Lots of things can cause pain in your feet. You can be on them too long during the day. It could be a new pair of shoes that you thought were broken in but aren’t. Or it can be a symptom of something bigger. It could be something like osteoporosis. Normally when we think of osteoporosis we don’t think of the impact it can have on our feet which is a problem because our feet are our foundation. Usually osteoporosis is found in post-menopausal women or men over the age of 75, but it can affect anyone, often as a secondary symptom of another illness.
When feet become affected by osteoporosis they become very weak and susceptible to breaks and fractures much more easily. Side effects of the beginning stages of osteoporosis can be things like pain while walking or swelling and redness of the feet. Often times people will ignore these symptoms as just being something that will pass or that they “tweaked” something. If things get bad enough, stress fractures can occur without an injury to cause concern. As with most things today, there are tests to find out whether or not it’s just a tweak or something more serious that needs treatment. Osteoporosis is something that can be treated to make sure that nothing serious happens because of it. Calcium supplements, orthotics, and the usage of athletic shoes with extra cushion are all treatment options while not causing a decline in quality of life.
It’s Tuesday and that means another look at some new piece of athletic tech that will hopefully make you run like a gazelle, jump like a kangaroo, and keep your knees in good enough shape that you can still walk at 50. This week we’ll be looking at the Mino. We all know that running shoes don’t last forever. They take a lot of wear and tear over the miles we put them so that our knees and ankles don’t. The general rule for replacing running shoes is every 400 miles and we can do a good job keeping track of that in our heads, but what if you had something that simply told you how many miles you had put on a pair?
Enter the Mino. The Mino is a small tab that fits in the bottom of your shoes and keeps track of the shape that your shoes are in. Using the average of 600 compressions in a mile, the Mino records how far you’ve gone and displays on a series of LED lights how close your shoes are to needing to be replaced. It’s less thick than a nickel so it’s difficult to feel in your shoes and is generally unnoticeable when it comes to actually running with it. It’s a neat little thing and will probably give you some surprising results when you realize how fast your shoes are actually wearing out compared to where you thought they were. Each Mino runs about $15 and lasts for one pair of shoes.
Last week we talked about how the weather is beginning to warm up and how we can finally start to leave our houses and venture across the permafrost for exercise. We gave some quick tips on how to get back into running without hurting yourself and our biggest piece of advice was to always make sure you’ve stretched. This week we’re going to go into more detail about proper stretching and some specific examples for running.
The biggest thing with stretching is to make sure you’ve warmed up before you do it. Stretching on “cold” muscles and ligaments can cause more problems than it helps solve. You don’t need to do anything strenuous, just some real light, quick warm ups like knees raises or a quick 10 minute jog will do the job.
Always make sure that you ease into a stretch, if you feel like you’re having to really force it you’re doing something wrong and you should stop. Your body has a pretty solid idea of what it can and can’t do, so make sure that you listen to it. Your typical stretch should last for about 30 seconds for each repetition of it.
Now for some examples stretches especially aimed at runners. Our first stretch is probably the easiest and most recognizable, the standing quad stretch. Simply take one foot and bend your knee back to bring it up behind you and grab your foot and pull until you can feel the stretch in your quad.
To perform the hip flexor stretch, start with standing up with your feet together and take one far step forward and then lean into it while keeping your torso upright.
Our last stretch for today is the groin stretch. Starting while sitting like you’re cross legged, but with the bottoms of your feet pressed together push down on your knees until you feel the stretch in your inner, upper thighs.
Everyday there are new pieces of wearable technology coming out aimed at giving runners the most information they can get. Most of these work in roughly the same way, they sit on your wrist like a watch and give you information on your pulse, heart rate, and calories burned. There’s a new product hitting the shelves at the end of this year called the BSX Insight that aims to change that.
The Insight is a wearable that provides athletes with information about their levels of lactic acid, pace, and cadence as well as all the metrics listed before. These pieces of information are a lot more useful to the serious runner than the standards because they give the runner a perspective on how to improve their training. Knowing when the lactic acid build up hits the upper threshold allows runners to know when they’re about to top out and how to set new goals for training. It used to be a very expensive and time consuming test to find out where that lactate threshold was, requiring a trip to a lab to run a treadmill test while simultaneously being poked and prodded. The Insight simply sits against the calf inside of a sock in order to collect data as close to the source as possible and sends it to the app on your phone. In addition to all of the immediate information it delivers, the Insight will offer a cloud based training service based on that collected data for users as well.
We’re finally starting to see some signs of the end of winter now, or at least it stopped being historically cold, and maybe some of us are starting to think about when we’ll be able to actually use all of the roads and sidewalks again. I know I’ve got a road bike waiting for all of the ice and salt to find other places to be, but maybe you’re more suited to using your own two feet to exercise and get you around. In that case, we’ve got some advice for getting back up to speed in your running routine without causing injury.
Our first tip we’re going to put in big, bold letters because it’s important, warm up and stretch. Before you do anything, make sure you’ve warmed up and then stretched. No one wants to be the person that makes it’s a quarter mile in and realizes that something is wrong, because they couldn’t take ten minutes to touch their toes.
Make sure you’ve got the right equipment for what you’re doing. If you’ve got high arches, but don’t have shoes that support them you’re going to have a bad time. Same thing with socks and whatever else you choose to wear while out there. We’ve got a wide range of athletic socks to keep your feet dry and comfortable while you’re running. We also consider a phone a piece of equipment to take with you, in case of something happens while you’re and need to contact someone for help.
Did you used to pound out marathons like they were nothing and are having a hard time now? Don’t over do it. Miles in the past are just that, in the past. Listen to your body when it comes to what you can and can’t do right now. Walk it if you have to. Not being able to meet a goal is fine, as long as you keep working towards it.
Look guys, there’s a light at the end of tunnel that has been this winter. We don’t want it to be spring and then suddenly you’ve hurt yourself and you’re stuck on a couch during all of the nice weather so play it smart.