Tag Archives: Shoes

Best New Running Shoes for 2014

11 Apr

For all of you runners, spring means that it’s time to shop for new running shoes.

(a note from our docs: please don’t wear last years’ shoes, as they’re probably too worn down to support your feet correctly.) Here are the best shoes for the money for 2014, courtesy of Runner’s World magazine:

Top 3 new running shoes for Men:

adidassuperglide6mar600x600_0Adidas Supernova Glide 6, $130
Top-of-the-line cushioning designed for the long run.

brookspureflow3mar600x600Brooks Pureflow 3, $100
Excellent cushioning, smooth landing.

uaapollomar600x600Under Armour Speedform Apollo, $100
Exciting new shoe worth a look on race day.

 

Top 3 new running shoes for Women:

womens adidassupernovaglide6fem600x600Adidas Supernova Glide 6, $130
Sturdy trainer with a smooth heel-first landing and springy underfoot.

womens brookspureflow3fem600x600Brooks Pureflow 3, $100
Bargain priced trainer that handles a lot of miles.

uaspeedformapollofem600x600Under Armour Speedform Apollo, $100
Puts your foot close to the ground, but heel cushioning is soft.

That’s right, same shoes for men and women this year.

Remember these tips when choosing a new running shoe

Make sure it fits
The shoe should never slide on your foot – up, down, or sideways. Conversely, it should also not be too tight. It should be “just right” when you put it on.

Are your feet the same as last year?
In other words, do you have any new pain, aches, soreness or fatigue where you weren’t experiencing it before? If so, see your podiatrist for an exam. If you’re developing any problems, they can create a custom orthotic insole for you so that you can keep running.

Remember, it’s best to take simple steps to prevent sports injuries, rather than injuring yourself and sitting out the season.

Here are more tips on choosing the right running shoe.

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Buying Athletic Shoes For Kids: Avoid Hand-Me-Downs

22 Aug

athletic shoes kidsIt’s true that every parent with young children wants to save a buck wherever possible. You might be tempted to hand down your 12 year old’s outgrown shoes to your 10 year old, but you might want to think twice before doing that, especially when it comes to athletic shoes.

Sneakers, cleats, and any shoes made for athletic training need to fit every foot correctly. Considering the heavy beating a foot takes when they’re in these shoes, this is not an area to skimp. Your child will be running, jumping, and kicking, and their feet require padding and comfort to not only perform as well as possible, but to protect their feet from injury. Athletic shoes that are too tight will create blisters, corns, calluses, redness, sores, or ingrown toenails. Those that are too loose will allow the foot to slide, putting undue stress on the toes.

Hand-me-downs also may provide less support for the arch and heel than what’s needed. “Shoes lose their shock absorption over time, and wear and tear around the edges of the sole usually indicates it’s worn out and should be replaced.”, notes Dr Teichman at PA Foot and Ankle Associates. “If a child keeps wearing worn-out or non-supportive dress or athletic shoes, it elevates the risk for developing heel pain, Achilles tendonitis and even ankle sprains and stress fractures.”

When you’re buying new shoes for your child, make sure they’re not too tight, and resist the urge to buy a pair that are slightly large, believing that your child will “grow into them”. And with the innovations in shoe design and construction, modern materials don’t need to “break-in”, like they did years ago.

How to know if the shoe is right for your child:

  • Make sure there’s a finger’s width distance in the shoe box between the longest toe and the front of the shoe
  • No redness should appear on the child’s feet after taking the shoes off. Redness is a sign of the shoe rubbing or pinching
  • The shoe should not bend in the middle of the sole, it should bend at the ball of the foot
  • The toe box should flex easily
  • The back of the shoe should meet your child’s foot, but not be tight
  • Shoes should be made of quality materials which will cushion the foot
  • The toe box should be roomy enough that your child can wiggle their toes

Your child’s shoes not only protect their feet from injury this year, but also protect them from developing foot problems which may follow them into adulthood. Take the time and choose wisely.

Why Your Shoes Are Killing Your Feet

25 Jul

If Doctor Evil was a podiatrist, Mini-Me would be a women’s shoe designer.

high heels

Probably not the best choice for the activity

At times, women’s shoes qualify as instruments of torture.  Most certainly for your back, legs, ankles and feet. Wedges, stilettos, pencil heels, high heels, spike heels, all fall into the category that podiatrists refer to as “cruel shoes”.

