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Posts for: January, 2014


Your Feet: Sometimes They  SHOULD Hurt.


“Heel No Pain”  is a new product getting a great deal of media attention following its recent introduction.  The product promises to eliminate foot pain with an easy to use, albeit costly ($25.00 for a 2 ounce bottle), foot spray.

There are two preparations, one is for use with high heels and the other for use in sport.  The sport product bears the tagline “loose the pain, win the game”.  The active ingredient is lidocaine, a commonly used local anesthetic used to numb tissue before surgical procedures.  The mechanism of action for the product is to cause numbness in the feet and hence block the sensation of pain.

There are two main queries that spring to mind upon review of this product.  The first question being, it this a good idea?  And next, does it work?

The answer to the first question is straightforward and easy:

Is it a good idea?

NO. It is an extremely bad idea. Foot pain which occurs due to the abnormal biomechanics and forefoot loading, which can result from six inch stilettos or athletic overuse, is a physiological signal that something bad is happening to your body. Pain tells us that we need to stop doing what is causing it.

It is fairly common knowledge that people with diabetes are prone to foot problems including wounds, infections and fractures.  One reason that they are at an increased risk for these problems is that they have diminished sensation. They do not feel a painful stimulus, which would tell a healthy person that a problem is developing.  Mimicking the detrimental effects of a serious medical condition for the sake of fashion or recreational sport is an unacceptable risk, when it could be leading to a condition requiring medical attention;  the fashion conscious should consider the prospect of a few months of immobilization in a cast boot.


Does it work?

Doubtful. In our years of practice, we have tried many prescription strength lidocaine creams, gels, and patches attempting to relieve pain prior to injections or suture removal.  The effectiveness of topically applied lidocaine is minimal when applied to the feet, particularly the thicker skin on the bottom of the feet.  The product may give a little relief for friction injuries; these usually form in response to poorly fitting shoes.

Most foot pain associated with high heel use occurs within the ball of the foot, where the toe joints are. This product will certainly not penetrate deeply enough to provide relief of joint pain.

Foot pain associated with athletic endeavors  are generally caused by overuse.  This  product may provide some relief from minor pain from tendonitis, hence allowing you to continue an activity that your body is trying to tell you to stop.

In short, thumbs down for “Heel No Pain”.

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