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A Beginner's Guide to Running

A Beginner’s Guide to Running

By General Podiatry, Running
A Beginner's Guide to Running

Healthcare professionals can’t deny the immense benefits of running. From increasing your lifespan to improving your sleep, your quality of life advances when you prioritize physical activity. Running is also a relatively inexpensive sport that you can do almost anywhere. All you need is a good pair of shoes to lace up and space to move.

The pastime has significantly increased in popularity after the COVID19 pandemic when people looked to get exercise outside the house. That’s why almost 60% of active adults have chosen outdoor activities such as running as their exercise of choice, according to the 2021 Fitness Trends Global Report

If running is something that sparks your interest and has been an approved activity by your doctor, add this exercise into your regimen with a plan! It’s critical to do your research for any new program to understand the safety requirements. Here is a beginner’s running guide to running to tackle this sport effectively from the start and ensure proper foot health!

Find Your Why

Running has a stereotype of not being for the faint-hearted. As your body gets used to the activity and builds up cardio, this exercise will be strenuous. In these beginning stages, you’re going to need to have a ‘why’ to keep you motivated.

Did you take on this sport to increase your heart health? To gain energy to keep up with your kids? To shed a few pounds? To boost your mood? Whatever it may be, keep this why in your back pocket and think about it on the days you want to quit.

It’s also helpful for beginners to have something to train for! Look for 5k’s or other races in your local area to sign up for with your friends. Find a proper running plan and stick to it for motivation. When training, think about how you feel after you complete the race!

Work Up Slowly

It is critical not to jump straight into running miles at a time when your body isn’t used to it. Ramping up too quickly can lead to injuries such as shin splints, stress fractures, Achilles Tendonitis, and more! Both seasoned and novice runners should be wary of rapidly increasing intensity. Beginner runners can start with run-walk running intervals to ease into things.

Runner’s World suggests following the 10-15 rule. Here, athletes will calculate 10-15% of what they want their weekly mileage goal to be. Each week they will not exceed that number as they add more miles to their regimen.

If you are training for a competition, look up beginner training plans for whichever type of race you are looking to participate in, so you can safely work to your goal. There are plenty of free online training sources for 3ks, 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons.  As you start working up to longer distances, be sure to incorporate plenty of walk breaks.

If you are running for exercise, always listen to your body. If something feels off, ensure that you take a break.

Find Specific Running Shoes for Your Foot Type

Everybody’s foot structure is different. Of course, you should always wear shoes specific to your sport, but finding footwear that supports your foot type will help prevent injuries and keep you running longer. Contact your podiatrist, who can give you recommendations on shoes or customized orthotic inserts to support your high or low arches!

Alternatively, you can head to your local running store, where staff can measure your foot and walking patterns. They will make suggestions on shoes according to what they have in stock. It may also be advised for you to select a pair that is half a size larger than usual. Here, your feet have a bit more space for wiggle room as you move.

Remember to replace your shoes after running 300 to 500 miles. In addition, you should also consider replacing footwear when you develop new aches or form new blisters. The soles wear down and give you less support. It is recommended to track your runs on apps like Nike Run Club or your smartwatch to keep motivated and have visibility over your total mileage!

Mix Up Where You Run

One of the best advantages of running is that you can do it almost anywhere! Therefore, mixing up where you run will prepare you to perform on a variety of terrains. At first, runners should take extra care in listening to their bodies to feel out which surfaces feel best in their feet and legs. There are different pro’s and con’s to different terrains, such as:

  • Asphalt and Concrete: These are some of the most common terrains for runners as they exercise through their neighborhoods, cities, and paved parks. While these roads are great for convenience, the repetitive hard impact on these surfaces can cause injuries like stress fractures, shin splints, heel pain, or other foot problems.
  • Grass and Mountain Trails: These soft surfaces are much kinder to your bones and joints and help cushion your feet! However, runners should be wary of slippery mud and uneven surfaces to avoid sprained ankles.
  • Treadmill: Many turn to this device in the cold winter months when running outside seems unbearable. While running in the same spot can be boring after a while, newer treadmills provide cushions and springs on their track that can help with impact.

Try out these different terrains and see what works best for you. Never force your body to endure something that doesn’t feel right!

