San Francisco Podiatry Video


Monday, March 29, 2010

Ironman 70.3 California Race Report by San Francisco Sports Medicine Podiatrist

On Saturday March 27, 2010 I officially started the triathlon season with my first half Ironman.

The Rohto Ironman 70.3 California in Oceanside, CA is one of the most popular events on the 70.3 circuit and this weekend I got to find out why.

Given that I have competed in many full Ironman distance triathlons (but no half-Ironman events) I really only had three main goals for this race:

1. Finish injury-free! (bad form for a podiatrist to get injured while running)
2. Finish in 5 hours 30 minutes or less.
3. Test the engine and see what I need to do to prepare for the 2010 Ironman season.

Early that morning I went out for the obligatory short ride and transition run. It felt great to loosen up all of the 8-hour car ride stiffness sustained from the drive down from the San Francisco Bay Area. The weather was perfect! I picked up my registration packet and went back to the room to meet Paige and Alex and go for a swim with my favorite 2 year-old.

Because the swim portion takes place in the Oceanside Harbor, athletes are not allowed to swim at the site before race day. No big deal as swimming is swimming and it all looks pretty much the same on race day… arms, legs, and churning confusing.

Because the bulk of the bike leg winds through Camp Pendelton, competitors are not allowed to ride on the bike course. This would be the first race where I would have basically know clue of what to expect on the bike.

I just figured I would treat it like one of my group rides in Marin with my biking buddies in the Bay Area. I usually don’t really know the routes I am being led on when we head somewhere new, so this should feel similar. I’d try to just take it as it comes and pay attention to my heart rate and perceived exertion.

We rented a condo right by the harbor which made race morning stress-free as can be. Up at 4:00 a.m., peanut butter and jelly sandwich down, make coffee, shower, get dressed, pump up bike tires, fill aerodrink bottle, gather gear, etc.

It seems like every race lead to some item forgotten in transit to transition, and this was no exception. I had everything meticulously organized. But just as I was headed out of the door I realized it was cold and decided to put on a fleece jacket. In doing so I forgot to put my backpack on again.

So I headed out into the dark and streamed in line with the other 2300 or so athletes heading to transition. I found my spot and racked the bike. When I got ready to lay out my running gear, I realized the conspicuous absence of the back pack.

No big deal as the condo was only about ¼ mile away. I did a warm-up jog back to the condo and grabbed the back pack. Paige, Alex and I then headed back to transition so I could add my towel, running shoes, hat and number belt to the #589 pile in transition.

With everything in place, just had to wait for the start.

The goal for the swim was simple. Relax and swim 1.2 mile in 40 minutes without getting worn out or beaten up.

My swim wave was relatively early and I got to start right at 7:00 am. The cannon went off and away we went. The water was clean, clear and way warmer than San Francisco Bay! It seemed like no time before I was rounding the red turn buoy at the mouth of the harbor. I drafted a little, but mainly tried to stay clear or the flailing arms and kicking feet that surrounded me.

When I got back to the boat ramp, I checked my watch and saw success! Swim time of 39:33, no black eyes, and no one kicked me in the head. I felt great knowing I could get out on the bike without having to extract an impacted earplug (at least this time).

Transition 1:
After the 600 foot long run in a wetsuit, I made it to the bike. Stripped the wetsuit, put on my socks, helmet, Garmin, sunglasses and away I went!

The bike course was great! Lots of gentle rollers, some big long climbs interspersed with plenty of flat stuff where I could get on the gas. I can say with confidence that the course is beautiful as it wind through the Marine Corps base. Big green mountains, wildflowers and blue ocean dominate. There is also the occasional “Tank X-ing” and “Live Fire Zone” signs just to remind you where you are. The soldiers volunteering on the base provided (no surprise) perfect order and execution at the aid stations.

I kept a constant low-stress level on the bike course. I went hard, but easy enough that I knew I could still run the half marathon. After 2 hours 45 minutes and 9 seconds (20.35 mph average) I was back in Oceanside and ready to run.

The run course is a mostly flat out-and-back two-loop affair. The best part was that it runs along the ocean and passes directly in front of the condo where I could see Paige and Alex waiving and cheering from the balcony.

I really wanted to make sure I finished in under 5:30 total. So after some quick math I knew I could coast in as long as I maintained an average pace of 9:00 per mile for the entire half marathon. I went about 9:30 min/mile pace for the first mile to try get moving and loosen up my legs. Then I started to gradually increase the pace.

