Saturday, August 02, 2008

Feets, Don't Fail Me Now

I recently received this query from a friend:
My feet are trashed—ingrown toenails, blisters, corns, bunions. I fear they will end my running career. Any advice?
This made me realize: I forgot to tell you folks about feet! This is a gross oversight on my part.

This is what I told her:
Yes, running can trash the feet if you’re not careful. I can pretty much guarantee that your shoes suck and are too small, and you need new ones NOW. Your shoes should not be rubbing on your toenails or your corns.

Then, you have to become annoyingly fastidious about foot grooming. Meaning, getting a callous cutter (the scary ones with the razor blade insert) and using it aggressively a couple of times a week, and using corn remover pads for incipient corns. Then, get toe-vagina-butt cream (aka vaginal yeast cream, the cheapest way to get antifungal stuff over the counter, excellent for diaper rash too) and rub your feet with it daily to decrease fungus growth.

Finally, get these socks; they have 2 layers, which cuts way down on the blistering.
Less than 48 hours later came her reply:
I just got new shoes a half size bigger and about twice as expensive
and am IN HEAVEN.
So Maggots, watch out for your feets, please.

(There are new links to t-shirts on the sidebar, fyi.)


Orange said...

I tell ya, if the patriarchy would redefine big feet as the height of femininity, millions of women would quit buying shoes a half size too small and their feet would be much happier. I'm not saying that's why this woman's running shoes didn't fit properly, but I know too many women who've lied to themselves about their shoe size.

Anonymous said...

Any disadvantage to just pulling on a double pair of heavy cotton socks?

Anonymous said...

Orange, I just buy the men's shoes now, since it is VERY difficult to find women's 10 1/2 shoes. I bought some today in fact. A men's 9 is easy to find, and the shoes tend to hold up better too. No, Dr. Mama, that doesn't mean I'm running. Remember we talked about that H? It's now an L... *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that you need to buy new shoes fairly often. The recommendations say every 100 miles, which seems a little frequent to me, but last time I forgot to buy new, my legs and feet hurt for weeks.

Blue said...

wait. 100 miles? that means if you do 3 miles, 3 times a week then every 3 months you have to get a new pair of shoes. is this TRUE??? really? that seems excessive.

Doc please set us straight! i've been doing the couch to 5k training program, it's only 9 weeks long and builds up to running 3 miles three days a week. i can't believe i need to fork out another benny that soon! help! running was supposed to be really affordable1c ♥

DoctorMama said...

blue -- no, no, no -- the MOST conservative advice I've heard is every 400 miles, a lot of people say 500, and some around 750 if you have good shoes, aren't heavy, and don't have an odd wear pattern on your shoes. I stretch to near 750 some years, but feel better if I switch pretty close to the 500-600 mark.

but leslie's correct to point out that old shoes will beat up your feet, ergo my advice to my friend above.

mary -- I'm so, so sorry about the H ... maybe you should write to the folks who make the Last Resort bra and ask if they've every dealt with such a "huge" problem?

anon -- double socks can work, but only if they're thin. They sell liner socks for hiking for the same purpose, but really heavy socks aren't great inside running shoes. I alternate cushier single socks with my double socks, so as to avoid the same insult to my feet twice in a row.

and orange, I have never, ever understood the smaller shoe size fetish -- and unlike bra size, it's not men who seem to foster this. I am a 7 in open-back shoes, a 7.5 in closed shoes, and an 8 in running shoes. And I'm only 63.25" tall.

Sarah said...

I don't have anything to contribute to the running conversation, but the new shirts are awesome!

Ariel said...

I am a longtime user of the WrightSocks, and they are the best socks I have ever run in. You might even call me obsessive -- see this photo.

I'm also a woman who runs in men's shoes. I wear a women's 12ish but run in *men's* size 12 running shoes. Yep, that's 1.5 to 2 sizes up. I replace them every 300 miles or so.

Erika said...

I wear a 9.5 - 10 in regular shoes, but an 11 in running shoes (at least in Brooks). Plus I need a very stable shoe, which means mine tend to be on the wider side. I envy those people who can wear their running/athletic shoes around town (w/ regular clothes) and have it look like their shoes are part of the outfit, and not look like they've attached giant flippers to their feet.

The other side of the shoe thing is time--I found out the hard way that if you have a pair of shoes that are 18 months old and start using them to run, even if you only have about 100 miles on them, you're asking for trouble. They really lose their spring after awhile...

I like balega socks, btw. So smooth!

Anonymous said...

Hi DoctorMama!

I am a frequent reader but lousy commenter (this may be my first on your site).

Just wanted to let you know that my daughter (age 13)and I have started running and I am implementing your slow and steady regime with good results.

I used to run several years ago, and stopped for some reason that I can no longer recall. But I am feeling better already and its only been two weeks (and our distance has increased already!).

Thanks for the encouragement and keep it up!

Mignon said...

Yeah, what Erika said. A shoe guy told me once that the rubber/elastomer in running shoes is terribly susceptible to breakdown, so that shoes more than 6 months old will break down even more quickly.

Also, about the callouses... can't I just keep 'em? I got a gift pedicure a couple weeks ago, and the woman shaved/cut off all my callouses, causing me to get blisters in all of those locations the very next time I played tennis. It seems like they serve a purpose.

Anonymous said...

I get pedicures once a month or so and that really helps keep my feet from getting trashed.

Anonymous said...

do you have an answer for why my left foot (and only my left foot) falls asleep at minute 28 of a 30 minute run? consistently. it's kind of annoying.

stops being tingly when i slow to a walk...or limpy plod.

Unknown said...

I tried that Tweezerman callous shaver thingie and I am in love! Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I may have commented before, but it is rare that I actually leave a comment. However, I wanted to let you know that I am always inspired to get back on the road running when I come to your site. Let me give you a little background- I jogged a half-marathon in 2006, but have cut back substantially since then (I've had two reconstructed knees due to torn ACLs, and one just isn't quite right).

So, I've been dabbling in the jogging since the 1/2 marathon, just enough to keep me in the loop but not real serious. Well, this past summer due to your Maggots posts, I decided to get back to being diligent about jogging 3-4 times per week. Slowly, I've gone from alternating walking/jogging to jogging the full 30 minutes. Then, about a month ago, I found out I was pregnant. That night I went for a jog, and it was really hot. I took it really slow, but by the end of the jog, my head was pounding, and I ended up going to bed with a horrible headache. The next day, I started bleeding, in what turned out to be a chemical pregnancy. I completely understand that going jogging had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the chemical pregnancy, but I could not emotionally get over it and start jogging again. Yesterday I came to your site, and was again inspired to get out there. Went home and went for a nice jog; not only did it feel great to get out there, but it was exactly what I needed emotionally to get out of my funk. So, again, thank you for the great stories and the motivation.


Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and am hooked, but have to comment! I am podiatrist, and I treat ALOT of runners. Nobody should use corn remover pads on their corns. These are pure acid, create foot ulcers, and these "corns" may actually be hammertoes, and the protruding thingy they feel is actually their bone. I just had a woman without any other co-morbidities lose her right second toe from using corn pads, getting ulcers, and osteo.
PS. Your blog is really funny