Are My Running Shoes Killing My Feet? - Health Q&A
Thursday, 01 May 2008
I’ve noticed that my feet hurt when I jog on the streets in my neighborhood. The same pain occurs when I play basketball. It made me wonder: With so many kinds of athletic shoes out there, is one shoe better than another for different types of exercise?
“Ouch!” Boston, MA
The answer to your question is yes! Oh, you wanted more? Check this: for running, the most popular types of footwear offer specialized cushioning and advances in arch protection. There are also new shoes designed in the opposite direction, stripped of the extra pumps, shocks and other additions, getting you to train almost like you’re barefoot. For cross-training, look for shoes with lateral support, as most cross-training will involve several directional changes. This support will sharpen your ability to stop and move in different directions, jump, hop, balance, etc. In any sport-specific activity, there’s going to be a shoe designed specifically for someone in that sport. Check with your local retailers or go online to find out more. It can’t hurt you to check with a podiatrist to see if, in fact, you are one of those people who needs a customized shoe or insert. And if the pain persists, absolutely see your physician to rule out any other potential issues. —PK
SCAM-FREE AND HEALTHY
Detox footpads claim to draw the metals and toxins out of the body. Is this true? I was contemplating using them to help improve my overall health and control my arthritis and weight, but I don’t want to get scammed.
Rob Colorado Springs, CO
My patients tell me about these different types of products all the time. I have seen little if any change in a patient’s symptoms from these “mail order” devices. Without some scientific validation, I find it very hard to believe that these pads can do everything the manufacturers claim. To regain your personal health and vitality, you need to have strong immune and lymphatic systems. In my medical practice, I implement various treatments for detoxification, one being an ionic foot bath. By using ionic currents and sea salts, you can remove these unwanted toxins (Google ionic foot baths, a form of detoxification). You might also consider some forms of Chinese medicine and reflexology for assisting in circulation of the blood and lymphatic fluids. A simple change in your diet from inflammatory to alkaline can help with arthritis symptoms as well as help you in managing your weight. An anti-inflammatory diet includes less gluten grains (no barley, rye, oats and wheat), less refined sugar and less high-glycemic fruits, such as pineapples, grapes and melons. The best way to better health is in three simple steps. 1) Eat a balanced meal with extra green leafy vegetables. 2) Drink more water with freshly squeezed lemon. 3) Get plenty of exercise. (Plus, of course, make an appointment for a foot massage/reflexology. —PF
TACKLING THE TABOO
While safer sex can be fun, my being negative and older than my younger, positive partner has had some effect on how frequently we have sex. We’ve discussed having some free time to play with others. He’s expressed a desire to only play with those who are positive so he will not fear passing along the virus. So the inevitable question has come up. Frankly, neither of us know the risks involved when two positive people have unprotected sex. This is not a topic that I felt comfortable talking with my doctor about.
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“Taboo Question” Richmond, VA
Your question concerning issues when two positive partners engage in unsafe sex is valid and controversial. One of the biggest causes for concern involves reinfection or superinfection, especially after compelling evidence in a 2002 report published in the Journal of Virology showed that a person could be infected with two different strains of HIV. A case in the New England Journal of Medicine gave similar evidence but this time in a man who engaged in unprotected sex with multiple partners. In 2005 the journal AIDS published the case of a man who developed a specific resistance pattern to an antiretroviral medication he had never taken before—it was likely inherited from unprotected sex. Given the evidence, the number of cases reported is still low. However, that is not the only issue. Engaging in unprotected sex still leaves the participants open to other sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, syphilis, and hepatitis. Co-infection rates with the more chronic forms of hepatitis and herpes type 2 have also been shown to advance the course of HIV, aka the human immunodeficiency virus. Often, treating both complicates matters, as drug regimens become less effective and less tolerable to the patient. My only question when patients ask me about unprotected sex is why take the risk? In light of all this information, is condom use so unsexy? Being safe is smart for you both. —FS
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