About two miles from transition I saw my old motorcycle road-racing partner Fred Provis cheering for me out on the course. Fred is one of those guys who can make anyone feel like a champion. He definitely put a spring in my step. The next few miles felt much better. By the first turn around I knew I would make the finish on target.

By the second lap I was in a comfortable groove. I fought the urge to push the pace knowing that I might invite injury, or blow it and end it walking. Given that I had a goal of getting a qualifying slot for Ironman Arizona (as well as doing Ironman Canada five months from now) I knew I should be sensible and just keep the pace steady.

About a quarter mile from the finish I realized I was still slowly creeping up on another guy in my age group. I had been behind him for about 5 miles. For some reason passing him suddenly seemed important.

Right after I crossed the bridge to the harbor, I kicked it in high gear and shot past him. Confident that I was far ahead, I slowed down. Next thing I knew he flew by on my right as we entered the last 50 feet of the finish shoot. I started chasing him as he peered back at me over his right shoulder.

I was picking up speed as we approached the finish line. Then the poor guy suddenly stood bolt upright, grabbed he right hamstring and started limp-running to the line just ahead of me. When I crossed the line he was holding onto a volunteer with one hand his his hamstring with the other. I patted him on the back and said “You reeeeeeally earned that one!”

My total time was 5:29:42. I made my goal with 18 seconds to spare. And most importantly (unlike the guy in front of me), I was injury free. Best of all, I went to watch the roll down... and secured my Ironman Arizona slot. See you in Tempe in November!

Let the training begin...

Dr. Christopher Segler is an Ironman triathete, marathoner, and an award-winning Sports Medicine Podiatrist in San Francisco. He has written extensively on the subject of podiatric sports medicine and running injury prevention. His San Francisco Podiatry practice focuses on house call appointments for busy professionals and athletes who want to prevent or recover from running injuries. He offers the convenience of podiatry house calls at Bay Area homes and offices so that his clients don’t have to lose time going to the doctor or getting custom orthotics. You can learn more about common running injuries at and Doc On The

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What Happens If I Keep Running on a Stress Fracture in the Foot - San Francisco Sports Medicine Podiatrist Explains

Stress fractures in the foot are one of the most common injuries in runners. Although runners often endure many different aches and pains while training for a marathon or half marathon, an ache in the foot that is a stress fracture is one pain that shouldn't be ignored. One of the questions I get from runners on a regular basis is "what happens if I keep running and it is stress fracture."

The short answer is that if you continue to run, the stress fracture will likely get worse and lead to a complete break in the bone.

I have seen this happen more than once. One runner was actually a triathlete. He had been rapidly increasing his milage while training for an olympic distance triathlon. He started to notice a vague aching sensation in foot one day during a run. The next day the foot was sore. By the end of that day at work it was throbbing. He took off a couple of days from running and rode his bike instead. He resumed running a couple of days later. Then he noticed the dull ache in his foot with every step during his run. When he took his shoe off he noticed some bruising of the foot as well. He kept running anyway.

When I finally saw him, he had been running on this painful, aching foot for about 5 weeks. The foot was swollen, tender and bruised. As soon as we took an x-ray of the foot, it was obvious that he had fractured the fifth metatarsal bone. He had to have foot surgery to repair the fractured bone and allow it to heal. Obviously, foot surgery is not a good start to any running or triathlon training season.

A stress fracture is a tiny (virtually invisible) crack in the bone. If you continue to apply stress to it (such as running) the tiny crack gets bigger. Continue running and the crack can lead to a complete break in the bone. Once the bone breaks, the ground essentially pushes the bone up out of the way. At that point the stress that was being applied to that bone get transfered to the bone next to it.

That is what has happened in this xray image. The pain from the 5th metatarsal stress fracture was ignored by the patient. Once the stress fracture turned into a completely broken bone, a stress fracture started to develop in the next bone over (the 4th metatarsal bone).

Generally a sore foot while running warrants attention from a sports medicine podiatrist. Particularly if you want to keep running. With early treatment, you can get it to calm down and avoid disaster. Make sure you find a podiatrist in your area who runs and understands runners. That will give you the best chance of making to the starting line and finish line of your next big race.

