San Francisco Podiatry Video


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Houston Marathon Race Report

2011 was a year plagued by urgent sports medicine consults and surgery. With a sports medicine practice structured to provide rapid access to aching athletes, my own training seemed to get buried. So I planned 2012 to begin as a year of racing myself back into shape.

The Chevron Houston Marathon, just two weeks into the new year seemed a great place to start. This was my third year registered for Houston, but would be my first attempt at this event. I was a no-show for both the 2010 and 2011 editions of the marathon, again forced to stay in San Francisco to take care of patients.

Just two days before my departure this year I would have a work matter come up that threatened to thwart my marathon again. I re-booked the flight, so I could fly in at the last minute. Sleep deprived running would be better than no running. A plane with a “broken hose inside the wing” left me anxious and sitting at LAX for an extra 5 hours, but eventually I made it to Houston.

I was excited to run as I would be joining my sister and my brother-in-law. It was his first marathon. My sister Laura however is a veteran.

After a few hours of sleep the three of us were up in the dark and parked in downtown Houston. The temperature was 41 degrees but forecasted to rise to about 60. Perfect!

Because 2011 was so busy with work, I hadn’t actually run more than 13.1 miles since Ironman Texas. That was eight months ago. So the plan for my race was simple. Run steady. Don’t walk. Don’t do anything dumb enough to cause an injury.

I went out for a test run about a week ago to plan my pace for the marathon. I ran 13.1 miles, from the San Francisco zoo, along the Great Highway, up through Golden Gate park and back. I covered the half marathon distance in 1:42. So I figured that a 3:40 marathon would be a reasonable goal.

The Houston Marathon is a huge event, but the organization was great. Runners were separated into corrals based on expected pace. I found the 3:40 pace crowd and waited for the start.

After the mayor spoke and the national anthem was sung, the wheelchair start was off. Ten minutes to gun-time. I took off my warm-up pants and tossed them over the fence into a growing pile of running wear that was to be gathered and donated to the homeless. It was cold, so I kept the sweatshirt on.

The gun went off and anxious shuffling commenced. Thousands of runners trying not to bump into each other, trudging through the shoot, pointed out of town. Like magic, as soon as I hit the start timing mat, running began. Almost instantly the mass was at a seemingly coordinated 8:00 min per mile pace.

As we rounded the overpass, it was a fascinating sight to see. Dawn cast an orange hue on the horizon. There ahead, as far as I could see was a street stuffed with a colorful gyrating mass of bobbing heads flowing through the street.

One mile in and I was finally warm. I bid my sweatshirt goodbye and tossed it into a pile of clothes on the sidewalk. A couple of slow runners suddenly appeared in front of me, creating a challenge to dodge them, without elbowing anyone or stepping on any heels. Time to ignore the crowd and stay on pace.

Before I knew it I was out of downtown and in the Heights. Five miles into the race I passed my sisters house, which happens to be right on the course itself. There on the sidewalk were my twin nephews who offered up a matching pair of enthusiastic high fives.

We kept rolling south through Montrose and towards West University. Bands played. People cheered. A priest stood in the street, waiving a palm frond dipped in holy water, blessing the flowing crowd of runners.

The course continued, flat as a pancake, through historic neighborhoods, under the shady tunnel of trees near Rice University and out through Memorial. As we hit Memorial Park, I had my last energy gel and knew I would make it. All I had to do was keep running and I would be in somewhere close to my goal.

Just then I saw my friends Henry and Josh cheering wildly, a great boost for the final stretch. The last few miles had the only real sequence of hills. But my frequent runs at Lake Merced, Crystal Springs and through Golden Gate Park, made them seem like speed bumps. In the last 4.5 miles I passed 162 runners, but only got passed by 10.

Right turn on Shepherd then left on Allen Parkway. The crowds got bigger, the cheers louder and the buildings of downtown steadily grew into the sky. As I felt the headwind pick-up, I realized it was the wind funneling between the skyscrapers. I was downtown, just blocks from the finish. I felt great and was tempted to turn up the juice, but then the voice of reason rang through me head…”you haven’t run more than 13.1 miles in 8 months. You have Ironman St. George and Ironman France coming up...DON’T DO ANYTHING STUPID!”

And so I stayed on pace. Round the corner and down the longest finish chute I have ever seen. Across the line in 3:41, actually a new PR. Today, I will call that success.

2012 is officially off to a very good start.

Dr. Christopher Segler is a marathon runner, 6-Time Ironman Finisher, and sports medicine podiatrist in San Francisco. He lectures to other foot and ankle surgeons at medical conferences on the topic of complicated running injuries. His practice focuses on runners and triathletes who have complicated injuries and cannot seem to get an accurate diagnosis. You can learn more about foot and ankle injuries at and learn more about housecalls for runners in San Francisco at He performs second opinion consultations for runners and triathletes world-wide through

Monday, January 9, 2012

When is Surgery Needed for a Ganglion Cyst in the Foot by San Francisco Running Foot Surgeon

A runner with a ganglion cyst called from San Francisco and had the simple question. "When should a runner consider ganglion surgery?" Here is the answer....

