Are Your Feet Ready to Race?


Dr. Waskin joined Bill Bevins on Virginia This Morning on CBS 6, to talk about the role of proper foot care and shoe fitting when preparing for a race. In honor of the upcoming SpeakUp 5K (which we’re helping to sponsor), we’re offering free foot and shoe screenings at our clinic on 8/21/18 and 8/23/18 — no need to make an appointment, just drop by between 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. to see a podiatrist, physical therapist and get your feet and shoes looked at. The SpeakUp 5K is an annual event to help the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation in their work to raise awareness and end the stigma of teen mental illness. Video courtesy of CBS 6. 


Bill Bevins: One of the first steps of healthy running or walking is wearing proper shoes, so whether you run for fun or for a great cause, you want to make sure that your feet are in good shape. We’ll talk about the Cameron K. Gallagher SpeakUp 5K in just a few minutes, but first — Richmond podiatrist Dr. Mitchell Waskin is offering a free pre-race clinic! And we’re glad you’re here with us, because it is important. We kind of take for granted our feet, I think a lot of the time, don't we? 

Dr. Waskin: We do. Until until they bother you, you never think about it.

Bill Bevins: It’s one of those things, exactly right — you never pay any attention to them until there's a problem, and then — 

Dr. Waskin: That's all you think about!

Bill Bevins: So, when you do these clinics, I’m guessing you give some basic info about feet, which — can we get into a little science here? I got a note here from you, that a person who weighs 150 pounds, running three miles, it says 150 tons of pressure is put on those feet!

Dr. Waskin: It’s really amazing; when you walk and run, you put between three to five times the amount of pressure on your feet as your weight, so with every step you take when running, you’re putting somewhere between 500 to 700 pounds of pressure going through your feet — if you're an average person who maybe weighs a hundred and fifty pounds. When you think about it, and you see this picture that's up on the screen, the bones of the foot are really tiny bones. So, how is it that all this stress can go through the foot without it collapsing? It’s just through proper mechanics of the foot, and when you don't have the proper mechanics, that's when you end up having problems.

Bill Bevins: You and I were talking before you before we came on, you were talking about when you were young, you actually ran a race in Rome — on cobblestones! 

Dr. Waskin: I was miserable.

Bill Bevins: You didn't go to one of those clinics!

Dr. Waskin: I didn’t, I should have! 

Bill Bevins: Yeah, because you have to prepare! Now, the 5K that’s coming up, obviously I don't think it's on cobblestones, but you never know exactly what conditions you’re going to run into, so you have to get your feet ready, you have to have proper shoes, and if people come to this clinic, that’s one of things they’ll find out.

Dr. Waskin: Yeah, next next week on Tuesday and Thursday (8/21/18 and 8/23/18), there is a clinic in the evening at The Foot & Ankle Center, which is on the campus of Johnston-Willis Hospital. You can give us advanced notice, or you can just show up. You’re going to have a podiatrist there, you're going to have a physical therapist and you're going to have a pedorthist. A pedorthist is a shoe expert and bracing expert, they’ll do a quick evaluation of your feet, and be happy to look at your shoes and give you advice.

Bill Bevins: Yeah, and you know shoes — obviously you wouldn't want a brand new pair of shoes to go on a race, but you can't use old, old shoes either, you kind of have to find that sweet spot.

Dr. Waskin: You do. You want to have that right shoe. You want to have it broken in — you don’t want it to be old and broken down, but you also don't want to run out the day before the race and get your brand new pair of nice bright green shoes so everyone will see you running, either — 

Bill Bevins: We’ll be able to spot you on the side of the road, if you race in brand new shoes. If you bring your shoes with you, to these free clinics, how does that work? Do you take your shoe off and hand it to somebody there?

Dr. Waskin: Yeah, we have a shoe expert there that can look at your overall foot structure, look at your shoes, and see if the two match. Not all feet are the same. I get people all the time asking what's the best shoe? Well, it has to do with your foot structure. I brought two models of foot samples here, and one of them shows a really flat foot — this one over here, and then one of them shows a foot with a high arch. Well, these two feet function completely differently, so there is no right shoe for both of these feet, and some people need to get special shoe inserts or orthotics to compensate for it. So, when you come to the clinic, they’ll look at your shoes, look at your feet, and give you advice on that.

Bill Bevins: These examples that you brought, you know, you don't have to be a senior citizen to have flat feet — one of my kids had flat feet, right from the get-go, almost.

Dr. Waskin: Oh yes, it's very common. In fact, in really severe flat feet, at our clinic we do reconstructive surgery to actually build arches into the feet of children.

Bill Bevins: And, I imagine getting the arch supports and things that you put in your shoe, not a good idea right before a race, either?

Dr. Waskin: You don't want to change anything dramatically right before the race. You know a couple of key important things: flexibility exercises, you should constantly be stretching to maintain flexibility before and after your run. Another thing is, don't go beyond your limits. Perhaps your plan was to walk the 5K race, and that's what your training entails. Well, then you get there and all your friends are there, and everyone wants to run, so don't decide now you're going to just sprint the 5K.

Bill Bevins: Yeah. Definitely. Work out, and get ready, make sure the shoes are right, and then when you get there that day, stick to the plan.

Dr. Waskin: Absolutely, and that’s how you prevent injuries.

Bill Bevins: We’re almost to NFL season, and one of the things we always say about football is, it’s a process. You have to work, plan, and stay with the program. 

Dr. Waskin: Yeah.

Bill Bevins: What is the number one mistake people make in buying shoes, is it not considering their individual feet?

Dr. Waskin: It’s not getting them fitted properly. Years back, you would go to a shoe store, and all shoe stores had professional shoe fitters who worked there. Unfortunately, today that’s not the case, it’s very rare that you can go to a store that has professional shoe fitters.

Bill Bevins: That metal thing they had that your Mom had you put your foot in and they measured it, is that still around?

Dr. Waskin: They still have the device, they still have that; we use it all the time at our clinic — our shoe fitters do.

Bill Bevins: But not so much in the shoe store?

Dr. Waskin: Not so much in the shoe store. Now it’s like, what’s your size, and they hand you the box. There are still are a few places around, where they do have professional shoe fitters. So if you’re serious about running and doing sports, you should go to a shoe store that is a specialty store. 

Bill Bevins: And make sure you got the right shoes for your feet.

Dr. Waskin: Absolutely.

Bill Bevins: Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.


Learn more about the SpeakUp 5K and sign up for the race on their registration page: SpeakUp 5K Sign-up page

Our free Foot and Shoe Screenings are open to everyone -- whether you're participating in the 5K or not! No appointments are required -- but it will help us plan if you let us know you're planning to come. To indicate your interest, just click the button below to visit our Facebook event. Thank you!

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