Warm-up, Cool-down, and Cross-train

Proper running etiquette includes taking time to warm up, cool down, and implement other training! Your body will protest if you jump straight into running without doing anything else. Taking on these extra steps helps prevent injury and will help you with performance.

Warming-up: When you warm up, you help loosen up your muscles and joints before taking on this strenuous activity. Oxygen is more easily distributed throughout the body due to increased blood flow. Therefore, you will be more limber and reduce your risk of injury and side stitches on your run.

When warming up, ensure you are performing dynamic repetitions instead of static drills. Dynamic exercises are active stretches that help develop the joint’s full range of motion and get the heart rate up. Follow along with this five-minute dynamic warm-up video before your next run.

Cooling-down: Stretch after exercising to avoid injury and reduce soreness. You have the opportunity to increase your flexibility since your muscles are looser after a run. Here is the time to incorporate static stretching where you hold a single pose for a period of time (typically 30-60 seconds). Follow along with this post-run stretching video for a better recovery.

Cross-training: To become a better runner, you will need to implement cross-training into your routine. Mixing up your workouts decreases boredom and helps you increase your overall health by working out different areas of your body. Supplement your training with at least 30 minutes of other activities you might want to try. This could include

Cross TrainingNot only does a variety of training keep things interesting, but it helps reduce injury too. Therefore try out different things and find what you enjoy!

You don’t have to participate in marathons to be considered a runner. Begin your journey today by starting small and taking the time to work your way up. All you need to do is put one foot in front of the other!

Are you wondering if you are healthy enough to start running or have any more questions about this process? Contact our office, and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have! What is your motivation to run? Let me know on Twitter!

Tips for Summer Foot Care

Six Tips for Summer Foot Care

By General Podiatry, Health & Wellness

The summer season is coming in hot. Of course, we all want to show off our favorite sandals at the pool or beach, but to do that, we must keep our feet healthy during these hot and humid months! While it’s great that we finally get to let our toes breathe from our sweaty winter boots, we now have to take precautions such as keeping our bare feet away from infection and protecting them from the sun. Before you feel that ocean breeze, let’s put your mind at ease with six tips for summer foot care! 

 

1. Sunscreen is Key 

 

We all know that slathering SPF on our face and bodies protects us from things like cancer and wrinkles, but how often do we tend to our toes when we soak up the sun? The tops of our feet directly face the sun as we walk around in our flip-flops, so applying sunscreen there when we leave the house is essential. You also have a better chance of avoiding those sandal tan lines! 

 

Ensure that you regularly inspect both the tops and bottoms of your feet for abnormal freckles or moles, and call your doctor if something doesn’t look right. Podiatry Today recommends finding a sunscreen that protects you from both UV-A and UV-B rays. UV-B rays are correlated with burning, while UV-A is associated with aging. In addition, repetitive exposure to UV-A rays can link to long-term damage such as cataracts or immune system damage. Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and is classified as “Broad Spectrum.”  

 

2. Keep Your Bare Feet Away From Infections. 

 

Our office sees bacterial, fungal, and viral foot infections in the summer months more often than any other time of year! This is because bare feet are exposed to all of the germs, bacteria, and fungus in public places. These offenders are the culprits of infections such as Athlete’s Foot and Plantar Warts. If you choose to take a dip at the public pool this summer, make sure you wear shoes with thick soles to walk around. If your kids are heading off to summer camp, pack them a pair of protective shoes to wear in shared shower areas and pools. 

 

When you arrive home from your activities, wash your feet with soap and warm water and ensure they are thoroughly dried with a towel. Don’t forget to get in-between the toes! Disinfect your gear with wipes or spray after the gym or any other sweaty location that fungus and bacteria lurk around. Consider disinfecting your feet with anti-fungal spray. It’s worth it to take care to prevent these infections so you can spend your summer days relaxing. If you find yourself with itchy, red, or scaly feet, call our office to treat it early! 

 

3. Break-in Your Sandals to Avoid Blisters 

 

We are all thrilled to lock away our winter boots for the time being. However, if you decide to treat yourself to a new pair of sandals or flip-flops for the new season, look out for blisters! Before wearing them out on a summer adventure, be sure to bend and stretch them around at home first. This way, they will conform to your feet easier. You can also check out these seven remedies for stretching out shoes, such as blow-drying them or even putting them in the freezer! If you are looking for a new pair of summer shoes, look for footwear with good arch support.   

