Monday, August 01, 2016

Started putting my courses online

I've been running and teaching the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camps for a long time and done lots over the years. The feed back continues to be great and it has altered how a lot of podiatrists practice. That is most gratifying for me personally as a teacher. The content of the Boot Camps is always evolving and moving forward as new information is continually being added and old information deleted. The framework or context of clinical practice changes and the content changes. It has now reached the stage that I was becoming a little concerned about the amount I was getting rid of and I was looking at different ways to make that older, but nevertheless good, useful and helpful, material available. I was also beginning to find it more tricky to meet all the requests for Boot Camps in each city every year and finding it tougher to be away so much from the family. The answer was to offer it as an online course with significant amounts of extended content, allowing me to go into much greater depth with the material rather than be restrained by the two days that I typically had for each course. Over time, as a result of my engagement in debates and discussion on places like on Podiatry Arena; writing my different websites on critical thinking about the research underpinnings (Running Research Junkie and Its a Foot Captain, But Not as You Know It) directed me to more issues with critical thinking, logical fallacies and the way to translate research into clinical practice being included in the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camps. It also guided me on (mis)adventures in social media outside my comfort zone, combating the nutters, pseudoscience, woo, quackery, science deniers and nonsense wherever and whenever it came up(ie vaccines, GMO's, chemtrails, medical advice on Facebook, and a whole lot more) and also to further comprehend the role that science plays not only in our own clinical practice, but also in being a good person of this world. Rather than add more of this to the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camp content, I have spun that of into the course concerning how to Become a Skeptical and Critical Thinking Podiatrist. The content is entertaining, wide ranging and will make you a more rewarding clinician, thinker, end user of research and a better person of the world. This program is not what you would cover in a research methods program at podiatry school; but this is the program that I think should be the research methods that you do at podiatry school. With time, more of the new material in the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camps was emphasizing issues surrounding 'running' as that is where so much was changing that was having an influence on changes in clinical practice, even in non-running associated subjects. It was increasing as a proportion of the Boot Camps material and I was starting to get a little uneasy with just how much when not everyone was interested in it. So I have spun off the running shoe material and considerably expanded it into a very in-depth course on Becoming a Running Shoe Guru. You will be a go-to expert and authority at the end of that program. Watch out for more details as it gets added.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

As most of you know, I run, post at and manage many websites (check this list for some). The administration of those websites do occupy and consume a lot of my time so I spent time and money investing in systems and procedures to make it easier. I have also learnt a lot about website softwae platforms such as Wordpress and the forum platforms, vBulletin and Xenforo and how they atcually work and the problems that oour with them. I have also learnt a lot about how to rank websites in the search engines such as Google and have invested in systems and procedures for my sites to be worked on and rank well in the search engines. I have also been on the receiving end of many problems such as server crashes, database errors and a lot of hacked web sites over the years. I have learnt a lot about protecting my websites from all that as well as recovering those affected sites from these problems. I have worked with consultants and experts and participated in forums on these topics and done courses to learn more. These experiences on all of the above have taught me a lot.

Based on all that experience and the systems and procedures I have in place, I have decided to branch out and offer my services to others through three websites:

Podiatry SEO - if you are a podiatrist and a clinic website and want to do better in the search results, I can really help. I have become quite good  and skilled at this and that 'podiatry' understanding and experience makes it so much easier for me!
LookAfterWP - if you have a Wordpress based website and want to have some piece of mind with daily cloud based back ups, updates made and protection form being hacked and a whole lot more, then this is what I do there.I do this every day for my sites.
Hosting Orangutan - this is a small website hosting company that I decided to buy. I thought itwould be easier not to pay so many different website hosts for all my sites, it would be better if I actually owned the hosting company and outsourced the servers and technical support, so I did it.If you want some hosting, then give us a go.

Please contact me via the above websites if you want to find out more; or even better sign up for one or all of the services! Your support is going to be much appreciated by me.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Airia Running Shoes to Improve Performance

I have been following the development and social media spread of these shoes for a while. There was first a thread on Podiatry Arena (which the Airia CEO contributes) and I then did two blog posts about them:
The new ‘biomechanically perfect’ running shoe from Airia?
Another look at the performance claims by the Airia One running shoe; a theoretical context

These two posts pretty much sum up my views on the shoes.

The shoe comes with a lateral forefoot wedge or slant and claims that this can enhance performance. The company has some data that this is the case and I presented in those blog posts a theoretical context on how it could help enhance performance in some runners.

