Monthly Archives: May 2011

Choosing the Best Walking Shoe for You

brooksAccording to this article, there are new shoes out to help you make the most of your springtime walks and summertime strolls. Some of them are quite fancy but also expensive. Dr. Vimal Reddy has these tips for figuring out what is best as you explore scenic Jacksonville on foot!

Tip 1Spend some money: Cheap shoes will wear out quickly.  You want something that will last you throughout the season.

Tip 2But don’t spend too much money: Beyond a certain price, high-end shoes are more about fashion than about protecting your feet. Also to keep in mind, this is a shoe you will be replacing after 300-600 miles of walking, or 6-10 months. Take a look at the different models offered by each brand and you might decide the fancy shoe is too much for you!

detail_hero_template_400x400Tip 3You can walk in running shoes:  If you are more of a runner, your money will be better spent on a pair of running shoes. No need to dedicate a pair of shoes just for your walks. However, if you are training intensely, it might pay off to have a pair of backup shoes for your ordinary activities. In that case, see tip #2.

Tip 4Choose a shoe that fits:  Yes, you knew this already, but it bears repeating. Dr. Reddy has written previously on this topic here. You should make sure you have extra room for the tips of your toes (about half an inch).  Make sure the point where the sole of the shoe flexes lines up with the ball of your foot.

Screen shot 2011-05-31 at 3_11_14 PMTo help find the best shoe for you stop by the First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic.  Dr. Reddy can help recommend what to look for in a shoe that will accommodate your unique foot structure. And remember, every foot is different, so there is no such thing as the “best” shoe.

OH NO! Tendonitis!

Ankle Showing the Achilles TendonWith summer on our heals, you might be thinking about adding miles to your runs along A1A or joining a summer sports league here on the First Coast. Whichever activity you choose, you may be worried about Achilles Tendonitis; a condition where the Achilles tendon becomes sore after over use.

***Just so you know: The Achilles tendonis the thick rope-like structure on the back of your lower leg and one of many tendons we have connecting our calf muscles to our feet. ***

Another important tendon is the posterior tibial muscle. Located behind your shin-bone (the tibia), the posterior tibial (PT) muscle is used for flexing your foot inwards at the ankle joint. This is an important muscle for stabilizing your foot when your heel hits the ground and when your foot pushes off.  Like your Achilles, the PT tendon will become sore if it is overused.

According to Dr. Vimal Reddy, PT tendonitis is characterized by pain that gets worse with running. You will feel the pain in your inner leg, next to the heel cord.  You are particularly at risk if you tend to flatten your feet out, or pronate when you run. Doing this stretches and irritates the PT tendon even more.

Tips for prevention and treatment:

  • Arch supports—to minimize the amount you pronate your foot
  • Protective taping—again, to restrict movement of your ankle
  • Aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication
  • Brace, walking boot or cast—to immobilize the tendon and give it some rest

In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to give you some relief. If you pronate when you run or if you have pain, consult with Dr. Reddy at the First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic to find out what is the best treatment option for your case.

To Flip-Flop or Not

With summer on our heels in Jacksonville, FL, many will be slipping into a pair of their favorite flip-flops.  Flip-flops are perfect at the pool or beach. However, if you plan on going for a long walk or know you’ll be standing for several hours, you will need a shoe with a thicker sole for more support.

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Problems that arise from wearing flip-flops at the wrong time:

  • Tendonitis: Irritation of your Achilles tendon, due to poor arch support
  • Heel Fissures: Cracking of the skin on the heels due to the additional friction on your heels
  • Toe stub injuries and fractures: due to lack of protection.

imagesOf course, flip-flops aren’t all bad. Some instances                   when flip-flops are beneficial:

  • If you sweat excessively: Open-toed shoes will ensure your feet stay dry, particularly between the toes. This is important for preventing fungal infectionand maintaining skin strength.
  • Public Showers: Always wear flip-flops when using a public shower like you would find at pool or gym locker room.
  • If the back of your heel is sore, flip-flops can reduce irritation to the area.
  • They’re fun and stylish!

Lori1If you are planning on wearing flip-flops, make sure you get a pair with a thick, rigid sole. This will strengthen your foot’s ability to absorb shock. Also, while you’re wearing them, make sure you take it easy on your feet to minimize injury. If you have questions on where to find a more rigid, yet stylish sandal, you can inquire at the First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic.