Monthly Archives: July 2008

Spin Class – Arch Pain

Reader Pete asks “I have been in a spin class for 8 months. Recently I have developed chronic right arch foot pain to the point that it’s difficult to walk for several days after class. I have severe flat feet that pronate inward-no arch at all. I am cycling with cage on pedal. Would cleats be better for the foot pain? The problem is worse when standing or climbing.”

Sounds like you’re getting plantar fasciitis (arch or heel pain). Your flat feet are most likely the cause. As long As long as you have stiff soled cycling shoes, it shouldn’t matter whether you use cages or cleats. As for the pronation, you might want to try a non-custom orthotic and see if this helps. Superfeet are good, and they make a cycling specific insoles (new yellow below). 

Have you been to a podiatrist? If not, you should see one. He or she should be able to get you back on track (stretches, physical therapy, taping, custom orthotics) in no time.

Heel Taps – Spend A Little Save A Lot

Here’s an example of a heel tap on a shoe.

Commonly made out of plastic or rubber, heel taps help prolong the life of your heeled shoes. Normal heel wear is on the outside so the taps should be placed here. Considering a pair of taps cost less than $10 and re-soling a pair of heels can run as much as $50, taps are a good value and easily applied. The plastic taps aren’t as durable as the rubber ones, so if your shoe repair person carries rubber taps, you’ll be better off.

Top of The Foot Bump – Part 2

Reader Kevin asks “I have a soft tissue swelling (with pain) on the top of my left foot, beneath my ankle and toward my pinky toe. Can’t find any information on it. Any suggestions would be appreciated.”

My suggestion would be a ganglion. A ganglion is usually an out pocketing of a joint including fluid (think balloon), which creates a soft mass in the skin which can enlarge and shrink, depending on the overlying irritation. It’s usually non-tender but can become painful, especially if it enlarges with fluid and there is pressure from a shoe rubbing against it.

This image shows a mild ganglion on the outside of the foot. Ganglions can also occur in the wrists, and legend has it that bibles were used to smack the area as hard as possible to disperse the fluid within the sack. I prefer to use a syringe.

If that doesn’t work, then surgical excision is sometimes necessary as this video shows:

If you have an unusual swelling under the skin on your feet, you will want to have it evaluated by a podiatrist in your area.

For another cause of top of the foot bump see my related post


Callous Is Not Your Friend

At least once a day a runner comes in with callous and blood blisters which have formed because of the callous burrowing into the skin. Time and again, I’m told that the person has been instructed not to remove the callous as it is protective in nature. Not true. Although callous initially builds to cushion and protect, eventually it becomes an irritant causing more harm than good.

The above images are of runners whose callouses have become blood blisters. If you have callous, either file it off or seek treatment with a Podiatrist to do it for you. Your feet will thank you.

Bunions – Increased Forefoot Width

Here’s an image of a bunion which shows what the condition looks like on x-ray from two different views.

A bunion is a drift of the bones about the great toe joint. As you can see from the above images two things generally happen with a bunion:

  1. There is an increase in the angle between the the first and second metatarsals (long bones)
  2. There is a drift of the big toe toward the 2nd toe.

The net effect is an enlargement of the big toe joint on the inside of your foot and a widening of the forefoot in this area.

Bunions can make shoe fitting especially challenging. Things to consider are soft materials over the bump like mesh or weave materials. You will also want to avoid stitching or decorative trim over the bump. And finally, shoe stretchers can also help, see my post

Shoe Of The Month – Ash® Patent Leather Ribbon Lace

This is a beautiful and well designed shoe. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to find it anywhere online, as I just checked. It does however have some great features which are worthwhile to search for when buying a pair of high heels.

  1. The ribbon tie is adjustable accommodating different foot depths.
  2. The toe box is wide and rectangular which won’t pinch the toes.
  3. The heel comes straight down from the back of the shoe vs. offset, i.e. kitten style.
  4. The heel is 3″ which will work for most women.

The reason I don’t do many reviews on women’s shoes is because, whenever someone brings in a blog worthy pair, by the time they get to me the style has been discontinued. I therefore try and show you the design of shoes and what to look for.

Shoe Review – Saucony Progrid Omni 6 Ultimate

This shoe has a lot of mesh in the forefoot upper, which can help if you have hammertoes and /or bunions. The back of this shoe has a firm heel counter, which helps guide heel strike if you pronate excessively. This shoe also has firm EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) in the midsole extending from the arch to the back of the shoe which makes it very stable.

A general rule of thumb is the darker (more grey) the outsole, the more firm or less flexible the shoe will be. This design feature helps those feet who need lots of support, especially at the rearfoot. The difference between the Ultimate and the Moderate version is the Ultimate has EVA which wraps around to the heel wheras the Moderate just has EVA in the instep.

The mens and womens version of this shoe come in medium and wide but not extra-wide and the toe-box is not too deep which can help fit considerably if your foot is wide and shallow.

Version 7 has just been released and from what I can see on, it looks to be essentially the same as version 6, but I’ll keep you posted if that changes. The other good news is, because version 6 is being upgraded, you can probably find this shoe on sale. At Sports Basement in San Francisco, this shoe is marked down from $100 to $64. Quite a deal for a well made shoe!