Screen shot 2013-10-17 at 7.32.16 AMQ:I followed your advice and threw away my orthotics and started wearing zero drops. My chronic sacroiliac pain (previously treated with Cortisone) has been completely resolved and all the years of feet and leg pains are gone. But now that I need to see a podiatrist for a painful hammertoe. How do I find one who who subscribes to your philosophy? Is there some kind of association they might belong to or what question can I ask to pinpoint their philosophy? I called two offices and was told the doctor only prescribes shoe inserts when needed, but we know what that means. Thank you.

Sock Doc: Unfortunately this is the standard of health care today: orthotics, drugs, and surgery. You might check with your local running store (if they subscribe to the minimalist philosophy) and see what docs they can recommend. Other than that it’s best to ask around; but yes, finding a doctor or therapist to help you figure out the problem rather than treat the symptoms is not an easy task.

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Q: My problem started when I had a fall, landed on my butt, and was admitted to the hospital. I was fortunate that they were no permanent injuries or broken bones. After several years went by, I now suddenly I feel the pain in the butt where I had landed previously, and the pain will go down to my calf, and is often intense when I am running or walking. Sock Doc, please advise what is the cause of the pain and what I can do to get rid of it.

Sock Doc: I often tell my patients that about 80% of injuries you have ever had can and will come back to haunt you. You might not have pain in the previously injured area anymore, but the injury can affect your body via compensations and all of a sudden reveal itself one day in an entirely different place. So it’s best to always have a good structurally-minded doctor or therapist check you out after any injury. This injury you’re suffering from is most likely due to some pelvis imbalance and it’s affecting the musculature all the way down your leg. Falls can cause the pelvis to torque so the muscles of one leg can become too tight on the backside (glutes/hamstrings/calves), and the other leg on the frontside (thigh/shin) area. I’d recommend you find a qualified chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist or other health care provider knowledgeable in this structure to help unwind you!

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Q: I always considered myself flat-footed. But I ran quite happily for many years.But I gave up running maybe 20 years ago. Then I read “Born to Run.” Now I would like to get back into running. First thing I did was get a range of minimalist shoes. Now for the first time I find I have Morton’s Toe {ed.which is when your first metatarsal–not actual toe– is shorter than your second}.  Strange, it’s only painful on my right foot. I think my gait is quite symmetrical. So now the Morton’s Toe pain is much worse than any arch pain I ever had. I can barely walk in flat shoes, never mind run. Any thoughts? I have been experimenting with customized padding, but I feel I am cheating nature. Limping Paul.

Sock Dock:  Dear Limping Paul, you would not just all of a sudden develop Morton’s Toe. You’re  either born this way, or not. So it sounds like you may be suffering from Morton’s Neuroma– which is inflammation of the plantar nerve, and this results in pain.  This is most often from a weakness in the tibialis posterior muscle resulting in improper pronation of your foot. So rather than properly pronating in over to your big toe during the gait cycle, you’re jamming the second toe joint in the process and irritating the nerve. Flat shoes hurt more because there is no external support to help facilitate your movement; it’s all up to the structure of the foot/ankle and it’s not working correctly. Check for muscle-trigger points in the tibialis posterior muscle as I show in the several Sock Doc videos. Often there are points which need to be worked out behind the tibial and fibula close to the upper calf and along the inside of the tibia. You might consider a bit “more” shoe for some time to help alleviate the pain and reduce the inflammation in that plantar nerve.

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Sock Doc is having a Winter Training & Treatment Workshop where participants will learn, train, and be treated by Sock Doc over four days. There will be comprehensive treatment sessions and over 15 hours of training with Sock Doc, with the goal to take your health and fitness to the next level, while any injuries are addressed.  Dates are January 9-12, and space is limited. For more information go here: http://sock-doc.com/sock-doc-workshop/