

The classic symptom is pain along the back of the tendon especially close to the heel but there may also be limited ankle flexibility, swelling that is present all the time and gets worse throughout the day with activity, redness over the painful area, a nodule (scar tissue) that can be felt on the tendon, or a cracking sound (scar tissue rubbing against the tendon) when the ankle moves. It is also typical to notice pain and stiffness when you first get up & when you first begin your run and severe pain the day after exercise. If you have experienced a sudden “pop” in the back of your calf or heel, you may have ruptured (torn) your Achilles tendon.

As always it comes back to the million dollar question: To Run or Not To Run and unfortunately there is no easy answer. So again we will use a spectrum to help our decision making.

Red (stop): Severe pain/swelling above heel, pain standing up on your toes

Yellow (caution): Dull pain around heel at end of run, lingers after but goes away with ice

Green (go): No pain when you pinch the tendon

If symptoms persist you can begin self-treatment using RICE the well-known and frequently disliked mnemonic for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. If injury doesn’t respond in two weeks it might be a good idea to see a physical therapist or orthopedic surgeon. In most cases, conservative treatment options will provide pain relief, although it may take a few months for symptoms to completely subside. Even with early treatment, the pain may last longer than 3 months so as difficult as it may be patience is a must.”

Thanks again!  Jessica works at Ultimate Motion, located in the Gold’s Gym in Paramus, NJ.   I am proud to have surrounded myself with professionals who have helped me with my running coaching and personal running.    For more information, please go to my Facebook page:   Click Here

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Where Have You Been?

You are questioning yourself…..  Those doubts…. I was injured and how can I come back?  I gained weight – how can I come back?  I was faster when I was 23 yrs old – how can I come back?  I am getting old – can I continue this?

Running is for FUN

We have to take stock sometimes that running is for FUN – the pressure we put on ourselves for PRs and records and statistics is meaningless if running has become a job to you.  Has it?

Everyone Has a Story

Your story may have been weight loss or disease or whatever inspired you in the 1st place.  Reach back to that place and get your inspiration back.  You did it before and you can do it again.  What is stopping you?

Just do it – this is your chance to get back what you had before.  You may not be what you were, but who cares….you are better than the original and that’s where you need to aspire to be.

Happy Running

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