On Bunions…..

Here continues my series on foot problems, many of which are made worse by ill-fitting shoes and affect runners.  I surround myself with professionals that help me help the athletes I coach and that I run with.  Thanks again Nicole Hayward:

“Even though bunions are a common foot deformity, there are misconceptions about them. Many people may unnecessarily suffer the pain of bunions for years before seeking treatment.

What is a bunion?

A bunion (also referred to as hallux valgus or hallux abducto valgus) is often described as a bump on the side of the big toe. But a bunion is more than that. The visible bump actually reflects changes in the bony framework of the front part of the foot. The big toe leans toward the second toe, rather than pointing straight ahead. This throws the bones out of alignment – producing the bunion’s “bump.”

Bunions are a progressive disorder. They begin with a leaning of the big toe, gradually changing the angle of the bones over the years and slowly producing the characteristic bump, which becomes increasingly prominent. Symptoms usually appear at later stages, although some people never have symptoms.

Causes
Bunions are most often caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. It is not the bunion itself that is inherited, but certain foot types that make a person prone to developing a bunion.

Although wearing shoes that crowd the toes won’t actually cause bunions, it sometimes makes the deformity get progressively worse. Symptoms may therefore appear sooner.

Symptoms
Symptoms, which occur at the site of the bunion, may include:

  • Pain or soreness
  • Inflammation and redness
  • A burning sensation
  • Possible numbness

Symptoms occur most often when wearing shoes that crowd the toes, such as shoes with a tight toe box or high heels. This may explain why women are more likely to have symptoms than men. In addition, spending long periods of time on your feet can aggravate the symptoms of bunions.

Diagnosis
Bunions are readily apparent – the prominence is visible at the base of the big toe or side of the foot. However, to fully evaluate the condition, the foot and ankle surgeon may take x-rays to determine the degree of the deformity and assess the changes that have occurred.

Because bunions are progressive, they don’t go away, and will usually get worse over time. But not all cases are alike – some bunions progress more rapidly than others. Once your surgeon has evaluated your bunion, a treatment plan can be developed that is suited to your needs.

Non-Surgical Treatment
Sometimes observation of the bunion is all that’s needed. To reduce the chance of damage to the joint, periodic evaluation and x-rays by your surgeon are advised.

In many other cases, however, some type of treatment is needed. Early treatments are aimed at easing the pain of bunions, but they won’t reverse the deformity itself. These include:

  • Wearing the right kind of shoes is very important. Choose shoes that have a wide toe box and forgo those with pointed toes or high heels which may aggravate the condition.
  • Pads placed over the area of the bunion can help minimize pain. These can be obtained from your surgeon or purchased at a drug store.
  • Avoid activity that causes bunion pain, including standing for long periods of time.
  • Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Applying an ice pack several times a day helps reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Although rarely used in bunion treatment, injections of corticosteroids may be useful in treating the inflamed bursa (fluid-filled sac located around a joint) sometimes seen with bunions.
  • In some cases, custom orthotic devices may be provided by the foot and ankle surgeon.

When Is Surgery Needed?
If non-surgical treatments fail to relieve bunion pain and when the pain of a bunion interferes with daily activities, it’s time to discuss surgical options with a foot and ankle surgeon. Together you can decide if surgery is best for you.

A variety of surgical procedures is available to treat bunions. The procedures are designed to remove the “bump” of bone, correct the changes in the bony structure of the foot, and correct soft tissue changes that may also have occurred. The goal of surgery is the reduction of pain.

In selecting the procedure or combination of procedures for your particular case, the foot and ankle surgeon will take into consideration the extent of your deformity based on the x-ray findings, your age, your activity level, and other factors. The length of the recovery period will vary, depending on the procedure or procedures performed.”

Thanks again Nicole!!  For more free helpful running information, please go to my FB page:  Click Here

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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.”

Winter IS Half OVER!

Do you realize that winter is half over?  That means 2 things.  Yes, we have a few more weeks of cold weather, snow and black ice to deal with.  But it also means that you are suddenly that much closer to your 5K or whatever race you have been planning for this year!  Do you have a plan?  Are you executing your plan? Are you ready to commit?

February, 2017

This is the key month to your winter training.  This is when you get your schedule together, run your base miles and also make sure you have all your gear ready to go for the year.  Do you need to order new supplements?  Do you need new shoes?  Did you plan out your running schedule?

March, 2017

Your spring races should be on your calendar.   Everything should be ready to go.  If you don’t have a schedule yet, this is the time to get one immediately.  If you can’t plan on your own, are you ready to hire a coach to help you or join a local team or club?  For the beginner, did you find your couch to 5K program yet?

April, 2017

Your races are already here!  Did you plan and execute your plan properly?  Only you will know at this point.  The rest of the year lies ahead and all I can ask at this point is, “Are you ready?”

Happy Running

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aaaready-to-run

On Vacations……

Vacations…..a time to relax…hang out with your friends…go to the beach with the family.  Very tempting to take the whole week off and not run a single step.  It’s easy to sleep in….sleep…so many excuses.  Actually, there are no excuses – so we’ll go over them:

