Monday, June 25, 2012

Summertime Blues - The Water’s Edge; Appropriate Water Footwear

English: HDRI photograph of sunset on Lake Win...
HDRI photograph of sunset on Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Summer is almost here. Schools everywhere are letting out and families are trying to figure out the whole vacation thing. Whether you choose inland lakes, beautiful coastal regions, or the azure blue of the Caribbean, the allure of the water is sure to play a part in your vacation. However, remember that there is no time to relax your foot care routine while on vacation. Protect your feet because not only are injuries and ailments inconvenient to your vacation plans, but they can also be painful and cause you to miss out on a lot of the action. Even what seems harmless, like an easy stroll on the beach, can hide dangers. Protect your feet with appropriate footwear at all times, even while in the water.

Shoe manufacturers make it so easy now with the quick dry materials, open ventilation and multifunctional water shoes. Just grab a pair and go.

If you are at poolside, not only do these provide hazard protection from deck slippage, but they can protect from hidden dangers in the water.  One such hidden danger is broken glass on the pool bottom or rough tile edges, both capable of cutting your feet. You don’t want to be the one that’s bleeding in the pool. Another danger of public pool areas is athlete’s foot fungus, which loves moist and damp areas. This is the same fungus which can invade your toenails.  So now you’ve progressed from a minor ailment to a major catastrophe, which can become a very lengthy battle and one that is difficult to win.

If you’re drawn to the beaches, keep water shoes on your feet if you plan on getting wet, or sandals while on the dry sand. Hidden objects lay just below the surface, such as coral, rocks, broken glass, metal and sticks that can cause lacerations and puncture wounds. Openings in the skin then allow bacteria to enter the body.

If you enjoy inland lakes and waterways, there is appropriate footwear for canoeing, kayaking, walking shorelines and fording streams.

Water shoes are a critical element in swimming and fitness. They are the first line of defense that protects your feet from injuries and bacteria.  If the unthinkable happens and you are injured, contact Dr. Boucher at (203) 238-3668. Her expert healing hands can get you right back to having fun, just like life was meant to be.

Dr. Tina A. Boucher, DPM Central Connecticut Foot Care, LLC Podiatrist Meriden CT Order your free copy of our books "Why Do My Feet Hurt?" and "Heal My Heel!" today! Copies will be sent to Connecticut residents only.


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Monday, June 11, 2012

Blue Ridge Trail Head or Pennsylvania Avenue - Pros and Cons of Trail Running

English: Kilian Jornet, during his winning run...
Kilian Jornet, during his winning run at 08 UTMB (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Runners are always looking for something to make their somewhat lonely and tedious sport a bit more interesting and challenging. One of the options that they exercise is trail running. Many runners believe that the softer footing is better for the health of feet and ankles and in some circumstances it is. But the looser terrain and frequent obstacles can pose a trip and fall or sprain injury hazard if you lose focus for so much as one moment. Another thing that trail runners need to be concerned with is the rise in the terrain. There is some question as to how steep the angle is before it has an adverse effect on the Achilles tendon. The selection of a surface to run on may be more of a choice based on what type of pain, if any, that you are dealing with. Whereas running on the street provides a flat level surface, it is somewhat hard.  However, studies show that our bodies are somewhat adaptive. The softer terrain of trail running may have its own appeal, at first thought, but there are masked dangers like stumps, rocks, holes and an uneven path under foot. Roadways are equally hazard strewn, but you are closer to help if need be, or help is closer to you.

If you are weighing your options, remember there are other suitable surfaces that offer you a safe and pleasant experience. These alternatives may include:
  • Grass
  • Dirt roads
  • Athletic tracks
  • Treadmills
  • Sand
A park like setting and a run on the grass provides an appealing alternative. The grass provides spring underfoot and will definitely lessen the impact forces. You will have to contend with other people, bicycles, dogs on leashes, holes in the grass and possibly debris. Dirt roads are softer than concrete or asphalt and provide good stability for the feet and ankles. Athletic tracks with their extruded rubber or other synthetic surfaces may be the perfect blend between soft and sturdy, but it would do nothing to alleviate boredom, and could possibly cause an overuse problem such as iliotibial band syndrome which causes pain in the outer knee. Treadmills provide yet another opportunity, but most runners would prefer the outdoors. If you are running on a treadmill, to optimize your workout, adjust it to an incline. There is no scenery on a treadmill, so tedium may set in, but it is an option, especially for cold or rainy stretches. Sand on the beach is one more possibility. No prettier or more enjoyable than a run there. If you are new to running on sand, you might want to condition first by staying on the firmer wet sand.

Options presented here should help you to make a decision. Our best advice is...mixing it up. If an injury does occur, you are lucky to have Dr. Boucher at your toe tips. She provides a full range of podiatric services, with a little compassion and humor thrown in for good measure. Call her at (203)238-3668 and let her heal your feet.

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