The Foot Blog

Posts for tag: Shoes

By The Foot & Ankle Center
February 08, 2020
Category: Shoes
Tags: Shoes  

Thanks to all who contributed shoes during our shoe drive for Soles4Souls. Dr. Waskin and Stephanie Hathaway of Soles4Souls were on CBS-6’s Virginia This Morning to talk about how shoes are helping to wear out poverty around the world.

Bill Bevins: At Soles4Souls, they believe everyone around the world deserves a good pair of shoes. This is a global initiative that has local events planned right here in Richmond. 

Andrea: The Foot & Ankle Center has teamed up with Soles4Souls and is helping them with their campaign. Joining us today is Dr. Mitchell Waskin of The Foot & Ankle Center, along with Stephanie Hathaway, the regional donations center manager at Soles4Souls. Good morning!

Dr. Waskin and Stephanie: Good Morning!

Andrea: So during the holidays, we all focus on giving and giving back. But the giving isn’t done, so tell us about the importance of this program, and how we can get involved.

Stephanie: Soles4Souls is a global, nonprofit social enterprise. We are trying to alleviate poverty and we do that through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. We will create job opportunities with those shoes, and we’ll also provide relief. So we really rely on nonprofit partnerships in the U.S. and abroad to get the shoes to those people, and also on partners that will help us collect those shoes to get to them.

Bill: Dr. Waskin, we had a chance to talk before we came on, and in America, shoes are sort of a fashion thing, or maybe something we use for our favorite sport. But shoes are a basic — even a health issue in poor countries all over the world, and a lot of people all over the world still don’t have shoes.

Dr. Waskin: Yes, in fact, we talked about a book you read that talked about people who were getting hookworm because they didn’t have shoes, and because of that they couldn’t work and they had lots of health issues. We do take it for granted that we have shoes — we have an excess of shoes in this country, but a lot of people don’t. What I really love about the Soles4Souls organization is their entrepreneurial aspect: not only do they provide shoes at no cost to people who are in need of them, they also help people start businesses where they provide shoes and clothing to individuals in need. It’s kind of like the old quote where if you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day, but if you teach him how to fish he’ll eat for a lifetime. That’s what I really liked about it, and at The Foot & Ankle Center, we’re always looking for opportunities to give back, and we saw this organization and thought it was a good opportunity.

Andrea: This is a great opportunity also to almost be part of a sustainability initiative, where you’re keeping shoes out of landfills, for example. Can you tell us a little about how you get the shoes over to those in need?

Stephanie: Sure. We’ve collected over 35 million pairs of shoes and distributed them since 2006, in 127 countries. We rely on nonprofit NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) on the ground in those countries to get the shoes to them.

Bill: When we’re talking about that many shoes getting to that many people, when the shoes go out, do you get feedback from people helping you distribute these almost immediately of the difference that’s being made?

Stephanie: Yes, we have a travel team as well, where anybody can go on a trip abroad with us, and they can distribute new shoes to people in need in these remote villages where they don’t have access to stores or to marketplaces to buy them. So, every week, we’re in another country distributing these shoes and getting those stories from people. And with the Micro Enterprise program, we can work with our NGO partners to get the stories from the people who are actually selling the shoes. One of our entrepreneurs joined us around 2014, and she had a small house — pretty much a cinderblock room — and since she started selling shoes with us, she now has a plot of land where she built a home and all of her kids are able to go to school. So, it’s really disrupting that cycle of poverty for the families that are receiving these shoes.

Bill: Great stuff. Doctor, I actually saw an episode of M.A.S.H. once when they were talking about how complicated the foot is. And they said a machine is a Tinker Toy compared to everything that has to happen in the foot. So, obviously, shoes are vital. I was looking at some of the things you were describing about shoes that I had no idea. What is a “vamp” in a shoe — because I thought that was Cher singing on the show. 

Dr. Waskin: It’s a part of the side of the shoe. There are actually lots of parts of the shoe. But really what’s important in a quality shoe is, you want to look for something that is sturdy. People come into the office and ask what is a good running shoe? And they’ll bring in these shoes that look nice, and they may have pretty colors, but you press on them and they just collapse, there’s no stability. So I always tell them, when you push from the front and the back, the toe should bend a little bit and then stop. You should be able to twist it just a little bit from the back and have that stability. We’re interested here more in function than in fashion in distributing shoes. 

Bill: Thank you both very much, and thank you for all you’re doing all over the world. That is fantastic.


By The Foot & Ankle Center
August 19, 2018
Category: Our Clinic
Tags: Shoes   Our Clinic  

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!

Sign Up




By Dr. Mitchell Waskin
September 26, 2015
Category: Nail Care
Tags: shoe size   Questions & Answers   Shoes  
Treating Ingrown Toenails in Richmond, Va.

Ingrown toenails are a common condition that we treat at the Foot & Ankle Center.

Your toenails are supposed to grow straight out, but sometimes a toenail will start to curve as it grows out, and the corners or sides of that nail may start to dig into the soft tissue around the nail. Most of the cases we see impact the big toe, but you can get an ingrown toenail on any of your toes. The most noticeable symptom of an ingrown toenail is pain! You'll probably also notice redness and swelling and possibly some drainage around the affected nail.

Can ingrown toenails be prevented?

It depends on the cause. Sometimes ingrown toenails occur due to heredity, and you may be more susceptible if a parent had trouble with ingrown toenails. Other times an ingrown toenail could occur as the result of some sort of trauma to the foot.

How to prevent ingrown toenails:

One common cause of ingrown toenails is trimming your nails improperly. Use toenail clippers and cut your nails straight across – never curved or pointed – and use a nail file to gently smooth out any sharp corners. Another cause of ingrown toenails is shoes that don't fit properly. Avoid shoes that are pointy or too narrow in the toe, as these can cause or aggravate ingrown toenails. Also, make sure your socks are not too tight and your toes aren't crowded together.

In my next blog post, I'll discuss ways you may be able to treat ingrown toenails at home, and when you should absolutely see a podiatrist. In the mean time, if you're dealing with painful ingrown toenails, we can help. I encourage you to make an appointment.

Make an Appointment




By Dr. Mitchell Waskin
September 04, 2015
Category: Shoes
Tags: Shoes  

Orthotics or Shoe Inserts

A pedorthist is a skilled professional who provides expert shoe fitting and custom foot orthotics or shoe inserts. It's a highly specialized practice — in fact, there are only a few thousand pedorthists in the entire country. At the Foot & Ankle Center, we are fortunate to have an expert pedorthist, right here in our clinic. If you come in for custom orthotics, your feet will be in good hands with our professional pedorthist, Sarah.

Sarah grew up in Florida, but relocated to Richmond in 1992. She started her career in podiatry in 1990. Over the next 16 years, she worked in several podiatry clinics, learning all aspects of foot care. In 2006, she joined the Foot & Ankle Center and managed the clinical services.

Although Sarah found her duties satisfying, she wanted to offer more to her patients as well as her career. While juggling a full time job and her family, she completed the requirements to sit for the State Board exam in Pedorthics. This is a tough exam — more than half of those who take it fail the first time — but Sarah passed the exam on her first attempt! Sarah is now a certified pedorthist on staff at The Foot & Ankle Center.

Sarah offers knowledge, compassion and the drive to always do the best job for our patients, and we are pleased to have her as a part of our patient care team.

If you have a foot injury or deformity, difficult-to-fit feet or a medical condition such as diabetes, a custom pair of orthotics made by Sarah could make a big difference in your overall health and comfort. We encourage you to make an appointment — and see what custom-fit foot orthotics could do for you.

Make an Appointment