Any shoe that lifts your heel off the ground shifts your weight onto your midfoot (ball) or forefoot (toe area). The higher the heel, the more forward the shift, and why the girl who dances all night in high heels has her shoes off before she even gets in the car. You may only weigh 100 pounds, but shifting that weight to a place not meant to carry it can cause significant long-term problems. Even if you failed algebra, that math is easy.

Most common injury caused by high heels over 3 inches: fractures and torn ligaments caused by inverting the ankle (twisting inward).

Besides shifting your center of gravity forward, high heels and wedges provide next to no support for your heel. That spike at the back of the shoe is at times only there to remind you how much you paid for them, how good they make you look and how you’re going to get your money’s worth even if it kills you (or your feet). Since your foot is only secured with a tiny strap, one misstep on a slippery dance floor or wet or cracked sidewalk may cause your heel to slide and your ankle to roll. Next stop – one month in a boot to immobilize your foot while your ankle fracture heals.

But let’s not stop with the shifting of the weight, because these styles offer additional torture. Many feature a pointy toe box, which squeezes the front of your foot so tightly that your toes cry for mercy. The result is bunions, arthritis, and any number of toe problems.

Wearing heels causes your foot to slide forward, redistributing your weight, creating unnatural pressure points and throwing your body’s natural alignment out of whack. High heels have been linked to overworked or injured leg muscles, osteoarthritis of the knee and low back pain. You also risk ankle injuries if you lose your balance and fall off your high heels. – Mayo Clinic.

Women account for ninety percent of the surgeries performed for the most common foot ailments, which is a pretty illuminating statistic. While there’s some debate in podiatry circles about whether footwear or genetics are the actually cause of foot problems like bunions, “pump bumps”, hammertoes, and tight heel cords, there’s no doubt that the high heeled shoe at the very least exacerbates the problem.

Most common injury caused by a platform wedge: Ballet Break. That’s when you fall off the wedge onto the side of your foot, causing a stress fracture.

So what’s a modern woman to do? Nikes and New Balances don’t often match business attire, much less elegant affairs. We recommend that you minimize the amount of time you spend in high heels, wedges, and the like, and don’t buy any heels taller than two inches. The right shoe to wear is the one that causes no pain or discomfort and fits and supports your foot like a glove.

But don’t switch out the high heels for ballet flats or flip-flops, because they can make the situation worse. The lack of support in these “shoes” can worsen conditions like plantar fasciitis. Treat your feet well when you’re young and they’ll treat you well when you’re aging.

Best New Running Shoes For 2013

22 May

If you were a kid in the 1970’s or earlier, you probably ran the street or the court in the flashiest pair of Chuck Taylor’s you could find at your local department store. And that might be the reason your feet hurt now – Athletic shoe design was in its infancy and offered little to no cushion, no arch support, no fit – just thin rubber and canvas between your foot and the floor.

chuck taylor converse all star sneakers 1970

Thankfully, athletic shoe design is now a science akin to designing space shuttles. New technologies for cushioning your feet are remarkably sophisticated and allow you to run longer distances with limited fatigue and a whole lot less wear and tear on your feet.

What to look for in a new athletic shoe

Nice fit: Not too tight that the shoe rubs or irritates your foot. Not too loose that your foot moves

A soft ride: The shoe needs to be cushioned substantially around the toes, heel, and ball of the foot.

Arch support: The shoe should meet your arch. If you have unusually high arches, this may be difficult and custom orthotics may be necessary so that you don’t develop a nasty case of plantar fasciitis.

Quality materials: You definitely get what you pay for in athletic shoes. Cheap shoes equals cheap support and fit, equals foot and ankle problems down the road.

To find out what the best running shoe is for 2013, check out this video from Runner’s World.

http://www.runnersworld.com/shoes-gear-video

How to prevent athlete’s foot

14 Dec

One of the great myths about foot care is that only athletes or people who shower at the gym get athlete’s foot.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

athletes foot between toes

A typical case of athlete’s foot

In fact, athlete’s foot, called tinea pedis in medical terms, can affect anyone, and just about everyone gets it at one time or another. Minor cases will result in dry, itchy, flaky skin between the toes, while the most severe will also include redness and open and sore areas.

