Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Buying Shoes can be a challenge..........

Is it better to buy shoes that are too big or too small? How many times do you ask yourself that question? Or think to yourself “now that I bought these hot shoes, how can I make them fit and feel better”? These are questions that cross the minds of many women when purchasing the latest and hottest shoe styles.

In order to find your true shoe size when you are buying shoes use the Brackman shoe measuring device at the shoe store. That will give you both the width and length of your foot. There are many people who find after measuring their feet that they have one foot longer or wider than the other. This is a normal variant and there is nothing to worry about. One of the reasons why it happens can be genetic and you can blame it on mom or dad. The formation of bunions and tailor bunions are boney abnormalities that have a genetic predisposition and will change the anatomical boney alignment of the foot making it wider. Another reason could be because of a splay foot where the ligaments weaken and the foot can elongate and widen. Women during pregnancy may experience this type of phenomena because of the hormone Relaxin that is released to allow the ligaments in the pelvis to stretch during the time of delivery. The ligaments in the foot can also become affected and the foot can get wider and longer. However, once the foot gets longer or wider it does not go back to its original size.

The rule of thumb to live by when buying a pair of shoes is there should be a thumbs width between the tip of the longest toe in your foot and the end of the shoe. The first, second or third toes are often the landmarks because they are usually the longest toes in your foot.

Always buy a pair of shoes that fit the bigger foot. The reason for this is that you can place an over the counter insole in the larger one to either take up some of the room or prevent foot slippage. Never force your foot into a shoe that is too small or too tight. Wearing ill-fitting shoes can cause foot, ankle, knee and low back problems. Shoes that do not fit properly can throw your balance off and make you walk funny. If the shoe is too narrow you can develop ingrown toe nails, corns on the top and side of your toes and irritate the skin resulting in blister formation.

The solution to these problems is to take your time when selecting a new pair of shoes. Try not to buy shoes on emotion only. Hint; buy shoes during the time of the day that you would be probably wearing them because feet can often swell during the day. If your feet are swimming around inside the shoe and slipping forward, place an insole or an arch support in the shoe to take up some of the extra room as well as prevent the slipping. If the arch in your foot is cramping when wearing shoes that are a little too big and going into spasm because the toes are curling up inside the shoes, there is an over the counter shoe product available to prevent that problem. The product is called Instant Arches®. This oval shaped arch support product, one size fits all, stop the foot from moving forward in the shoe and prevent skin irritation. They will also support the arch and eliminate arch cramps.

No matter what type of shoe you buy, find your true shoe size in order to walk happily ever after!

Video link to find you true shoe size: www.instantarches.com

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How to Stay on Top of Your Game

Whether you play baseball or softball, in order to be on top of your game your feet need to be in balance. Feet are the foundation to creating better balance in your game whether you are hitting, fielding, running or pitching. Poor foot biomechanics can affect the five tools of baseball and softball. The foot is designed to be a mobile adapter upon contact with the ground and a ridged lever during propulsion. If your feet are not properly supported in your cleats this could be caused by poor foot biomechanics which will result in foot instability.

There are 26 bones in each foot, therefore close to half the bones in our body are found in the feet. So when the foot hits the ground everything changes from the ground up. Whatever skill set you are trying to improve, establishing a controlled weight transfer through your feet will help you achieve your goal. When your feet abnormally pronate, it will cause your arch to collapse towards the ground and flatten out. Feet become unstable during this process and therefore your lower half will become less stable and imbalanced. This can result in losing power and efficiency in the lower half of your body whether you are hitting, fielding, running or pitching. As a hitter, the more stable your feet are in the batter’s box, the better balanced you become. When you’re fielding a ground ball you need to transfer your weight, plant your feet and throw. As a pitcher, balance is extremely important for accuracy and velocity. Speed is also a very important part of the game and if your feet are not properly supported it could be the difference between being safe or out when stealing, running to 1st base, tracking down a grounder or catching a fly ball in the outfield.

