Barefoot Running: Healthy or Risky?

On the surface, it seems like a great idea: run barefoot instead of with shoes to produce a more “natural” stride. After all, humans were designed to run and walk on bare feet.

While some runners go all out and don’t wear shoes at all, others use what are known as minimalist shoes that are designed to duplicate a barefoot experience while still offering some protection. This “barefoot running” trend has become popular in recent years, but is it really good for you?

Risk of Injury

Any physical activity can carry a risk of injury, but some say barefoot running is a particular problem for those who don’t know how to properly adapt to running without adequate shoe support. Although proponents say barefoot running can strengthen muscles and reduce injury, this has not been proven.

Recent studies suggest that barefoot running is not all it’s been touted to be, and isn’t for everyone. People with past foot injuries and diabetes, for instance, should steer clear. Obviously, running without shoes raises the risk of wounds to the feet, which can become serious if left untreated. For those who are used to running with shoes, suddenly ditching footwear can be a painful experience. Running experts say you must change your stride to land more evenly on the entire foot, rather than hitting the ground heel first.

What Podiatrists Say

The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) says due to lack of evidence about the safety and risks of barefoot running, people should consult with a podiatrist who has a background in sports medicine. He or she can examine your feet, discuss health history, and recommend a safe way to get your miles in. For some, barefoot running may be a possibility. But the health of your feet should always be a priority, no matter what style of running or exercise you enjoy.

Trying Barefoot Running

Despite possible risks, many people are interested in trying barefoot running. If you decide to move forward, take these steps to avoid injury:

  • Always see your podiatrist before starting any new running program.
  • Try indoor barefoot running on an indoor track or your home treadmill before running outside.
  • Wear minimalist shoes when running outside to protect feet from bacteria, fungi, and injuries.
  • Allow minimalist shoes to dry out completely between runs to avoid odor and fungus.
  • Run on soft surfaces such as grass instead of pavement.

Going barefoot doesn’t have to be forbidden all the time. Certain activities such as stretching, yoga, and strength training workouts can – and should – be done in bare feet. Be aware, however, that bare feet in public places like showers and bathrooms can set you up for athlete’s foot and other infections. Wear flip flops or other slip on shoes in public showering areas to help avoid this.

A podiatrist is your partner in keeping your feet healthy for life. Contact the office of Jeffery LaMour, DPM today!

On Your Feet All Day? How to Care for Overworked Feet?

The average person takes thousands of steps per day – and those who work on their feet take many more. Although it can be beneficial to move around and not sit at a desk, people who stand or walk frequently at work certainly experience their share of foot soreness and fatigue.

Choose the Right Shoes

If you are on your feet for long hours each day, you need to consider function over fashion when it comes to shoes. Sure, high heels, flip flops, and pointy toes look attractive, but they could cost you the health of your feet in the long term.

Wearing shoes without proper support and comfort can cause or exacerbate a wide range of problems. Minor issues such as blisters and corns and more severe issues such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, and pain in the hips, back, and knees can all result from wearing the wrong shoes for long periods.

Do the right thing for your feet – and the rest of your body – by wearing shoes with good arch support, a wide toe box, and proper support for your ankles. Shoes approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) are a safe choice.

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Well-hydrated feet are healthy feet. Standing for long periods can lead to swelling and water retention, so flush it out by drinking plenty of water and non-caffeinated fluids throughout the day. This may also give you more energy, as even mild dehydration has been linked to fatigue.

Care for Sore Feet

Sometimes even the best cared-for feet need some pampering at the end of a long day. One of the best ways to give sore feet a break is with simple elevation. Put your feet up and rest!

In addition, heat feels good on tired feet, so try a warm foot soak or bath with Epsom salts. Some people find that essential oils such as peppermint are not only soothing, but smell great too.

A foot massage can feel wonderful at the end of a long day, so ask your spouse if he or she would be willing to oblige. A good foot massage can relax muscles and ease the soreness of tired feet. If you don’t have a live person to massage your feet, try a massage ball, available at many shoe stores. Simply roll the textured ball around under your foot for a relaxing DIY massage!

Stretch Out

Finally, be sure you properly stretch the muscles in your feet and legs at the end of the day. Stretching is not only relaxing, but it helps improve flexibility too. Gently stretch toes up and down, flex and point the foot, and be sure to stretch the calves. Don’t stretch too vigorously and don’t “bounce” while stretching. If you’re doing it correctly, it should make you feel good, not cause more pain.

Your feet carry you throughout your day, so treat them right! Care for them each day, and make sure you have a great podiatrist on your side if problems arise. Contact Dr. Jeffery LaMour and his experienced podiatry staff today!

Why are my feet always cold?