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the skin and is typically picked up in communal areas where you walk barefoot, like the shower at your gym or summer camp, or even your own bathroom. You can also get it by wearing someone else’s shoes (be careful renting footwear in bowling alleys and ice rinks). The fungus grows on floors, bath tubs, shower stalls, clothing, anywhere that’s warm, damp, and dark.

The first place you typically experience athlete’s foot is between your toes. From there, the fungal infection can spread to literally anywhere else on your body, especially those areas which are enclosed and remain warm and moist, like your groin. It can also infect your toenails. As with many foot care problems, your footwear figures prominently. Since your shoes typically press your toes together and perspiration keeps the skin damp, once infected, the fungus can spread rapidly.

Symptoms of athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot causes scaling, flaking, and mild to intense itching of the affected skin. Blisters and cracked skin may also occur, leading to exposed raw skin, pain, swelling, and inflammation. A bacterial infection can accompany the more serious cases, requiring a course of oral antibiotics. Some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to the fungus, causing blisters or vesicles on the hands, chest and arms.

How to avoid athlete’s foot
bad case athletes foot

A severe case of athlete’s foot

  • Athlete’s foot can easily be avoided by letting your feet “breathe”. Go barefoot as often as possible, especially at home (assuming you have no foot conditions that would prohibit this). In fact, those who go habitually barefoot (such as those in tropical climates), rarely experience athlete’s foot. Being shoewear-free ventilates the skin of your feet, allowing moisture to evaporate and sunlight in to discourage fungal growth.
  • If you frequent the shower or sauna at the gym or other communal areas, wear flip flops to avoid contact with the floor. The infection spreads by direct contact with the contaminated area.
  • Never wear someone else’s shoes or socks
  • Keep your feet dry, especially between your toes
  • Don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row – allow them to thoroughly dry between wearing
  • Wash your feet daily with soap and water
  • Wear shoes which allow your feet to breathe-those that are open toed or are made from materials like leather, cotton, or canvas
  • Wear shoes which are wide and roomy
  • Always wear clean, dry socks
Treatment of athlete’s foot

If a minor case, over the counter foot creams like Lotrimin or Lamisil usually work well. If your case is severe, see a podiatrist for a diagnosis and treatment program.

***Please note that if you’re diabetic, have an impaired immune system, or are elderly, athlete’s foot can quickly lead to a bacterial skin infection called cellulitis, which requires medical treatment.

Why do my feet smell?

11 Dec

boy stinky shoeWe’ve all been there.

The theme music from Jaws starts playing in your head as your best friend goes about removing their shoes. Oh no. You take one last gasp of clean air and hold your breath as you quickly excuse yourself from the room, seeking the nearest gas mask.

It may not as bad as all that, but why do some people’s feet create a bad (some might say deadly) odor and others don’t?

The medical term for malodorous feet is Bromodosis, caused by a combination of sweat and bacteria.

There are more than 250,000 sweat glands in each of our feet, making it one of the wettest parts of our body. In just 24 hours in fact, each foot might produce as much as one pint of sweat, especially if you exercise heavily. Certain medicines, stress, and medical conditions can also encourage excessive sweating, which is called hyperhidrosis. Hormonal changes are notorious for creating bromodosis, especially in teenagers and pregnant women.

But sweat by itself doesn’t produce bad odor, as it’s simply water and salt and a few other elements your body is cleansing from your tissues. The problem is, it can’t evaporate, since it’s trapped behind a sock and shoe. If you sweat a lot, your feet stay damp and create conditions perfect for the real culprit: bacteria.

Now understand that bacteria live all over your skin – it’s just one of those fun-facts-we’d-rather-not-know about our bodies(sorry!). And those bacteria are actually key to good health, as they discourage other more aggressive bacteria that can make us sick.

What creates foot odor?

We love this Wikipedia description of how foot odor is created:

“The quality of foot odor is often reported as a thick smell… like that of malt vinegar. However, it can also be ammonia-like. Brevibacteria are considered a major cause of foot odor because they ingest dead skin on the feet and, in the process, convert [the] amino acid methionine into methanethiol, which has a sulfuric aroma. The dead skin that fuels this process is especially common on the soles and between the toes… Brevibacteria also gives cheeses such as Limburger, Bel Paese, Port du Salut, Pálpusztai and Munster their characteristic pungency.”

