With warm weather in the air here in Toronto, jogging clubs and lone wolf running enthusiasts have taken to the streets, tracks, paths and ravines all over the city to get their fix of vitamin D and endorphins. At Feet First Clinic, we love to see people enjoying our city’s wonderful parks and getting exercise, but it’s hard for us not to feel some concern when so many runners injure themselves every year. The latest statistics indicate that 60-80% of runner’s experience some running related injuries every year – this is simply too high! In our current age of advanced medical learning, we should be able to avoid common injuries from running through a minor program of education concerning movement and foot health. At our Toronto foot clinic in the Bloor West Neighbourhood, we not only provide custom orthotics, compressions socks and the best shoes for your feet, we also offer tips and knowledge that will empower you to take care of your feet and your body, by way of extension.
Because, at times, we can cram our feet into unnaturally tight, formal shoes – such as brogues, high heels and oxfords – we end up with our toes all pushed together and our feet crushed into an unnatural shape. If you have especially wide feet, then the punishment is even worse: the status quo encourages us to subject our feet to cruel and unusual punishment! The solution is to find the right shoes for your feet, whether you need a deep, wide or high toe-box (or some combination of all three), there is certainly something out there for you. So whether you want to swing by the clinic for corn removal or to buy some new shoes, we’re here for you six days a week!
To return to the topic of running: a very helpful idea that may save you from injury is the concept of natural running. This entails using basic principles of the body to get the most out of your jog, without doing harm to your body. There’s plenty of information out there on the Internet, but here are a few principles to get you started:
Running Economy: Running economy means moving in a more efficient pattern; running faster with less effort minimizes the risk of injury and allows you to enjoy a shorter recovery time. With powerful downward force, you load the spring of your calf with more energy and move faster while exerting less energy. Really feel your body when you’re running and listen to it, over the course of our lives we often end up moving in very unnatural ways, but it’s never too late to correct these habits.
Nature’s Pace: 180 steps a minute is a natural running cadence; at this cadence, 50% of the energy you use is stored and reused. Your foot should strike the ground under the mass of your weight – if it is reaching out in front of you, you are losing the momentum that will load the “spring” in your legs and propel you forward. Running fast or slow can help you meet certain fitness goals, but for the casual runner, a medium pace is the best way to avoid injury.
In addition to helping you prepare for the running season, we also offer many other services, including bunion treatment to reduce their progression. Bunions can be hereditary, but are also caused when the foot is crushed into an unnatural shape by narrow shoes. Let us help you reclaim your feet!