Posts Tagged Pain Control

The Olympics and bare feet: What have we learned?


ScienceDaily (July 27, 2012) — Ethiopian runner Abebe Bikila made history when he earned a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. His speed and agility won him the gold, but it was barefoot running that made him a legend.

When the shoes Bikila was given for the race didn’t fit comfortably, he ditched them for his bare feet. After all, that’s the way he had trained for the Olympics in his homeland.

Racing shoeless led to success for Bikila, and now, more than 50 years later, runners are continuing to take barefoot strides. Several Olympic runners have followed Bikila and nationally the trend has exploded over the past decade. There’s even a national association dedicated to barefoot running. However, scientists are stuck on whether it either prevents or increases injuries.

“Bikila may have been on to something,” said Carey Rothschild, an instructor of physical therapy at the University of Central Florida in Orlando who specializes in orthopedic sports injuries. “The research is really not conclusive on whether one approach is better than the other. But what is clear is that it’s really a matter of developing a good running form and sticking to it, not suddenly changing it.”

Rothschild, a 12-year runner who has completed the Boston Marathon three times, reviewed research and found injuries happened with or without shoes. So she conducted a survey with the help of the Track Shack in Orlando to get to the bottom of the controversy.

What she found was striking.

Most people said they turned to barefoot running in the hopes of improving performance and reducing injuries. Ironically, those who said they never tried it avoided it for fear it would cause injuries and slow their times.

However, research shows that there are risks to running no matter what someone puts on his or her feet.

Barefoot runners tend to land on their mid or forefoot as opposed to the heel, which good athletic shoes try to cushion.

Some studies suggest that barefoot running causes a higher level of stress fractures on the front part of the foot and increased soreness in the calves. But runners who wear athletic shoes can also suffer everything from knee injuries to hip problems, related to repeated stress from impact forces at the heel.

“There is no perfect recipe,” said Rothschild, a resident of Winter Park.

In a paper publishing next month in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, Rothschild reviews the research and provides a guide for those who want to explore barefoot running as a way to train for marathons. It’s a 10-12 week program that slowly eases people who run in shoes onto their bare feet.

She suggests getting a thorough physical examination and biomechanical assessment from a physical therapist or other trained professional so that strength and flexibility deficits can be identified and addressed first. That should be done before gradually transitioning to bare feet.

“The bottom line is that when a runner goes from shoes to no shoes, their body may not automatically change its gait,” Rothschild said. “But there are ways to help make that transition smoother and lower the risk of injuries.”

The researcher concludes that barefoot running in and of itself is neither good nor bad. As with running in shoes, proper training and conditioning are essential.

However, Rothschild does offer a warning.

Anyone with lower extremity or deformity or with a disease that creates a lack of sensation on the feet should probably avoid barefoot running because they can’t necessarily feel injuries resulting from running on hard surfaces.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of Central Florida.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. Carey E. Rothschild. Primitive Running. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2012; 26 (8): 2021 DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31823a3c54

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

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Standard radiation therapy dose provides pain relief for painful heel spurs (plantar fasciitis)


ScienceDaily (July 26, 2012) — Patients with plantar fasciitis (painful bone heel spur) experience significantly less pain and improved quality of life following a standard dose of external beam radiation therapy, a common cancer treatment similar to receiving an X-ray, according to a randomized, cooperative group study that was published online July 25, 2012, in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (Red Journal), the official scientific journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

Approximately 8-10 percent of the population has severe bone heel spurs, with the most common treatments for alleviating the pain being ice, heat, and various anti-inflammatory agents. Steroids and local anesthetics can be injected, and oral analgesic medications may be prescribed, but most of these methods have only provided short-term pain relief. The results of this study demonstrated that up to 80 percent of standard dose patients experienced complete pain relief, and pain relief remained constant or even improved for up to 64 percent of the study participants during the follow-up period of 48 weeks post-treatment.

“Severe plantar fasciitis is a chronic health issue, and it can be extremely painful — many of these men and women cannot walk or stand for a long time,” said Marcus Niewald, MD, PhD, a radiation oncologist at Saarland University Medical Center in Homburg/Saar, Germany, and one of the study’s authors. “Radiation therapy has been used for its anti-inflammatory effect for more than 60 years. We are extremely encouraged by the results of our research because evidence of improved quality of life for patients is clearly evident with the standard dose regimen.”

This study was a prospective, randomized trial of a total of 66 patients, with evaluation every six weeks until 12-months post treatment. Four patients were secondarily excluded after the trial began; 29 patients received a standard dose regimen, and the remaining 33 patients received a low dose of radiation therapy. The standard dose patients were treated with a total dose of 6.0 Gy, applied in 6 single fractions of 1.0 Gy twice weekly on non-consecutive days. The low dose arm received 0.6 Gy, applied in 6 single fractions of 0.1 Gy twice weekly on non-consecutive days.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by American Society for Radiation Oncology.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marcus Niewald, M. Heinrich Seegenschmiedt, Oliver Micke, Stefan Graeber, Ralf Muecke, Vera Schaefer, Christine Scheid, Jochen Fleckenstein, Norbert Licht, Christian Ruebe. Randomized, Multicenter Trial on the Effect of Radiation Therapy on Plantar Fasciitis (Painful Heel Spur) Comparing a Standard Dose With a Very Low Dose: Mature Results After 12 Months’ Follow-Up. International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2012.06.022

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

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