 

4. Keep Your Feet Clean and Cool with Proper Sock Care 

 

Don’t trap your feet in their own sweat during these steamy and humid months! Wearing proper socks to keep your feet cool is fundamental to avoid stinky feet. Feel free to lock away those wool socks with your winter boots and break out your thinner cotton socks. If you are out exercising in the hot sun, consider wearing performance-based socks that are ventilated to avoid swampy feet altogether! 

 

Even if you aren’t an athlete, your feet give off a lot of sweat throughout the day. So be sure that you are washing your socks after each use to keep everything smelling fresh. It’s also a good idea to remove socks and shoes when you get home to let your feet air out properly. Letting your toes fester in the sweat can lead to Athlete’s Foot and other infections. Place a fan by your bed and sleep with your feet out of the covers to cool them down at night! 

 

5. Stay Hydrated. 

 

Drinking water should always be a priority for overall excellent health and to keep yourself glowing. It is easy to dehydrate in the summer, especially if we are spending our days in the hot sun. When you drink more water, you increase blood flow. Since our extremities are the furthest part of our bodies from our heart, blood circulation is vital to flush toxins out. In addition, drinking enough water reduces swelling. When feet are inflamed, they are more prone to injury and chronic pain. By staying hydrated, you reduce your chances of these injuries! 

Pedicure health

6. Pamper Yourself Properly  

 

If a trip to the spa or the nail salon is on your itinerary this season, look for appropriate measures are taken to avoid toenail infections. For example, when getting a pedicure, be sure that nail clippers and files are properly sanitized. The fungus is transferred through these tools, so new or disinfected tools are essential. Also, remove toenail polish frequently to give your nail beds a break. Indulge in at-home remedies for foot care such as an Epsom Salt foot soak or an oatmeal and brown sugar foot mask! 

 

Whether your plans for the summer include vacations or working from home, have peace of mind by taking these measures. Take simple care by applying sunscreen, protecting your feet from infection, wearing proper shoes and socks, and staying hydrated. If you have any questions about summer foot care Contact Us or schedule an appointment here if you notice anything abnormal! 

Covid related foot problems from working at home

COVID Related Foot Problems

By General Podiatry

Quarantine can be very bad for your feet, and COVID related foot problems have certainly increased this past year. Much has been made about the casual comfort and convenience of working from home during the COVID quarantine. People are Zoom ready with a nice shirt or blouse on the top, sweatpants on the bottom, and no need for shoes whatsoever. It’s great to have such a relaxed wardrobe and no dry-cleaning bills. We’ve paid so much attention to protecting ourselves from the virus. But we may be overlooking a very important foundational part of our bodies – our feet.

Nobody’s Wearing Arch Supports

We are spending so much time indoors that we have ditched our shoes for extended periods of time during quarantine. Flimsy slippers, flat flip flops, or walking barefoot all the time provide zero support for our feet or the rest of our body. This can lead to some pretty severe foot problems like tendinitis and plantar fasciitis. Without supportive shoes, ligaments stretch out, arches begin to fall, and even putting on regular shoes can be painful. The evidence is in how much the pandemic has shifted our shoe buying habits. Sales of shoes were down 70 percent from March through May of last year, according to NPD, a national market-research firm.

Going barefoot is the worst thing you can do. It puts increased stress on the ligaments, tendons, and around the ball of the foot, which should always be supported and cushioned from the impact of walking. People with high arches are also more prone to various foot conditions because there’s extra pressure on the ball of the foot that supportive shoes help alleviate. Doctors are also seeing a lot of foot injuries from people going barefoot who can’t even navigate their homes and fracture their toes from stubbing them up against furniture and corners.

Working Out Can Cause Foot Problems

Because fitness centers and recreational sports centers are closed, we must now work out at home. It’s never a good idea to work out without the proper footwear, but experts are seeing this more and more. People are running and walking outside without the correct shoes, and because they have been barefoot or in slippers for long periods of time, when they try to do something rigorous with their feet, it leads to injury and chronic foot conditions.

Flintstone Feet

“Flintstone Feet” is the new term for how coronavirus lockdown is destroying our feet. It refers to the stone-age cartoon about a prehistoric family living before shoes are invented. If you’ve never seen the cartoon, here’s a hint, the characters have flat, huge, wide feet that they even use to power their cars! We don’t recommend that.

