Category Archives: Running

Trail and Tails 5K this Weekend!! RUNNING WITH YOUR DOGS? WHY NOT

The Whitpain Trails and Tails 5K and 1 mile Fun Run at Prophecy Creek Park is on November 9th at 9am. We are happy to be a sponsor for this race. It is a great course, reminds me of my old cross country days. It’s an all grass course (rare to find these days) and Prophecy Creek Park is scenic and beautiful right in the heart of Whitpain Township. Please join us to support the community as proceeds will go towards building both a dog park and walking trails! Please note: You can run with or without a dog.

You can register the day of the race or at the website link below:

Happy Running!!!

Heel Pain is SO HOT RIGHT NOW!

One of the most common problems that come into my office is heel pain/plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the result of faulty mechanics in the foot and ankle and results from repetitive trauma/overuse.

A lot of my patients pause when I tell them “trauma” and say, “I don’t remember any trauma!”

You probably don’t remember any trauma because WE TAKE WALKING FOR GRANTED.  (Caps lock means I’m yelling)

It’s dangerous out there in our “concrete jungle” that Jay-Z raps about. Every step that you take can lead to stress on the plantar fascia and can lead to the development of the pain you feel on the heel. Now, our population is becoming more active (Couch to whatever K, Cross-fit, Zumba, Yoga,  etc) and something like heel pain can cause a big problem.

But plantar fasciitis is different. It is a combination of pain consisting of the small tears in the ligament, the swelling that accompanies it and also nerve entrapment due to the swelling all causing you pain.

I always say to my patients, “This is why this hurts like nothing else.”

So what’s the solution? I believe in the body’ s ability to heal itself.  Rest can help, but we are walking creatures.  So we need to correct the mechanics (the way you are walking) and eliminate the causative factors.  This may involve support with an orthotic device, stretching, physical therapy and controlling the inflammation.  Nothing better than a good stretch! (See Below)


I wish I had a cookbook way of fixing this problem, but every patient is different…and special, of course. I start with my evaluation, getting a clear history and performing an x-ray to rule out any underlying problems.

With a multiple treatment approach, I have seen great outcomes.

If you are suffering from heel pain, there is nothing better than making an appointment and starting you on your way to a healthy life.

Let’s get you better. Dr. P



New Training Secrets From My Newest Running Partner

Running has always brought me happiness and has been a very spiritual experience.  It has always been a safe place for me.  When I had to think, handle emotions, I could always run and nobody could stop me.  It started at age 11.  It became part of my life in high school. It became my life for four great years at LaSalle.  I’ve had the honor of running with a sub four minute miler, All Americans, National qualifiers, my brother, my best friends and my wife, but today, I found my newest running partner.

My New Training Partner

Today, I strapped up the B.O.B. and went on a short run with my new daughter, Maci.  It was different than any other run.  It was challenging not running with my arms, I never held a steering wheel as tight as I held that stroller handle.  And while I ran, I ran past my past.  I ran by little kids playing little league baseball (watched a kid struck out like I used).  I ran by teenagers crossing over each other and breaking ankles on the basketball court.  I crossed paths with a tall and lanky speedster with curly hair who was 6 months past due on a hair cut. I smiled and I looked down at my new running buddy.  I didn’t care what I looked like, because she was smiling at me.

I felt the excitement I felt running in big races and watching my college friends on the biggest stage. Only today, there was only one person watching me.  And I was happy running again.

Where’s the Chooch? Carlos Ruiz Out 4-6 Weeks

It appears my favorite Phillie is gonna be riding the pine due to plantar fasciitis.  Medical reports state that studies showed a partial tear of the plantar fascia and Chooch will be out 4-6 weeks. And why not, the year is going so well anyway!

The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs on the bottom of the foot from the heel bone to the toes.  Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of this tissue in the area where it inserts into the heel bone.   Most commonly due to repetitive injury and overuse,  this inflammation, if severe enough can land you on the disabled list.  Making this even more painful, inflammation in this area can cause entrapment of a local nerve.