Since then, they have been getting some pretty good reviews (like this one in French!) despite the initial skepticism. They have not exactly set the world on fire yet and we watch this pace to see how they develop. More articles.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The Interest in Toning Shoes

I am starting to see some renewed interest in the toning shoes niche. These are the shoes with design features that are designed deliberately to make the shoe unstable. This instability make the muscles work harder, giving the so called tone up. Players in this market include the Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT), Skechers Shape Ups and the Reebok EasyTone. Gone are the early claims for these shoes that they will cure things like cellulite. However, the claims that were still made for the benefits of these shoes have certainly been over-hyped, leading to some of the companies having to settle with the FDA for multi-millions of dollars. This was because the science did not support the health gains. That did not mean that the claims were wrong; it just means they were not supported by the evidence. The American Council of Fitness also came out with a report casting doubt on the benefits of the toning shoes. This lead to some waning interest in the use of these shoes.

However, more recently there has been a whole issue of the journal, Footwear Science, devoted to the science underpinning these shoes. A number of clinicians are reporting them useful for some selected conditions such as painful hallux rigidus. I have a heard of a few chiropractors who trial them in patients with chronic postural low back pain. While most of the research to date as focused on the biomechanical effects of toning shoes, what is need is more on the outcomes with these clinical conditions so we can be better guided as to when and who to use them in.

I certainly hope that toning shoes are not relegated to the history books as a result of litigation and some negative research findings, as they will have some good clinical uses. They are not going to be much use to tone the butt, however. I have been working on a related project. and an eBook.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Vibram Five Fingers facing class action suit

A class action suit has been filed against Vibram Five Fingers for the health claims that they made for their products that did not eventuate to those who are taking the action. Following the many blog and forums posts on this and the comments on them have been interesting with most missing the point of the suit.

Vibram made health claims for their product that was not supported by the evidence, when there is none that actually supports the claims. It is that simple. Reebok had to settle with the FTC for $25 million for doing the same thing concerning claims about their toning shoes. Skechers is also facing a number of class actions and is in discussion with the FTC for the same allegations. They have set aside $44 million to deal with this.

There have been calls, mostly on minimalist and barefoot websites, for a class action against the traditional running shoe companies. The point being missed is that these companies are not making medical or health benefit claims for their shoes. Just check the most recent editions of running magazines and look at the claims being made in the advertisements. The only claims regarding injury and health are being made by the manufacturers of the minimalist shoes. I suspect Vibram is just the first to face a class action and more will follow. A recent motion to dismiss the case was declined by the judge.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Overpronation in Runners

“Overpronation” has been some sort of buzz word in the running community for a long time, but is generally a meaningless term. It is widely used to wrongly prescribe a specific running shoe (ie motion control). The real problem with the term is that it is a substantial oversimplification of what is actually happening to the foot and the use of the term seems to have made experts in it by some health professionals, running shoe sales people, coaches and even runners who have no sort of medical or related qualification. The blogosphere is also full of non-experts pontificating on myths of overpronation. It is easy to see that they have no real understanding of biomechanics and foot function and what they write is easy to deconstruct. There are numerous reasons why a foot may overpronate, so to advocate one method to treat overpronation over another is just plain ignorance of what the causes of it are. Muscle strengthening will only correct overpronation if a muscle weakness is the cause. Muscle stretching will only correct overpronation if a tight muscle is the cause. Gait retraining will only correction overpronation if there is an abnormality in the gait amenable to gait retraining. Foot orthotics will only correct overpronation is there is an alignment issue with the bones. If you have overpronation, do yourself a favor and see someone who actually understands what it is, rather than listen to the unscientific pontifications of self-proclaimed gurus who just happen to have a blog. For more detail on this, I blogged about it here. There are so many overpronation myths to bust and so little times to deal with them!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Navicular Stress Fracture

Navicular stress fractures are a diagnostic challenge and the existence of the so called “N spot” over the navicular is an important diagnostic suspicion. X-rays are not always helpful with a significant number of false positives. There are no short cuts with a navicular stress fracture, the time non-weightbearing away from sport is a minimum of 5-6 weeks. There is no way around this. I have recently spoken to a couple of colleagues who had to deal with athlete with this and they were looking for ways to avoid that. There is no way. The outcomes and success rates and the return to sport for a navicular stress fracture, regardless if it is a surgical or conservative management plan seem to be about the same. The athlete has to be told: no weightbearing for 5-6 weeks. Find a non-weightbearing activity for them to keep going.

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