Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Toning Shoes: Are they worth the hype or do they need a caution label?

You may have seen the ads and have even been tempted to buy the latest advertised shoes, but heed our warning before opening your wallet. Several different companies, including Sketchers, Reebok and New Balance, have been marketing new type of fitness shoe that claims to tone or allow you to work out just by walking. Shoes that tone your body may sound great, but it may be too good to be true.

An article in today’s USAToday, A revolutionary sneaker, or overhyped gimmick? highlights the popularity of toning sneakers.

“The makers of ‘toning shoes’ say the shoes can help give wearers more shapely butts, legs and abs, often without the need for gym workouts. That's partly why toning shoes — which often have a rounded sole like a rocking chair, to stretch the wearer's leg muscles with each stride — represent the fastest-growing segment of the $17 billion-a-year athletic footwear industry.”

While the sneakers may be popular and promise an easy workout, they may have adverse effects and may end up causing more problems. Several podiatrists pointed out the shoes’ possible dangers.

"David Davidson, national president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, says the shoes basically make adults learn to walk, or run, all over again by changing their gait. That's a ‘scary’ prospect for someone with a "borderline problem" they might not know about.

Davidson says he's suspicious of any shoes that come with an instructional booklet and DVD.

‘Nothing about these shoes has any redeeming value to me,’ he says. ‘Sorry, I don't see it.’

Bryan Markinson, chief of podiatric medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, says some of his patients who are "not in the greatest of shape" have inflamed their Achilles tendons while wearing toning shoes. People thinking of buying them, he says, should begin an "active stretching program" or else risk injury.

Jonathan Deland, chief of foot and ankle service at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, warns the shoes can be ‘dangerous’ for people with balance problems."

Another blogger and certified pedorthist Janet Dixon also noted in a recent post the flaws and potential dangers of the shoes.

As always, consult with your podiatrist before trying any new shoe or workout routine. Everyone’s feet and walking style are different, so it is essential to work with your podiatrist to find out what is best for you. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

How to Battle Bad Foot Odor

Bad foot odor can be embarrassing and are often caused by a combination of sweat or moisture and normal bacteria found on feet. A little effort and minor lifestyle changes can solve foot odors issues easily.

Our feet are one of the sweatiest parts of our body. In fact, our feet can sweat up to a pint a day. When sweat and bacteria on our feet mix they produce isovaleric acid, which can cause unwanted foot odors. The medical term for smelly feet is bromhidrosis. The number one remedy and most effective cure for foot odor is simple. Keeping your feet dry and cleaning your feet daily is the most effective way to cure and prevent foot odors.

Ways to Keep feet dry:

  • Wear socks that have proper ventilation
  • Shoes that allow your feet to breath
  • Deodorizing foot powder
  • Ensuring feet are dry before putting on soaks and shoes
  • Changing socks daily
  • In addition, some people have smelly feet due to excessive sweating and unable to keep their feet dry. A small percent of the population suffer from hyperhidrosis, which can cause a person to sweat beyond their physical needs. Those individuals may have foot odors because they are unable to keep their feet dry.
Tips for battling excessively sweaty feet:
  • Using antiperspirant deodorant spray
  • Soak feet in salt solution. Mix a half a cup of kosher salt in a moderate filled basin of water. Soak feet for 5 to 10 minutes. Then do not rinse the salt off of your feet, but just pat them dry with a towel. The salt will soak up excess sweat.
  • Reduce stress. Excessive stress can lead to excessive sweating.
  • Changing socks more than once a day.
Additional tips to prevent bad foot odors:
Allowing shoe gear to adequately dry after every use
Spray shoe gear with Lysol or other antibacterial solutions
For more information on foot odors check out our website.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Principles of Good Running Shoes

Runners often pick running shoes based on the shoe brand. This may work sometimes, but good shoes should be chosen based on its structural elements and how it functions. Running is a high- impact activity that can be hard on a person’s joints and overall body, so finding the right shoe for running is essential.

The first thing a person should consider in a running shoe is the midsole, functional portion of the shoe. The midsole is the layer of the shoe, which is found between the outer sole and the upper portion of the shoe, absorbs shock, and controls excessive motion in a person’s running pattern. Knowing your foot type will determine what you should look for and consider in the midsole.

A good running shoe should also have a stiff supportive heel. A supportive heel is necessary because most runners have a heel to toe running pattern. The heel is an essential part of the shoe, because it is important source of stability. Also the heel can be a point of adjustment to increase comfort in some runner’s gait. That is why people can buy running shoes with difference in heel thickness. Some runners need a thicker heel to reduce the pull on the posterior elements in their legs such as their Achilles tendon, while other runners need a thinner heel. For all runners it is important to make sure the heel counter is comfortable for your foot and running pattern.

The outer sole of a running shoe is critical too. It is attached to the midsole and functions to resist wear, provide traction, and absorb shock. More importantly it is vital that the outer sole matches the terrain of the shoe’s intended use. The outer soles are made out of different materials and various rubber combinations. Be sure to select a shoe with an outer sole that matches your style of running.
It is also critical there is enough room in the toe box of the shoe. The toe box of the shoe should be flexible enough to allow adequate flexion in the big and second toes. A person should have a thumbnail distance between the end of the shoe and a person’s big toe. This will allow for adequate movement in the toes and reduce trauma to the toenails during runs.

Finding a quality running shoe is important. When evaluating shoes quality make sure it contains all of the necessary elements of a running shoe, and most importantly it works with your foot type. For more information on shoes check out our website.