Nice! Your feet smell for the same reason gourmet cheese does.

“Propionic acid (propanoic acid) is also present in many foot sweat samples. This acid is a breakdown product of amino acids by Propionibacteria, which thrive in the ducts of… sebaceous glands. The similarity… between propionic acid and acetic acid, which share many physical characteristics…, account for foot odors identified as being vinegar-like. Isovaleric acid (3-methyl butanoic acid) is the other source of foot odor and is a result of actions of the bacteria Staphylococcus epidermidis which is also present in several strong cheese types.”

That may be too much information for some, but we find it fascinating. You’ll never look at cheese and crackers the same way again.

So what can you do to reduce your foot odor?

If foot odor is a persistent problem, the first thing to focus on is keeping your feet and footwear dry:

  • The same anti-perspirant you use on your underarms may also be effective on your feet. Anti-perspirants block the pores of sweat glands and some also contain an anti-odor agent. Just because your anti-perspirant isn’t marketed this way, doesn’t mean it won’t work (just imagine the commercial)

    baking soda for bromodosis smelly feet

    Your new foot powder?

  • Over the counter foot powders can be very effective, but first try baking soda, as it’s much less expensive. Baking Soda in chemical terms is sodium bicarbonate, a basic salt. It will absorb moisture and create a hostile environment for bacteria. Just sprinkle a little in your socks and shoes and rub some on your feet to see if it works. If you need stronger stuff, then move to foot powders available at drug stores
  • Bathe your feet daily with warm water and anti bacterial soap to remove sweat and bacteria. Dry thoroughly afterwards, especially between your toes
  • Change your socks daily – never wear the same pair two days in a row. Wear cotton, wool, or synthetic material designed to wick moisture away from your skin (like those designed for athletes)
  • Don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row – allow to thoroughly dry for at least 24 hours between wearing
  • Don’t wear plastic shoes, as they don’t allow your feet to breathe. Wear leather, canvas, mesh, open toed sandals, or other materials that allow air circulation. If you have no foot condition that prohibits walking in bare feet, give those dogs some air when you get home
  • Try over the counter, charcoal based, odor destroying insoles like Odor Eaters
  • Dietary changes can help too. A diet high in refined carbohydrates often serves as food for bacteria. When these bacteria stay trapped on your feet, their intense feeding results in foot odor. Eliminating refined carbohydrates from your diet and balancing protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates can be a surprisingly effective treatment. Reducing alcohol consumption and eliminating cigarette smoking will also reduce your perspiration
  • Chronic stress can elevate certain hormone levels, triggering sweat glands to go into overdrive. Moderating stress is essential for many other health reasons as well, and can be accomplished through an exercise program, meditation, yoga, psychotherapy, massage therapy, or other programs

If none of these remedies resolve your condition, visit our podiatry office, as we can treat your condition medically with injections and prescription medicines. Your friends and family will thank you.

cat smelling stinky shoes

Is the pain from high heels worth the fashion statement?

25 Jul

I was recently asked by a journalist to comment on how high heels wreak havoc with women’s feet. I know how you like a beautiful pair of pumps, but I have to be honest with you – feet damaged by those instruments of torture will keep me in business until I decide to retire.

How exactly do high heels damage your feet?
high heeled foot and leg xray

Note the unnatural angle of the foot, ankle and leg

When you wear high heels, your foot points downward, with the majority of stress placed on the forefoot (see the pic). The more you subject your feet to this position and stress, the more likely you’ll be to develop bunions, corns, calluses, pinched nerves (neuroma), hammertoes, and pain in the foot called metatarsalgia. Not only that, but the position of your feet in heels also affect your calf muscles, effectively shortening them. When these muscles are shortened, you have less power pushing off the ground when you walk. That’s why your legs get so tired in heels.

If that weren’t enough, the Achilles tendon also is shortened in this position, which can lead to a condition called Insertional Achilles Tendonitis, an irritation of the tendon where it inserts into the heel bone, causing heel pain.

