Radcliff Runs towards London on a Painful Foot

With less than a month until the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, athletes around the world are striving to be peaking just in time for competition. Unfortunately for the current world record holder in the marathon, Paula Radcliffe, old running injuries in her foot have begun to flare up at this most inopportune time.

As of now, Radcliffe is still set to compete in the marathon on August 5th. Her current foot problem is the result of an old stress fracture that was misdiagnosed in 1994. Radcliffe is no stranger to injuries and accidents and has shown great strength at working her way through to amazing race performances. In 2003, she dislocated her jaw, had whiplash injuries, severe bruising, developed an injury in her right shin and two partially punctured lungs throughout the course of one year. Not only did Paula recover from her injuries in 2003, but she ran her second ever marathon in which she set the world record that same year.

Now, in 2012, an improperly addressed injury from 1994 has resulted in osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease in her foot. The fact that Paula was able to overcome such severe injuries and keep running in 2003 shows how severe osteoarthritis in the foot can be by the fact that Paula’s current foot pain threatens her even participating in the marathon. Following injury, or through excessive wear and tear on a joint, the lining of the joint wears away. This can then lead to overgrowth of bone around the joint and joint motion that is both painful and limited. In the foot, there are twenty synovial cavities, or joint spaces, providing many opportunities for osteoarthritis to develop when the foot is not functioning properly. According to her autobiography, Radcliffe’s 1994 stress fracture that resulted in her current osteoarthritis was partially due to overpronation, or flat foot. While being flat footed is normal in young children, in adults it can be both a sign of other underlying problems and a cause of new problems.

Overpronation contributes to bunions, tailor’s bunions (of the 5thtoe), posterior tibial tendonitis and dysfunction. Luckily, overpronation and the subsequent problems it can lead to can be corrected by wearing custom functional orthotics while running, and in shoes worn throughout the day. Hopefully Paula and her sports medicine doctors and podiatrists will be able to develop a custom orthotic or other treatment plan that can limit the motion of her painful osteoarthritic joint in time for the Olympic marathon!

Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia