Would you have run in the Bunion Derby in 1928? Back then the derby was less a race and more of an endurance contest according to Charles Kastner who dramatizes the transcontinental footrace in his book Bunion Derby: The 1928 Footrace Across America. These runners experienced extreme weather conditions from desert heat to winter winds, huge demands on often untrained bodies, and mostly horrible living conditions. In contrast to the majority of today’s event runners who are female (with the exception of some marathon categories), earning $75,000 or more, and most often run for better health the runners back then were all men, working class or unemployed, and ran for the prize of $25, 000 and free publicity to revive careers.

Although runners may not face the extreme conditions like the men of the Bunion Derby they still face the hardship of racing with pain caused by bunions (the namesake of the 20s race), flat feet, hammertoes, and other foot anomalies. Those who have the desire to excel at this sport do so even if they don’t have ideal feet.

Bunions – although bunionsare often due to faulty foot structure they also arise as a result of how you walk and run through life. For example, if you overpronate when you run you’re more likely to get bunions. Overpronation is often resolved with the right shoe and foot orthotic. You can try an over the counter orthotic if you haven’t already. If this works, great! If not, you’ll need to see a Seattle podiatrist to get custom orthotics made.

Flat Feet – runners with flat feet are particular at risk for developing plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. This can be particularly problematic for women who go from high heels to a lower running shoe. Avoiding high heels and use of custom orthotics are ways to keep doing the sport you love without the pain.

Hammertoes- this condition most commonly results from an imbalance in the muscle/tendon in the 3rd, 4th, or 5thtoes causing the joints to contract. Wearing high heels or tight shoes can also contribute to the progression of this condition. Trimming and/or padding the corns and calluses that form, custom orthotics, and proper footwear are the primary treatments.

We’d love to support you in your running quest no matter what level you’re at; request an appointment at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City. 

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