Dr. Christopher Segler is a Podiatrist in San Francisco. He is also an Ironman triathlete and marathon runner. He authored a chapter in the Handbook on Podiatric Sports Medicine. He has also won multiple awards from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons for his research on diagnosing subtle foot fractures. He offers podiatry house call appointments for busy professionals and athletes who prefer the convenience of a house call at their home or office, instead of waiting half a day to go to the doctor. You can learn more about stress fractures in the foot at and Doc On Th

Monday, March 15, 2010

San Francisco Podiatrist on Difference Between Heel Pain and a Heel Spur

Heel pain is the most common form of foot pain that causes people in San Francisco to make an appointment with a podiatry clinic. In fact, nationwide, about 40% of all visits to podiatrists are due to heel pain diagnosed as plantar fasciitis. As a podiatrist in San Francisco myself, the thing that I find interesting is that most people with plantar fascitis think they must have a heel spur to have heel pain. But that’s not always true.

So what is the difference between plantar fasciitis and a heel spur?

To begin with, let’s explain how to tell if you have plantar fasciitis. Anyone with plantar fasciits will have pain in the bottom of the heel or in the arch. In most cases this pain is worse when you get up and step out of bed in the morning. The heel may also hurt when you get up from your desk after working at a computer for a couple of hours.

As you start to walk, the first step is usually a sharp pain or sudden ache in the bottom of the heel. After a few steps, the heel pain starts to subside and feels better. In many cases, it may not even hurt at all while you are walking around or even running. But when you sit still and get back up again to start walking, that’s when the heel pain returns.

If you have this kind of morning heel pain and simply push on the bottom of the heel (and it hurts) you most likely have plantar fasciitis.

Many people in the San Francisco Bay Area seem to believe that heel pain is due to a sharp heel spur poking down and causing pain. But in fact about half of all people who have this kind of heel pain don’t have a heel spur at all. And about half of people with no heel pain, happen to have a heel spur that will show up on x-ray. So the two problems aren’t necessarily related.

The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, which is simply inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a big ligament attaching to the bottom of the heel and extending out to the toes. If you put too much stress on the plantar fascia, it can become inflamed where it attached to the heel bone.

With improper biomechanics, such as excessive pronation (flat feet that roll inward as the arch collapses) the plantar fascia ligament may tug away at the heel bone. With tension applied to the plantar fascia, the attachment may cause the heel spur to form.

The way this happens is that the ligament pulls the covering (called the periosteum) of the heel bone away. A small blood clot forms and then becomes calcified as it heals. If this happens again and again, the heel spur gradually grows. Because the heel spur is caused by the pulling on this big ligament, you can understand why a heel spur points out toward the toes and not down toward the ground.

Any podiatrist in San Francisco can simply take an x-ray of your heel to tell whether or not you have a heel spur. But the reality is, it doesn’t matter.

In the last 7 years, I have only surgically removed 2 heel spurs. Both of them were broken and wouldn’t heal. One was an young ironworker in San Francisco who fell off some scaffolding while working on the Golden Gate Bridge retrofit project. The other was a woman in her sixties who has some osteoporosis and broke the heel spur while doing high impact aerobics.

But most people with plantar fasciitis can get better on their own, even if they have a heel spur. In the vast majority of cases, spending a few minutes doing our San Francisco Podiatry Heel Pain Recovery Stretches will make the heel pain go away. The spur just simply doesn’t usually need to be removed in surgery.

Dr. Christopher Segler is a nationally recognized expert on conditions affecting the heel bone. In 2006 he was awarded 1st Place at the National Meeting of the American Podiatric Medical Association for his research on diagnosing heel bone infections with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). He offers podiatry house calls in San Francisco for busy athletes and people who just think it is ridiculous to take half a day off work just to see a foot doctor. You can reach him through Doc On The Run: San Francisco Bay Area Podiatry House Calls.You can also learn more about the causes and available treatments for heel pain at

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Can Your Sports Drink Cause Diabetes? San Francisco Running Podiatrist Explains New Study

San Francisco, CA - March 11, 2010: A new study conducted at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) was just released that blames sports drinks commonly used in marathon training and other endurance sports for the rising epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

The question is.. Do you need to find another way of getting your calories and nutrition during your next long run, marathon, or triathlon?