Icy cold feet can be uncomfortable and annoying. Most of the time, chronic cold feet are nothing to worry about in young, healthy people. But, if you do have cold feet and aren’t sure of the cause, it’s a good idea to see your podiatrist to talk about possible causes and solutions.


Your blood vessels are designed to carry blood throughout your body. When you get cold, these blood vessels constrict to conserve heat for your vital organs. But for some people, this process is overactive, leading to lots of constriction even if it’s only a little cold. If you tend to be more sensitive to cold than others around you, this may be one of the reasons why.

Although minor vasoconstriction is nothing to worry about, it can be bothersome. Warm yourself up on chilly days by sipping hot liquids and wearing warm — but not too tight — shoes and socks when the temperature drops.

Raynaud’s Disease

In some cases, blood vessels constrict to the point of being painful. Instead of gradually narrowing with cold, they abruptly close with even a slight amount of cold. People with Raynaud’s may have numbness, tingling, burning, and bluish color to their hands and feet when exposed to cold.

If you think you have Raynaud’s, talk with your doctor. Usually, it can be managed with home care such as wearing extra layers, warm gloves and socks when needed, and avoiding smoking and caffeine.

Peripheral Artery Disease

Older adults, particularly those over age 70, are most commonly affected by peripheral artery disease (PAD). This is characterized by a buildup of plaque inside the arteries, which restricts blood flow to the arms and legs. Symptoms of PAD include:

  • Cold legs and feet
  • Painful muscle cramps in the legs
  • Foot or toe wounds that won’t heal

Untreated PAD can be dangerous, so be sure to see your doctor if you have any symptoms. Any wound on the foot that doesn’t heal properly warrants a call to your podiatrist.

Underactive Thyroid

Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, occurs when thyroid hormone levels are too low. This can slow down many of the body’s processes, resulting in:

  • Feeling cold
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation

Hypothyroidism is difficult to diagnose with symptoms alone. Usually, a blood test is needed, and treatment is available to return hormone levels to normal.

Warm Up Your Feet

If you frequently have cold feet but can’t identify the cause, ask your podiatrist for advice. Sometimes, treating an underlying health condition will solve the issue. Regardless of the reason, constantly cold feet can interfere with enjoyment of the fall and winter seasons. Keep them comfortable by wearing warm but breathable socks, and using foot warmers inside your shoes on very cold days if needed.

Do you have concerns about the health of your feet? Contact Dr. Jeffery LaMour to schedule your appointment!

Getting Feet Ready for Fall

As the summer sandal season comes to a close, it’s time to think about cooler temperatures and a change in footwear. But before you slip on a pair of boots or fleece-lined clogs, give your feet some healthy pampering to get them ready for the change in weather.

Dry Air = Dry Feet

With fall comes lower humidity, and indoor heating. Many people find that their skin is drier this time of year, and feet are no exception. Heels are particularly susceptible to dryness, and can crack and split, causing pain when walking.

To avoid this problem, invest in a quality foot cream and apply it to heels and other dry spots after bathing. People with diabetes should pay close attention to their feet and make sure they apply a moisturizer as recommended by their podiatrist.

Some people find that regular petroleum jelly works fine for keeping feet soft, but you’ll likely want to put on socks afterward to avoid getting the floor (or your shoes) greasy. Don’t apply your moisturizer between the toes, however, as this can encourage fungal growth.

Try a Pumice Stone

If you spent a lot of time barefoot this summer, your feet may be responding with roughness and calluses. Sometimes a moisturizer isn’t enough to tackle this problem. Exfoliating with a pumice stone is a great way to remove dead and callused skin so the lotion or cream can penetrate more effectively.

Check Your Boots and Shoes

You likely have some fall and winter footwear that’s been pushed to the back of the closet all summer. Examine fall boots and shoes for signs of wear both inside and out. Try them on to ensure they still feel comfortable, don’t rub, and support your feet properly. If they don’t meet all these criteria, consider purchasing some new shoes.

Remove Nail Polish

Sure, you can still have polished toenails in the winter, but if you’ve had them painted all summer without a break, it’s time to remove that polish and examine them. Thick, yellow nails are often a sign of a fungal infection – which is easily picked up at places like public pools when you’re walking around barefoot. If you see a problem, don’t apply more polish. Instead, pick up an over-the-counter antifungal treatment and see your podiatrist if the problem doesn’t improve.

Avoid Overly Hot Footwear

Even in the cooler months, socks and shoes that don’t allow feet to breathe can be a problem. Warm, moist environments are perfect for fungus, and often cause unwanted foot odor. In addition, rainy fall weather can get your feet soggy, and you’ll need to allow adequate time for footwear to dry before wearing it again.

Choose natural wicking materials such as wool, and alternate shoes and boots so you have a dry pair to wear each day.

Healthy feet are always in season. If you have foot pain or another concern, contact the office of Dr. Jeffery Lamour to schedule your appointment!