Whenever a patient has a big squishy lump on the top of the foot, big toe joint or the ankle joint, they want to know what will make it go away. The most common soft tissue mass in the foot is a ganglion cyst. Sometimes ganglion cysts will go away on their own. Sometimes the ganglion cyst needs to be drained. But sometimes a ganglion cyst in the foot needs surgery.

There are really 3 reasons that a ganglion cyst in the foot or ankle will need surgery

1. The ganglion cyst is painful.
2. The ganglion cyst is pushing directly on a nerve and can cause nerve damage.
3. The ganglion cyst is so big that it makes it difficult to wear shoes.

Unfortunately, many times ganglion cyst happen to develop in locations that are positioned close to nerves. This is really the best reason for a runner to think about ganglion surgery.

The tingling and burning pain that is often associated with a ganglion cyst is usually because the soft tissue mass is pushing against a nerve and causing the nerve to become irritated. If this continues for a long period of time, you can develop chronic pain or permanent nerve damage. The skin on the top of the foot is very thin and when a soft tissue mass develops the mass gets squished between the shoe and the bones that are close to the skin. The nerves that are located in that area can then get caught in the middle and cause pain. For this reason midfoot ganglion cysts often have to be removed surgically.

Dr. Christopher Segler is a runner, 6-Time Ironman finisher and a nationally recognized foot surgeon and sports medicine podiatrist who focuses on rapid recovery from running injuries. He is an internationally recognized expert in the treatment soft tissue masses that may appear to be ganglion cysts. His research and theories on PVNS (a dangerous soft tissue mass that is often mis-daignosed as a ganglion in young adults) have been published in the medically journals and were used as the basis for new treatment methods of these soft tissue masses. He practices podiatry, sports medicine and surgery in San Francisco.

You can learn more about the best treatment for ganglion cysts in the foot at and If you live out-of-state or abroad, you can arrange a remote consultation with a true running expert through

Friday, January 6, 2012

Achilles Tendonitis in a Runner...from dropping out to 4th place.

We recently received this inspiring patient testimonial from a runner who had been suffering with chronic Achilles Tendinitis that was so bad it actually forced him to drop out of a race. Dr. Segler saw him and helped him heal the Achilles tendon with some simple treatments..and NO surgery. He didn't even need a PRP injection to heal the Achilles tendon. He went on to run a half marathon, full marathon and compete with his team to win 4th place at the PA/USATF 2011 Cross Country Grand Prix.

"I'm a runner who competes in the PA/USATF. I injured my achilles (tendinitis) last summer and needed to recover before the start of the cross country season (1st week of Sept).

This injury had been bothering me chronically for the last year and a half, impairing my training and in some occasions, forcing me to drop out during races. I called Dr Segler following a drop out from a local race last July. My achilles was very painful and I had difficulty walking. I'm generally a point-scorer for the team (top 5 runners) so my return to competition was much anticipated by my teammates.

Dr Segler came to my house and assessed my injury, explained what type of tendinitis I had and gave me a number of options and treatments (I think 12 in total). Most importantly for me, Dr Segler understood my need to not become totally out of shape before the XC season. Since he is a triathlete himself, he knows what competition means, the efforts you've put into your training, and the satisfaction of a good race. For my type of injury, most doctors would simply recommend to (heavily) use NSAIDs, rest and not run at all for a number of weeks.

Dr Segler gave me additional options to maintain a minimum level of fitness while my tendon was recovering. I followed his advice to the letter and got better in a few weeks, while maintaining some training. I returned to competition on Aug 27th, ran many of this year's XC races, and contributed to my team achieving 4th place at the PA/USATF 2011 XC Grand Prix. More recently I completed a half and full marathon part of the PA/USATF road racing Grand Prix and was part of the "A" scoring team. A great feeling ! I think we will take 3rd place in the Grand Prix this season, the best the club has done in years ... Thanks Doc !"

- Patrick M., San Francisco, CA

Dr. Christopher Segler is a runner, triathlete and 6-time Ironman finisher. His practice focuses on rapid recovery of running injuries. He offers a range of services to help runners get back to running as quickly possible. He provides PRP injections for Achilles tendonitis and ESWT therapy for heel pain in San Francisco, Marin and Palo Alto. He also frequently provides second opinions for runners through remote consultations via web conferencing for complicated injuries world-wide. The best treatment is fast treatment! If you have a question about running injuries, you can reach Dr. Segler directly at 415-308-0833.