About the Study
At UCSF, researches used a form of computer modeling called the "Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) Policy Model" to predict effects of sugar-added sports drinks on adults over age 35. One of the lead authors of the study is an internal medicine resident at UCSF. The finding from the study were presented at the "50th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention" in San Francisco from March 2-5, 2010.

The main conclusion from the study were:

• sugary drinks are now contributing to the increased incidence of obesity in America.

• sugary drinks are costing the U.S. Health Care System $300 to $550 million per year.

• increased use of sugary drinks have led to 130,000 new cases of diabetes between 1990 and 2000.

Doctors and podiatrists in are aware and concerned about the growing midsection of America and the associated rise in diabetes. Diabetic foot amputation are more or less preventable, but are still on the rise. Mostly because more people have diabetes in America than ever before. In fact, one study showed that in the next 25 years 1 out of 3 Americans will become diabetic. That's a lot of diabetic feet. So all podiatrists (whether in San Francisco or rural America) are concerned.

So then back to the question. "Is the consumption of sports drinks by runners, triathlete, etc likely to lead to diabetes?"

The answer is... probably not.

The people who are sitting around (on their rapidly growing behinds) playing video games chugging 32 oz. bottles of Powerade are certainly more at risk of developing diabetes that someone drinking a sports drink out on a run.

Here's an example:
On my last 10 mile run along Ocean Beach and through Golden Gate Park, I burned 2,357 calories. During that run I wore a Fuel Belt with diluted Gatorade. In all, I drank four 6 oz. bottles of 1/2 Gatorade and 1/2 water. That's a total of 12 ounces of sports drink. Grand total 310 calories found in 78 grams of carbohydrate (of which 42 grams is sugar). That leaves me with a 2000 calories deficit after my run.

So not only will this sort of athletic activity leave you with a caloric shortage, but we also know that exercise in and of itself is protective (in fact some studies suggest curative) of diabetes.

We know that someone who is "pre-diabetic" can lower their average blood sugar readings, just by exercising 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week. Diabetics using insulin shots have gone from using insulin, to only taking pills just by adding aerobic exercise. This is key to controlling your diabetes and preventing complications like poor circulation in the legs and diabetic foot problems.

So the bottom line is that I will still drink my Gatorade on my next long run. And when I roll through the aid station at Ironman Canada I will grab that gatorade and that Gu. I won't start taping dried dates on my top tube just yet.

Now having said all of that, I will say that I never, ever drink sports drinks... if I'm not wearing a heart rate monitor.

Dr. Christopher Segler is a Podiatrist in San Francisco. He is also an Ironman triathlete and runner. On most days, you will find him riding through Marin, running along Ocean Beach or making house calls for busy athletes who would rather get casted for orthotics at home instead of missing a track session. You can reach him at Doc On The Run. Learn more about common foot problems at

Monday, March 8, 2010

San Francisco Marathon Runner and Bunion Surgeon Posts Video Explaining "What is a Bunion?"

Educational Video by San Francisco Bunion Surgeon "What is a Bunion?"

One day after a marathon, a runner came up to me and explained that he had stopped running because he had so much bunion pain. This guy was no novice runner. And no wimp. He was a multiple Ironman finisher, who had even qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona. He said he just wanted to know if he would be able to run again.

As a runner currently training to earn my own Kona slot, I know first hand the level of pain tolerance that has to exerceised to finish an Ironman in a respectable time. So when he told me that "pain" was what was stopping him from running, I knew he really had to be suffering from some serious bunions.

And he was. So after evaluating his feet, looking at the x-rays, etc., we decided to surgically correct his painful bunion. Interestingly to me, he still didn't really seem to understand how a bunion forms. In fact, I have had many bunion surgery patients who came to see me with bunions who have tried to research bunions on the internet, but still didn't fully understand how a bunion happens.

To help people understand what a bunion is, how a bunion forms, why it gets bigger, why bunions become more painful, etc, I created a short video and posted it. Click on the link above if you want to understand how a bunion develops.

