All

New Balance vs Brooks

As Podiatrists, we are often asked for our recommendation on a good walking or athletic shoe.  Although there are many brands to choose from, the 2 brands with a long history that consistently impress are New Balance and Brooks Shoes.  New Balance vs. Brooks, which is really better? Since both brands have been around for a while, let us start with a history lesson….. New Balance first began business in 1906 producing arch supports. The small arch support company slowly evolved into the company it is today.  It goes without saying that New Balance has a vested interest in no frills, high quality and support.  The company is still based in New England and in this day and age of outsourcing labor from abroad, New Balance continues to manufacture many of its shoes in the US. What also sets them apart is the wide range of shoe widths from A to E.  The New Balance 990 is their hallmark shoe and was developed in 1982 for a balanced blend of stability, cushioning and flexibility.  The 990 exemplifies the core philosophy of New Balance and continues to be a steadfast for the company. Brooks started business in Philadelphia in 1914.  Currently, they may be known as a running shoe company, but actually started as a manufacturer of all types of athletic shoes, from bathing shoes to ice skates.  As the running market grew, so did Brooks and now the focus has turned to running shoes. In 1993, Brooks began manufacturing its iconic Brooks Beast, a shoe that promotes motion control with firm stability. The Beast is still the leader in the motion control shoe industry today. Although Brooks does not offer the wide range of shoe widths seen with New Balance, most of Brooks shoes are available in narrow, medium and wide widths. Shoes are made up of 4 layers;  the uppers, the insoles, midsoles, and outsoles.  It is the midsole of a shoe that really defines the shoe. Upper:  Simply put, the upper is made of leather, naugahyde, or mesh and covers the top and sides of the foot. The toe box is a part of the upper that covers the toes and provides space for digital deformities such as bunions and hammertoes. Outsole:  This is the rubber on the bottom of the shoe that contacts the ground, providing protection and traction. Insole: The insole is a piece of soft removable foam, which sits inside of the shoe and comes in direct contact with your foot.  The insole provides internal cushioning and support.  It is usually removable, if you wish to accommodate an upgraded insole or orthotic. Midsole:  The midsole is the layer of material sandwiched between the rubber outsole and the insole. This layer is traditionally made of ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA), a soft, foam rubber-like material for shock absorption.  This is often what sets shoes apart.  Although there are differences in the materials used, the shoe you choose usually comes down to personal preference.   Let us compare midsoles of the New Balance and Brooks shoes. New Balance shoes use Absorb technology to provide bounce and stability. It was designed in conjunction with Dupont and lasts longer than EVA. New Balance uses its Rollbar technology to provide more stability to the heel of the midsole for people who excessively pronate. Brooks uses BioMoGo DNA technology to provide adaptive cushioning and support through the whole sole of the shoe. This means that the insole adapts to your foot and running style. In addition, the BioMoGo DNA insole biodegrades 50 times faster in landfills than traditional EVA.  Brooks uses its Progressive Rollbar, labeled PDRB for greater rearfoot control if you are an overpronator and spend long periods of time on your feet. We categorized a few of our favorite athletic shoes below. Walking shoe: If you are someone who needs a structured walking shoe with a deep toebox to accommodate your bunion or hammertoes, the New Balance 928 is a shoe to try. Its firm sole and slight rocker also make it a great option for hallux rigidus. The 928 uses rollbar technology for stability, and has a deep toebox for digital deformities. Shoes for walking and light running with support and accommodation: These shoes are intended for people who enjoying walking, but suffer common orthopedic problems of the feet such as bunions, Morton’s Neuromas and arthritis.   New Balance 847 is a lightweight shoe with a built-in roll bar to provide stability through the midfoot.  The 847’s style has a slightly wider forefoot with additional mesh to accommodate bunion deformities. The Brooks Dyad 8 is a great shoe for stability and support. This shoe provides a wider toebox for accommodation of digital deformities, but has more mesh for better breathability. Shoes for the athlete walker and that overpronates (FlatFoot): If you are mid distance runner or long distance walker just looking for a shoe to support your overpronated foot type, you cannot go wrong with either the New Balance 1260 (mens) and 860 (womens) or Brooks Adrenaline GTS. Both are stability shoes that shine in their industry, providing the balanced blend of stability, durability and cushioning. Shoes for those with supination (high arch): We really like the Brooks Glycerin for people with a neutral to slightly high-arch foot type. We like the New Balance 890 for the runners with neutral to high arches. If you are looking for a shoe slightly lighter in weight with less support, then we recommend the Brooks Ghost. Shoes for those with severe overpronation (Extremely flat feet): This is a great shoe for patients with Posterior Tibial Tendon pathology. This is where Brooks  shines.  Here, Brooks uses its full-length BioMoGo DNA insole with an extended progressive diagonal rollbar, and saddle construction for the utmost in stability. We recommend Brooks Beast for men. We recommend Brooks Ariel for women. Your shoes are your foundation, and good cardiovascular health starts with comfortable feet. We find that Brooks and New Balance are both top in their industry. Both have spent time on research and development of their midsoles, but it comes down to personal preference and biomechanics. In this article, we attempted to provide you with a basic starting place when purchasing your next pair of shoes. We always recommend having a proper shoe fitting by a reputable store that has personnel on staff who understand foot biomechanics, such as Richey & Co. Shoes. Pro Tip: We recommend that you purchase shoes after you have been on your feet for a few hours to ensure a proper fit. Now enjoy your new shoes and stay active! Dr. Lee FirestoneThe information on this site is provided for your assistance only; this site does not provide podiatric advice.  You should never diagnose or treat yourself for a podiatric condition based on the information provided herein, and the information is not provided for that purpose. Likewise, you should never determine that treatment is unnecessary based on this information.  The information contained herein is not a substitute for podiatric care provided by a licensed podiatric professional.  The information provided herein is not podiatric, medical or professional advice.  This site does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Dr. Firestone and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC expressly disclaims all warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, related to any products offered for sale on this web site.  Dr. Firestone and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC further expressly disclaims any product warranties of effectiveness or fitness for any particular purpose or use.  You are solely responsible for your use of, or reliance on, any products offered for sale herein, and any consequences arising out of such use or reliance.  In no event will Dr. Firestone and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC be liable for any damages resulting from use of or reliance on any such products, whether based on warranty, contract, tort or any other legal theory. This Website, and the information contained herein, is provided to you as a service for use at your sole risk.  

