Myths and realities of running and foot health
Stress fracture is the most common foot problem associated with running barefoot. A sudden change in physical activity without proper adaptation usually causes stress fractures, and it is not correlated with the type of shoe worn, or a lack of it. On the other hand there is actually a reduction in the probability of a stress fracture while running barefoot.
Experts are of the opinion that running barefoot is natural and cost effective, considering the fact that human beings have progressively evolved to run without wearing shoes. There is an added expenditure of energy to lift the shoe along with the foot.
Running with shoes involved a slightly greater expenditure of energy compared to running barefoot, to travel the same distance.
Reality: Running has long been in vogue, but is not really considered a good physical activity since:
1) Gradual atrophy of the pads of fat along with advancing age in feet is a common occurence.
2) Fractures in the foot due to stress or other reactions in the feet.
Remedy: Shoes with proper support can alleviate problems of the foot, and it should be nipped in the bud, which can worsen with time.
Reality: Bunion and hammertoe may have a genetic basis, and may or may not be painful, which may be exacerbated by wearing heels.
Remedy: Instead of discontinuing wearing heels, it is advisable to choose low heels, or a wedge heel to lessen the slope, to reduce foot problems. Limiting the duration of wearing heels and choosing the correct fit can alleviate foot problems. But ideally speaking fore foot problems will always hinder comfort while wearing high heeled shoes.
Reality: The acute, sudden painful bursts of plantar fasciitis generally happens due to a change in physical activity that adds pressure to heels, involving increased time in running habits, a change of job, having a baby, or weight gain. It is diagnosed as rotator cuff tendonitis or tennis elbow.
Remedy: Orthotics can help alleviate such foot problems, but Wu suggests that stretching and applying ice can prove to be a far simpler approach. Stretching the calf muscles a number of times daily can remedy the pain due to plantar’s fasciitis. In acute cases, physical supports, and medical intervention may help, but generally speaking exercises and changes in leading life helps. Patients are prone to suffer from additional bouts of the disease, without following a treatment plan.
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