Dr. Christopher Segler is a 4-time Ironman Finisher and foot surgeon in San Francisco. He is also the inventor of the Tarsal Joint Distractor, a surgical instrument designed to help bunion surgeons perform bunion correction surgery faster with a lower complication rate. You can learn more about bunion surgery at San Francisco's Best Foot Info Site. If you are a busy athlete who would rather have a doctor come to you for your evaluation see San Francisco's Podiatry House Call Site.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

San Francisco Podiatrist Posts Video on 1 Hour Ingrown Toenail Relief in San Francisco

Ingrown toenails are easily the most common reason that a podiatrist will see a doctor for pain in the toe. Ingrown toenails can be prevented with some simple tips:

1. Cut normal nails straight across.
2. Keep your nails just shorter than the end of the toe.
3. Avoid shoes that cramp the toes.

The most common way people cause ingrown nails is by cutting them too short. This is often in an attempt to relieve a painful ingrown nail before it becomes infected. Unfortunately, this usually backfires. But even if you try to take it out and make the ingrown toenail worse, you can still get relief. This video explains how you can get ingrown toenail relief in San Francisco in only about an hour, even without going to a podiatry office.

Dr. Christopher Segler is a San Francisco Podiatrist and toenail surgeon. He treats podiatry emergencies (such as ingrown toenails) like they really need treatment now. He drives around San Francisco seeing patients at home, in their offices or even tourists on vacation in their hotel rooms. No one needs to suffer with a painful infected ingrown toenail. If you need immediate relief from an ingrown toenail in only an hour, you can reach him directly at (415) 308-0833. You can learn more about ingrown toenails at San Francisco's Podiatry House Call Site and San Francisco's Best Podiatry Patient Information Site

Monday, March 1, 2010

San Francisco Podiatrist Explains Why Athlete's Foot is Common in Bay Area Runners and Cyclists

Athlete's foot is a fungus infection of the skin that often occurs in runners, cyclists and other athletes. It just so happens that the San Francisco Bay Area has a climate that can make it easier for you do develop a case of itching, burning, peeling feet that characterizes the condition.

In order for any fungus to grow best, it needs a habitat that is dark, warm and moist. As it turns out, shoes are perfect for this. You put on your running shoes and head out for a run through Golden Gate Park. Your feet sweat (even if it is fifty degrees), and the heat from your feet turns the shoe into a little incubator for the nasty stuff to grow. If it is like many days in San Francisco, you may even get some rain or light drizzle further soaking your shoes. Then you get home and toss your shoes in the closet until you get ready to go for a run the next day.

The problem is that very few closets have heat or air conditioning vents in them. For this reason, the shoes just won't dry out. They stay damp. And damp running shoes equals fungus.

Cyclists have a similar problem. Head out on the road to Nicassio or anywhere else in Marin county on the weekend and you will see hundreds of cyclist out for a ride. Most of them are wearing shoe covers to help keep their feet warm and dry. But these shoe covers don't breathe very well. As a result, all of that moisture gets trapped inside the cycling shoes. Once the ride is over, many cyclists will toss there shoes in the garage right next to their bike. Sitting in a cool and damp garage keeps the inside of those cycling shoes damp as well.

Sooner or later, the fungal spores in the shoes will cause an athlete's foot infection. Often this is just nothing more than mild peeling of the skin on the bottoms of the feet (see picture above). But some people get severe itching, redness and burning of the feet. Once in a while a secondary infection (caused by bacteria) can start an even bigger problem.

So what to do?

First off, it is very easy to prevent athlete's foot by simply drying your running shoes and cycling shoes out. Bring them inside. I usually leave mine near of a heating vent for a couple of hours after I go running or biking. This ensures that the insides of the shoes will stay dry. Dry shoes don't support fungus very well. If you wear cycling shoe covers, take them off after every bike ride to help them dry out.

If you do get athlete's foot, over-the-counter (OTC) anti-fungal treatment creams will usually cure the problem in about 4 weeks. All you have to do is follow the directions on the tube. Make sure you use the cream for about a week after the problem seems to have gone away. Otherwise you might still have some fungus in the skin that can flare back up in only a couple of weeks after you stop applying the anti-fungal medicine.

Keep in mind that if you get athlete's foot, you will have been shedding fungal spores in your shoes. You need to decontaminate them by spraying lysol in your shoes and letting them dry out thoroughly afterward. If the athlete's foot doesn't improve after you treat it yourself with OTC medications, see the best podiatrist you can find.

Dr. Christopher Segler is a runner and Ironman triathlete who practices Podiatry in San Francisco. He offers house calls to busy athlete's through You can learn more about common causes of foot pain at www., San Francisco's best podiatry treatment information site.