Heel Pain: Not Always Plantar Fasciitis

People will often use the word plantar fasciitis interchangeably with heel pain.  Although this may not always be the case as heel pain can be due to other causes such as tarsal tunnel syndrome. The tarsal tunnel is a space along the inside of your ankle where nerves, tendons and blood vessels traverse through a small “tunnel” in your ankle. Pain stemming from tarsal tunnel usually feels like numbness, burning, sharp, shooting and/or tingling sensation on the bottom of the foot. This is a result of the nerve that is going through the tarsal tunnel getting compressed or irritated. Tarsal tunnel syndrome can occur due to space occupying soft tissue lesions such as tumors, trauma, extra bone growth, enlarged veins (varicosities) and biomechanical deformities. Other contributing factors may be repeatedly performing the same motion in the feet (repetitive stress), just like carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist. Treatment consists of rest, anti-inflammatory medication, injections, addressing the biomechanical deformity with orthotics. Some cases of tarsal tunnel with severe symptoms that are not responding to conservative treatment may require surgery. The surgery is done to decompress the nerve within the tarsal tunnel and/or to remove any space-occupying lesion if present. If you are suffering from heel pain, make sure to be evaluated by a foot and ankle specialist so it can be treated appropriately. Remember, not all heel pain is plantar fasciitis.     Dr. Hetal Kathrotiya-Mago works in two offices for your convenience- Silver Spring, MD (MedStar- Leisure World) and Silver Spring, MD (International Dr).    