But wait, there’s more…

With all of that pressure and squeezing at the front of the foot, you can also develop toenail issues, like ingrown toenails, nail infections and toenail fungal infections. Not to mention the occasional sprained ankle when that heel gets stuck in the pavement.

What can I do to relieve pain from high heels?

The first step in recognizing a problem is admitting there’s a problem. So first say out loud, “Pain from footwear is not normal”. Repeat 3 times to make it stick.

Here are a few ideas on how to relieve your high heel pain

lady gaga in heels

Lady Gaga will need an entire team of podiatrists when she hits middle age

  • Don’t be a slave to fashion – swap high heels for flats as often as possible
  • Avoid high heels with pointy toes – there’s no room for your feet in there
  • If you have wide feet, buy wide shoes
  • If you have pain in your feet when you wear high heels, try using a gel insole or metatarsal pad for extra comfort
  • Visit my office for an exam, where I’ll tell you to stop wearing high heels

High heels can also cause pain in your ankles and back, including pinched nerves. So if you have pain anywhere that you believe might be related to your high heel habit, switch to flats right away and whenever possible, wear athletic shoes to give your feet additional support and comfort.

Then visit Allentown’s top podiatrists for a thorough examination to make sure you don’t have long lasting problems with your feet.

Why you need to buy children’s shoes that fit properly

6 Jul

Do you have hammertoes? Bunions? Ingrown toenails? These may not be a recent development. In fact, the root of these problems  may have started in childhood with shoes that didn’t fit properly.

kids feet proper fitting shoes

It won’t be a surprise to any parent that kids burn through shoes – sometimes it’s hard to believe how fast they grow. It’s easy to tell when your kids have outgrown shirts, pants, socks, gloves, etc. But what might escape your attention is their footwear. If your child isn’t complaining about their shoes being too tight or hurting, we tend to forget that their feet are growing at least as fast as the rest of their bodies.

When should I buy my child’s first pair of shoes?

A child’s feet grow rapidly during the first year, reaching almost half their adult foot size. As they develop, their feet are soft and pliable and abnormal pressure can easily cause the foot to deform.

During the first year, don’t force their feet into baby shoes when it’s not necessary. Children don’t actually need shoes until they begin walking, between 12-15 months. Until then, socks or booties are enough to protect their feet and keep them warm. When your child begins standing and walking, shoes provide protection from injury.

Little girls actually have it the worst where this is concerned. Buying a shoe for her based on style instead of a pair which are actually supportive for her growing feet may cause her problems in adulthood.  The most important quality to look for in shoes is durable construction that will protect her feet and keep them comfortable. Remember that her shoes should conform to the shape of her feet – not the other way around. Soreness, blisters, callouses, and permanent disfigurements can be caused by repeatedly stuffing your child’s feet into shoes that don’t fit her well.

Recommendations for buying children’s shoes
  • Have your child’s feet measured every 3 months – check for signs of too-tight shoes like redness, callouses or blisters.
  • Generally speaking, if a shoe fits correctly, there is a thumb width between the end of the shoe and the end of the longest toe.
  • The sole of the shoe should be relatively straight, just like the foot.
  • The heel should sit firmly in the back of the shoe so that the foot doesn’t slide inside of it.
  • The shoe should bend where the foot bends – at the ball of the foot, not the arch.
  • Best shoe materials are leather or canvas, as they’re more durable and can breathe. No plastics.
  • The toe boxes should be rounded, not pointed, to allow the toes room to move.
  • Modern shoes do not need to be “broken in”. They should fit well and be comfortable the first time your child tries them on.

A sneaker is usually the ideal shoe for a child of any age. The toe box should provide enough space for growth, and should be wide enough to allow their toes to wiggle. High-top shoes are recommended for younger children who may have trouble keeping their shoes on, but contrary to what you may have heard, high-tops offer no advantage in foot or ankle support over low-cut shoes.

Remember that the primary purpose of shoes is to prevent injury and support the foot as it grows.

When you check your child’s feet, if you notice anything out of the ordinary, make an appointment with PA Foot and Ankle Associates for a thorough examination and diagnosis of your child’s foot problem. Foot problems treated in adolescence may prevent more serious problems in adulthood.

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