Whether you are hitting for average or power, a balanced hitter should be on the balls of their feet. Their knees should be bent and their feet should be slightly wider than their shoulders. As the pitcher releases the ball, the hitter is simultaneously loading and striding during the loading phase of their hitting cycle in preparation to hit the ball and getting their foot on the ground for bat impact. It is extremely important that your feet are stable and balanced to be able to transfer your body weight and energy through the lower half of the body. Without being able to control your body motion you will find yourself imbalanced, leaning or falling forward or backward. By stabilizing the foot, it becomes maintained in its neutral position allowing for greater foot and leg stability which helps create a stiff front leg and allows your hips to rotate better when hitting. This could be one of the differences between driving the ball hard and softly grounding or flying out.

Fielding is a multi directional activity requiring your feet to quickly move forward, backward or side to side depending where the ball is hit. Standing flat footed instead of on the balls of your feet will slow down your reaction time to the ball. When your feet are supported properly, the balls of your feet will be on the ground and your weight will be evenly displaced. Being more balanced will help you get an edge. It will improve your ability have a stable lower half and better foot mechanics when fielding and throwing.

Foot balance is equally important when pitching; a foot that is searching for stability on the mound can throw off a pitcher’s mechanics. In order to throw hard, whether the pitcher is a right or left hander, they must have all of their weight on the ball of the right or left foot, which will result in better positive outcomes.

The first step is the most important step you take either as a hitter coming out of the box or a fielder attempting to track a ball hit to your position. Unstable foot biomechanics will slow you down because the foot is not properly balanced. If you stabilize the foot with an arch support it will improve the player’s ability to be more successful.

So, improve your success and outcomes by being better balanced in all phases of the game.

Dr. Steven L. Rosenberg is the official Arch Specialist of Baseball Factory & Softball Factory. Dr. Rosenberg is a podiatrist in private practice spanning over 27 years, specializing in sports medicine, pain management and all other aspects of podiatry. His practice is located in Santa Monica, California. He has lectured worldwide and is a regularly featured blogger on the Huffington Post AOL. He has authored numerous articles on foot injuries, injury prevention, women’s shoe issues, foot biomechanics, and the treatment of foot problems through utilization of eastern and western medicine. Dr. Rosenberg is the CEO and President of Foot Products Enterprises Inc., which manufactures the unique arch product, Instant Arches® for baseball and softball. These Arches are also available for running shoes, all athletic shoes, sandals, flip flops casual and dress shoes. Dr. Rosenberg’s Instant Arches®, sold worldwide, are worn by men and women of all ages from preteens to adults. For more information on Instant Arches visit http://www.instantarches.com/ia-baseball.shtml.


It is a Matter of Seconds

Too get your feet on and off the ground when running for a fly ball, fielding a grounder, picking off a runner at first, hitting or running to any base takes a matter of seconds. The quicker your feet move the greater chance you have for achieving success. Agility, movement, speed is all about your feet being biomechanically balanced. While quick and stable feet create positive outcomes, a foot that is unstable wobbles from side to side.

A major reason why player’s feet are not stable is because they are not properly balanced. This is because of abnormal pronation and can be defined as instability of the joints in the middle of the foot (the mid-tarsal and subtaylor joints). Although pronation is normal and every foot pronates, excess or abnormal pronation is not. Abnormal pronation causes a player’s medial longitudinal arch or inner arch to stay collapsed throughout their entire movement cycle whether they are standing in the batter’s box or standing on the mound getting ready to pitch. It also affects the foot when running to field a ball or stealing a base. The plantar muscles in the foot fatigue because of continual repetitive activity of the arch collapsing during movement and become vulnerable to injury

Players can control abnormal foot pronation and improve their foot biomechanics by placing an arch support or a custom made orthotic in their baseball shoes. Orthotic foot supports should be placed in the shoes to provide the proper balance the foot needs to achieve better biomechanical balance and stability. Baseball shoes are designed to protect the foot and give the player better shock absorption, traction and stability when pitching, running / stealing, fielding or hitting. The shoe consists of many different parts with specific functions. They are not designed to biomechanically support the foot or prevent abnormal foot pronation.