The information on this site is provided for your assistance only; this site does not provide podiatric advice.  You should never diagnose or treat yourself for a podiatric condition based on the information provided herein, and the information is not provided for that purpose.  Likewise, you should never determine that treatment is unnecessary based on this information.  The information contained herein is not a substitute for podiatric care provided by a licensed podiatric professional.  The information provided herein is not podiatric, medical or professional advice.  This site does not create a doctor-patient relationship.

Dr. Kathrotiya-Mago and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC expressly disclaims all warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, related to any products offered for sale on this web site.  Dr. Kathrotiya-Mago and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC further expressly disclaims any product warranties of effectiveness or fitness for any particular purpose or use.  You are solely responsible for your use of, or reliance on, any products offered for sale herein, and any consequences arising out of such use or reliance.  In no event will Dr. Kathrotiya-Mago and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC be liable for any damages resulting from use of or reliance on any such products, whether based on warranty, contract, tort or any other legal theory.

This Website, and the information contained herein, is provided to you as a service for use at your sole risk.  

Form and Function Meet With Dress Orthotics

We at the Foot and Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic have written quite a bit about custom orthotics. They are very important to maintain the proper alignment and function of your feet. The style you may imagine is a sturdy, full-length device made for sneakers or tennis shoes. But what about the days when you’re wearing dress shoes, or even high heels? The good news is, there are orthotics for those shoes too. A dress orthotic is generally designed to be thinner, more narrow, and shorter- they often go to just the ball of the foot. They still contain the all-so-important arch support, and can be switched from shoe to shoe to allow for more comfort in your various dress shoes. Dress orthotics work well for both men and women- and ladies, for those high heels you love (or love to hate), there are specialty “high heel” custom orthotics as well. So when you are thinking about custom orthotics, consider a second pair for your dress shoes!  Different shoes call for different orthotics, so it’s important to discuss your shoe choices with your podiatrist. What a wonderful feeling, to have comfortable, supported feet both during the workweek, and while at home or on the weekends- dress orthotics can make this a reality.   Foot and Ankle Surgeon Dr. Caitlin MaddenDr. Caitlin Mahan Madden works in our Rockville, MD (Shady Grove) and Wheaton, MD offices. The information on this site is provided for your assistance only; this site does not provide podiatric advice. You should never diagnose or treat yourself for a podiatric condition based on the information provided herein, and the information is not provided for that purpose. Likewise, you should never determine that treatment is unnecessary based on this information. The information contained herein is not a substitute for podiatric care provided by a licensed podiatric professional. The information provided herein is not podiatric, medical or professional advice. This site does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Dr. Caitlin Mahan Madden and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC expressly disclaims all warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, related to any products offered for sale on this web site. Dr. Caitlin Mahan Madden and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC further expressly disclaims any product warranties of effectiveness or fitness for any particular purpose or use. You are solely responsible for your use of, or reliance on, any products offered for sale herein, and any consequences arising out of such use or reliance. In no event will Dr. Caitlin Mahan Madden and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC be liable for any damages resulting from use of or reliance on any such products, whether based on warranty, contract, tort or any other legal theory. This website, and the information contained herein, is provided to you as a service for use at your sole risk.