  1. I want to sleep in – Please do and run every other day.  There is no one telling you that you need to run all 6 days, etc. of your vacation.  Make it your cycle down week. Or make it your mandatory week off after a long training period.
  2. I don’t want to wake the kids – That is no excuse – just have your stuff ready to go in the hotel bathroom so that you go in, change and sneak out
  3. There is nowhere to run – Yea, sure…  at the very least, you have the treadmill.  But almost every hotel will give you preprinted directions for running loops.  Or use an online map app like MapMyRun….most of them have the trails marked out.
  4. I don’t want to get lost – Just go out and back….or follow a train line or something to lead you out and back
  5. I don’t want to run by myself– almost every county in the US and most major world cities have a running community – do a little research, find a local running club or meet-up group and contact them….you’ll find someone.  Or just be friendly at the resort or hotel; usually the other runners are also looking for company
  6. I’m on a boat – most ships have a running ‘track’ around the smokestack, or like on a Disney ship, one whole deck is marked for running from like 6AM-9AM
  7. I don’t want to bring too many things – really? All you need are your sneakers, socks, watch and 1 outfit.  Every day after you run you can hand wash it and let it dry overnight and you are good to go the next day
  8. I need to run 6 x 400m, etc. – Mark whatever distance out on the street or parking lot or nearby dead end road on MapMyRun or your GPS.  Then if you are a tad off, who cares?  It is your workout and your effort, so you can approximate

There are many more excuses and I encourage you to ask me for solutions, but it all comes down to planning effectively – if you are ready, you will run – anywhere.  Be safe and carry your cell phone in case of emergency; anything you should normally do at home.

Happy Running

#noexcuses #vacation #running #holiday #running @#runningtips

vacation-runners

 

 

 

 

Salves & Lotions, Blisters and Chafing….

Almost anyone who has run for more than 2 days has experienced some issues with their skin.  Whether it is an annoying blister or a chafing spot or a sunburn, it is just that – annoying, and in some cases, really painful!

Let’s start with the basics.  If it is sunny and you have direct sunlight on your skin, please wear suntan lotion.  This is magnified if you have fair skin and if you are running long distances.  Wear a hat if needed and don’t forget to put lotion on your face. And this is not just for the summer – any sun, especially over many years, is not good for the skin.

For extreme cold weather, you might want to also put a skin cream/lotion on exposed skin to ward off windy conditions and to keep your skin moist.  People can get a burn from cold wind in the winter.

Any spot that is rubbed over and over again can chafe and get inflamed.  For me, I use Aquaphor bu Eucerin for tender areas:  the groin, between my toes, under my foot, my lower back and my nipples.  For men, believe it or not, you can get bloody nipples after extended long runs.  For women, it is mostly the same areas except under the sports bra area, where it can rub rather than in front.

Say it does not become red, but actually becomes a blister.   With a sterilized needle, lance the blister at 1 extreme end and push the fluid out.  Do not remove the skin – the skin underneath is new and thin and won’t get better with more exercise anytime soon.  The dead old skin eventually falls off and you are good to go.  If you are lucky, it becomes thicker, like a callous, and it becomes harder to blister in the future.

If you repeatedly get blisters on your feet, consider new non-cotton socks first and then new sneakers.  When you get new sneakers, make sure you break them in first so that you don’t get blisters from tight shoes. Make sure you keep your nails clipped.  The tiniest jagged edge can cause a small cut or blister during an extended run or race.

Lastly, just take stock of the situation – if the skin is inflamed or seems infected, get it treated by a professional.  All these methods I discussed are just for your basic skin issues.

Happy Running!

#running #runningtips #weather #blisters #skinissues  http://eepurl.com/bQoaBz

Foot  blisters

 

 

 

 

 

On Running Gear….

A short one today – the weather in the Northeast has been exceptionally warm….for winter!  The lesson of the day is what I always tell people:  You can always bring it with you and take it off, but if you are cold and 5 miles from your house, you can’t make it materialize.

In the cold weather, make sure you dress in layers.   Your inner layer should be of a wicking material – to bring the moisture from your sweat away from your body.  Then, depending on how cold it is, have 1-2 middle layers followed by an external windbreaker.  Top it off with earmuffs and hat, add gloves and include tights, and you are on your way.  There are many brands – this is not going to be a long post on brands – but try on ones for comfort and utility.

In the warmer months, make sure you dress lightly – and at the same time make sure you wear appropriate suntan lotion over exposed areas.

That’s it for this week – Happy Running this weekend….

#running #weather     http://eepurl.com/bQoaBz

running clothes

 

On Running Watches….

Running watches…so many to chose from….many brands, large face, small face, GPS, non-GPS, links to computer, links to your phone, stores splits, links to certain programs, has a heart rate monitor….aaah

Just figure out what you need.  For instance I need a running watch with a GPS that will show me my average speed, gives me mile splits, synchronizes to my computer, is comfortable, easy to use and rechargeable, with a minimum life over 5 hours.   But again, that’s what I need.  Let’s go over some simple things that you may or may not need:

  1. Charging – do you want to replace your battery every couple of weeks?
  2. GPS – this will track where you go and how far and usually will also give you your pace
  3. Synchronization – some watches just store the last few runs on the watch itself. Others can link to your computer and still other right to your phone.  Once the information is on your device, you have a history by date and you can track your progress.
  4. Heart Rate Monitor – if you want to track your effort via heart rate, there are many out there.  Some include a band around your chest.
  5. Splits – be able to time each interval during a track workout by hand clicking your start/stop times like a specific stopwatch
  6. Programmable – watches will allow you to link to the correct time zone and even switch from km to miles and vice versa
  7. Pacing – you can program your watch to virtually race you during a run, tracking your progress against a computer figure on the watch
  8. Apps – you can download an app to your phone that does everything a watch does – however, most phones are just bigger so harder to carry, even if you put it around your arm or clip on your waist

These are just some of the main features.  Some watches can track swims and bicycling so are for triathlons.  They can get wet at deeper depths and track transition times.

Either way, don’t spend money for extra bells and whistles if you won’t use them.  Figure out what you need and focus on that.  You are spending your money so don’t fall for whatever everyone else has.  If you need high-level capability, then go for it!

Happy Running!

#running #runningwatch

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Running Watch