Flintstone Feet

What we do recommend is being aware of your feet and how shoes affect them. Here are some tips to make sure you don’t get Flintstone Feet:

  • Be aware of the importance of supporting your feet. If you don’t, gravity can take hold and cause problems
  • Wear a supportive shoe, even at home. Don’t go barefoot or wear flip-flops that do not have arch support.
  • Get the right shoe for whatever exercise you choose – running, walking, tennis. They all have different levels of support.
  • Make sure you change your exercise routine to minimize overuse injuries.
  • Get treatment immediately if you injure yourself. Do not overwork a foot injury.
  • Gaining weight in lockdown is a real issue. If you gain a significant amount of weight, your shoes may not fit properly.

Once we are given the all clear to get back to work, there shouldn’t be any major adjustments to your footwear. It’s important to take your time. Get used to wearing regular shoes by doing it slowly and switching it up throughout the week or even daily. If you have any questions please feel free to Contact Us for more information. You can also Schedule an Appointment to see Dr. Caruso if you are experiencing any of the above COVID related foot problems.

Diabetes and your feet

Diabetes and Your Feet

By General Podiatry, Health & Wellness

According to the CDC, over 100 million Americans currently have diabetes or prediabetes. The most common (and dangerous) type of diabetes, Type 2, occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin. Or, when your pancreas can’t produce enough of it.

The body needs a certain amount of insulin in order to function properly. Insulin allows the cells within your body to absorb glucose, which provides energy. When the body doesn’t have enough insulin, glucose can’t move freely around these cells, causing high glucose levels within the body that can eventually lead to diabetes.

Common Signs of Diabetes

Diabetes affects people differently. Not everyone has the same signs. But, some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Constant thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Very dry skin
  • Sores that heal slowly

Another common sign of diabetes is the feeling of numbness in your hands or feet. If you’ve been a diabetic for a while, you have probably already heard about the importance of taking care of your feet. But, do you know why?

That numbness/tingling sensation in your feet isn’t just annoying. It can create major issues, and some people can develop serious foot problems or may even have to lose a toe or a foot.

That shouldn’t scare you. Instead, it should let you know how important it is to consistently monitor your feet, and how important it is to take proper care of them.

How Does Diabetes Affect Your Feet?

One of the risks of diabetes is nerve damage. As stated above, that damage is often most notable in the hands and feet. This is a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. This condition can cause you to lose feeling in your feet, which makes it easier to get injured. For example, if you happen to get a cut or scrape on your foot, you may not feel it, so you won’t pay attention to it. As a result, it can become easily infected and lead to even bigger problems.

Your risk of infection is often greater if you have diabetes because it can slow down blood flow to your feet. So, not only is it easier for a sore to get infected, but it’s often harder to treat. An infection that doesn’t heal can lead to gangrene, which is often when a toe or the foot itself needs to be amputated.

How to Check Your Feet Each Day

One of the easiest ways to prevent foot issues when you have diabetes is to check the condition of your feet every day. While even just giving them a quick glance-over is better than nothing, it’s easier if you know what to look for. Pay close attention to things like:

  • Red spots
  • Sores
  • Cuts/scrapes
  • Swelling
  • Blisters
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Calluses
  • Warm spots

A warm spot or area somewhere on your foot can sometimes be an indicator of a blister or ulcer that is just starting. Catching it early can make it easier to treat.

If you want more information on how to thoroughly examine your feet, check out the video below from The University of Vermont Medical Center.

How to Take Care of Your Feet

In addition to examining your feet each day, there are regular care activities that you should perform to keep your feet in good shape and to remain healthy. Thankfully, if you put these practices into your normal routine, they won’t take much time, and they can make a big difference in your overall foot health.

Wash Your Feet Each Day

How often do you take the time to actually wash your feet when you’re in the shower or bath? You should be spending a few minutes each day actually washing then with warm (not hot) water, especially between your toes.

Perhaps just as important as washing them is drying them thoroughly. Moisture that gets trapped on your feet or between your toes can lead to fungal infections. Additionally, if your feet tend to get sweaty throughout the day, sprinkling them with a bit of talcum powder can help to keep them dry and reduce the risk of a fungus.

Trim Your Toenails the Right Way

Many people think you’re supposed to trim your toenails in a “curved” shape to m