The Art of Lacing: Yep, It Matters How You Tie Your Running Shoes

Even if you’ve visited your favorite running store, analyzed your gait, and found the perfect shoe for you, how you lace your shoes can affect your performance and overall running experience. “I’ve had runners slip on a pair of running shoes and say they feel great, but when they stand up, or jog around the store or on the treadmill, they’ll tell me something just doesn’t seem right,” said Rob Voigt, who manages the Georgetown Running Company in Washington, D.C. “I’ll re-lace their shoes and ask them to take another jog around the store, and I already know by their smile that the lacing made all the difference.” In fact, according to podiatrist Adam Spector, of Foot and Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic in Wheaton and Rockville, Maryland, if you don’t lace your shoes appropriately for your foot, your performance may suffer and you may have a less-than-pleasant experience as you run.  Dr. Spector is a co-founder of the Montgomery County Road Runners Club’s (MCRRC) Stride Clinic to evaluate runners.  He was a national level swimmer on scholarship at a division 1 college and used running for cross training.  Now running is the centerpiece of Spector’s regular exercise regimen. Even worse, Dr. Spector said, runners can suffer both minor and major injuries if they do not lace their shoes optimally. And that’s because correctly lacing your perfect shoes can keep them perfect while you run. “Your foot and shoe need to become one,” Dr. Spector said.  “The key is to make sure the shoe fits well and then to lace your shoes so that your foot stays stable.” For example, excess side-to-side motion of your foot as you run can create irritation and sheer that may result in blisters, tendonitis or other over-use injuries, according to Dr. Spector. If your foot moves from front to back, you risk experiencing a burning sensation on the bottom of your forefoot or bruising of your toes, which can become increasingly painful.  When the toes get irritated, possibly traumatizing the nail bed and causing bleeding under the nail bed, the nails can turn black and blue. “It’s a myth that you’re not a real runner unless your toenails turn black,” Dr. Spector said.  “They shouldn’t.” Yet you don’t want to secure your feet too tightly either, according to Dr. Spector. “Locking down the tendons in your feet and preventing them from moving freely can injure the tendons or joints and irritate the nerves, conditions that can be difficult to treat and take a long time to heal.” The goal is for your foot to be stable as you run, said Voigt, an endurance runner who played division three lacrosse and hockey in college.  He said a number of lacing strategies are designed to secure your foot while accommodating such common foot issues as bunions, or bony joints at the base of your big toe, a cavus foot, or a foot with a high arch, flat-footedness, or when the sole of your foot comes in complete contact with the ground when you stand or run, narrow heels, and heel spurs, or calcaneal spurs, which are build ups of calcium on your heels. In addition, some lacing techniques can be used to adapt a running shoe if, for whatever reason, you don’t have access to a variety of shoes. “Overseas I didn’t have the luxury of going and trying on lots of different pairs of shoes so I had to make do with what I had,” said Steve Royster, a foreign service officer who just finished his ninth marathon and is currently serving an assignment in Washington, D.C.  “I noticed that if I laced them with different levels of tension or skipping certain eyelets I would get different and sometimes helpful effects.” Royster said he has flat feet so he’s benefited from lacing his shoes through all of the eyelets but then tying them pulled to the outsole, away from the arch. “This helps to adjust shoes that don’t fit as well to give me more support,” Royster said. Voigt also noted that it’s a good idea to ensure that your laces are flat and not twisted as you tie them.  “This is another way to avoid chafing and irritating any of nerves on the top of your feet as you run.” While it’s important for runners to be properly fit for shoes that are comfortable, support their specific foot type and gait and are appropriately laced, runners experiencing pain, skin issues or numbness in their feet that does not resolve quickly, should consider an evaluation by a podiatrist to rule-out more serious local or systemic problems.  Dr. Spector said. He suggests that since “our feet are attached to our bodies, optimizing their biomechanics and function will improve how the rest of our bodies work.” The information on this site is provided for your assistance only; this site does not provide podiatric advice.  You should never diagnose or treat yourself for a podiatric condition based on the information provided herein, and the information is not provided for that purpose.  Likewise, you should never determine that treatment is unnecessary based on this information.  The information contained herein is not a substitute for podiatric care provided by a licensed podiatric professional.  The information provided herein is not podiatric, medical or professional advice.  This site does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Dr. Spector and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC expressly disclaims all warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, related to any products offered for sale on this web site.  Dr. Spector and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC further expressly disclaims any product warranties of effectiveness or fitness for any particular purpose or use.  You are solely responsible for your use of, or reliance on, any products offered for sale herein, and any consequences arising out of such use or reliance.  In no event will Dr. Spector and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC be liable for any damages resulting from use of or reliance on any such products, whether based on warranty, contract, tort or any other legal theory. This Website, and the information contained herein, is provided to you as a service for use at your sole risk.