Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: stress fractures

By Rion Berg
May 16, 2014
Category: sports injuries

It’s time for the 32nd Beat the Bridge running event to raise money for JDRF, the leading global foundation that funds research to eliminate Type 1 diabetes. On Sunday, thousands of Seattle runners will try to beat a path to the Montlake Bridge before it is raised. Because this is often a Seattle runner’s first race of the year, there is a greater risk to feet and ankles particularly if training has been slack. I’m sure to get a few people limping into my office next week because they have a twisted or swollen ankle or come in complaining of heel pain.

Be sure your shoes are good to go – your running shoes wear out after 400 miles, which is one year for most people. I’ve heard that pro athletes change out their shoes every couple of games because they are so hard on them. Those who run are usually somewhere in between but you can figure out your mileage pretty easily if you wear the same shoes all the time. You can test out the supportiveness of any shoe you are looking to purchase. Shoes should not bend in the middle nor be able to twist (hold the shoes at both ends when trying this).

Avoid uneven pavement – you may be running in the streets this weekend, but as you know the streets in Seattle have lots of problems. While you can’t always avoid uneven pavement, try to scope out areas in your training regimen that are relatively smooth. Twisted and swollen ankles often show up at my door due to surface issues, not the way my patients run.

Get your orthotics checked – if you’ve had your orthotics for over a year or longer it’s a good idea to have them checked out, particularly if you’re experiencing any pain in your feet or back. As your Seattle podiatrist I can tell you that runners wear out their orthotics more quickly and simple adjustments can make them work more effectively when racing.

Slowly increase exercise intensity – if your main training has been to run around Greenlake at a slow pace once a month, taking on any race could put you at higher risk for a stress fracture. The guideline is increasing your training by 10% each week, no more. If you’re a beginner get a clearance from your primary care doctor before starting any exercise program. Women are at greater risk then men for getting a stress fracture particularly for those who have reached menopause or have bone loss for other health reasons.

Don’t ignor foot pain – pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Don’t ignor it. It could be an easy fix but it could be the signal of something larger.

You might want to finish first or perhaps your sights are lower and you just want to finish the race. Either way the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City is always there to keep you going. You can reach us at  206-368-7000 or you can request an appointment online.

The number of women runners who complete running events has exploded in the U.S. with the percentage of women runners up 14% between 2000-2012. This is not surprising given the large number of women oriented races across the U.S including the ubiquitous Susan G. Komen 3-day and Race for the Cure, the Diva Dash in McDonough, Georgia, and Busting Butts to Save Breasts in Chandler, Arizona just to name a few. The number of female marathoners have also increased steadily during the same time period.

Although the benefits of running for men and women such as decreased stress, improved mood, decreased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer are well known, few people talk about risks and impact of running on women’s feet.

Women runners with flat feet are more at risk for developing a neuroma. High heel wearers are even more apt to develop this painful condition which worsens over time. A neuroma most commonly develops between the third and fourth toes. Symptoms can include tingling, pain, burning, and numbness. As your Seattle podiatrist I use variety of treatments for this condition including orthotics, alcohol injections, MLS laser, and education about proper footwear.

Plantar Fasciitis
Women runners get a double whammy when it comes to developing heel pain or plantar fasciitis. Anyone involved in high impact sports is more at risk and women are more prone to develop it than men. If you’re a woman runner who happens to love high heels you have the trifecta of risk for heel pain. Women who wear high heels can develop a shortened achilles or calf muscle. When women go from heels to running shoes the shortened calf muscle does not allow the plantar fascia to stretch when running causing micro tears and pain in the heel. Treatment includes avoiding high heels, MLS laser, stretching exercises before running, OTC supports, orthotics.

Stress Fracture
Stress fractures are common in both men and women runners (they account for 10% of running injuries), but there are certain conditions that can put a women at greater risk for developing one. Once women begin menopause they start to produce far less estrogen which plays a significant role in bone strength. The likelihood of osteoporosis increases with age. In addition, bones can be more fragile in women who are very thin, don’t get proper nutrition to keep bones healthy, or develop amenorrhea from an eating disorder.

If you’re a woman who uses running as a way to stay fit or just for the sheer joy of it, I recommend taking the extra time to ensure that your feet and physical health are in tip top shape so you can keep doing what you love.

If you run into any foot problems along your daily path, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

For more information about heel pain in runners download our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".

For chronic heel pain, download our eBook, "Stop Living With Stubborn Heel Pain".

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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