Custom made orthotics made by a podiatrist or over the counter arch supports are the best ways to control abnormal foot pronation and improve foot biomechanics. Depending on how rigid the material the orthotic device is made of, it will determine how much support the foot will receive. The more rigid the materials used to make the orthotic device the more stable the foot will be in the baseball shoe.

Custom made orthotics are usually fabricated from a molded plaster cast of the foot that a podiatrist takes in his office and then sends to a specialized orthotic laboratory to design the product. They are made out of hard plastic or graphite materials. Orthotics stabilizes and aligns the joints in the foot below the ankle and middle of the foot. They create better muscle balance in the lower leg and foot and allow the ball of the foot to be firmly placed on the ground. These types of devices can reduce the risk of injuries to the foot.

Over the counter arch supports are usually made out of high density foam materials and are not as rigid as custom orthotics. Instant Arches® for baseball is an over the counter foam arch support that is specifically designed for baseball shoes. It supports the joints in the middle of the foot and below the ankle. It allows the ball of the foot to be placed firmly on the ground for stability.

The time it takes, for a player to get their feet on and off the ground can be the difference between a win and a loss. It’s a matter of seconds.

Summer Means Sandal Season

Summer Mean’s Its Sandal and Flip Flop Season

Its summer time ladies, so take out your summer sandals / flip flops and let your toes enjoy the freedom they have been waiting for all winter. For nine long dreary months your feet were held hostage in closed shoes or boots in order to survive the cold and wet weather. This probably caused the formation of painful corns, blisters, red irritated skin lesions on your feet and arch cramps. The reason those foot problems occurred is because of abnormal pronation and friction the foot experiences when sliding or moving around in a closed shoe.

Many people have either hammer toes, bunions or both which are genetically predisposed. So yes, you can blame these annoying, often chronic foot problems on mom or dad.

Corns do not grow; they form because of a very common bone problem called a hammer toe. They develop over a period of time due to constant rubbing of the skin over a prominent boney surface on the toe in a closed shoe. This results from the toe box of the shoe being too shallow and there not being adequate room for the toes to wiggle around comfortably.

Hammer toes develop because of abnormal foot pronation. As the arch of the foot begins to collapse during normal walking, the tendons in the top and bottom of the foot become unstable and imbalanced resulting in the toes attempting to grab the ground during walking. The toes begin to curl downward buckling at the middle toe joint causing a bone to pop up, hence the name hammer toe. Blisters, red irritated skin lesions or a hard thick painful corn can form on the top surface of the toe because of friction and can make shoe choices a nightmare.

Bunions can also be a challenge when wearing closed shoes. They too are caused by abnormal pronation. The muscles in the bottom of the foot become weakened due to the arch collapsing when standing, walking or running. This causes a muscle imbalance in the foot. The muscles attached to the big toe fatigue allowing the toe to drift and rotate laterally forming a bunion or boney prominence at the head of the first metatarsal bone. They can get red, swollen and painful limiting shoe wear.

Arch cramps are another byproduct of abnormal foot pronation. The muscles in the arch of the foot suffer from overuse, fatigue, and eventually go into spasm. This painful cramp can occur when the foot is at rest while in bed or when you’re performing normal daily activities.

The solution to eliminating shoe irritation and friction caused by wearing closed shoes is to break out your flat, casual and dress sandals or flip flops.

However, there are few things women must remember about wearing sandals and flip flops. One must be careful about the straps in some sandal styles and make sure they do not irritate the lumps and bumps on the toes. Also, many sandals and flip flops are not designed to support the arch or ball of the foot properly. So adding an arch or metatarsal support to your sandals is also a good idea. They will help reduce abnormal foot pronation as well as prevent foot slippage, arch cramping, ball of the foot pain and take pressure off the great toe joint or bunion.

There are now products available either through the internet or at shoe stores and drug stores. These products can be placed in your sandals and make them more supportive and comfortable. The products are usually made out of soft gels or foam materials. Instant Arches® for sandals and metatarsal pads are just a few of the products that can help make keep your feet happy.

So if you’re kind too your feet this summer, they will forgive for the torture they endured all winter.