The plantar fascia’s job is to support the arch of the foot and stabilize the foot in the walking cycle.  Based on Carlos Ruiz’s job, he stresses his plantar fascia behind the plate more than 150 times (average pitches per game in MLB).  That number doesn’t include batting, running, and warmups.

The Phillies’ physician and trainers are dealing with a common but difficult foot injury and rest is the key to starting the healing process. But here is the bright side: Chooch will get better.

Has anyone ever suffered from this injury, if so answer me this:  How long did it take for it to go away?

I shouldn’t be telling you this, but….

Guess what your favorite podiatrist woke up to this morning: Heel pain. Heel pain and plantar fasciitis account for about 15-20% of the patients that come into good old Barking Dogs Foot and Ankle Care in Plymouth Meeeting, PA. I speak ad nauseum about stretching and icing and beg people to follow my directions. Being that my patients are the BEST (eh hm), they always follow what their doctor says, but what about when the doctor doesn’t take his own advice.

It happened to me. I’ve been training for a race, and as I’ve discussed before, I am not the skinny little kid I was back in these days.

Sean Pelkey, Marc Cianfrani, Kevin Myles, Thomas Sabol

Sean Pelkey, Marc Cianfrani, Kevin Myles, Thomas Sabol

So the training is different and the mileage is way different. (100 miles per week vs. 30 miles per week). Usually I am in a rush, stretching gets the bypass with the feeling that I’ll just start slowly and stretch out as I go and the result is this.

Here are my symptoms, doc:

Whenever I wake up and step down on the floor, directly under my heel I feel serious pain. It’s hard to describe, it BURNS, it is STABBING and it radiates up my leg and into my arch. If I can keep going, it eventually warms up and I can get through the day. (SMART WORD ALERT: POST STATIC DYSKENESIA)  This pain without treatment continues to worsen. Until I go see my local foot and ankle doctor.  (For me this only takes a glimpse in the mirror and a aggressive talking to.)

It is likely that you are suffering from a condition called Plantar Fasciitis. This is a sports injury that can occur from overuse/training injuries. It is very common and it can happen to any foot type and person type. I have treated elite runners to the hard working person on their feet all day.  Usually, when having a thorough history of the problem and a physical examination by your podiatric specialist, a determination of your problem and treatment plan can be started.

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammatory process involving a band of tissue that runs from the heel bone to the ball of foot and toes on the bottom of your foot. Due to repetitive injury and overuse, the area where this band inserts can get inflamed and sometimes tear.  The injury itself can hurt but also due to inflammation in the area, a nerve (BAXTER’s NERVE) can get entrapped. THIS IS WHY THIS PAIN IS LIKE NOTHING YOU”VE EVER EXPERIENCED. There is something about nerve pain, no disrespect to the other pains in our life, but nerve pain is exquisitie in its ability to stop a moving locomotive aka YOU.  The plantar fascia’s job is to support the arch of the foot an function in stabilizing the foot in the gait (walking) cycle. The reason why the pain will go away is because you are warming up the area and it help reduce the inflammation. But as soon as you sit down: welcome back heel pain.


First and foremost you should search out a medical evaluation to help diagnose the problem. There are others things that this could also be; so a good, handsome young foot doctor, particularly one located in Plymouth Meeting and a former runner, would be the best.

Depending on the findings, a treatment plan will be established. Don’t fear that when you go to the podiatrist, that you are locked in for a needle and a follow up appointment in two weeks. At Barking Dogs Foot and Ankle Care, I believe in the body’s intrinsic ability to heal itself. I like to establish a treatment plant that focuses on supporting the plantar fascia, relieving the stress through a stretching program and possibly looking into a therapeutic intervention to get you back to action ASAP. An xray is helpful to diagnose this problem further.

Alot of patients come into the office and say “I have a heel spur, my friend told me that.” And it is likely that you may have a heel spur, but in my experience, if I took x-rays of ten patients, 6 would have a spur on their heel bone (calcaneus), and only 1 of those patients would complain about it.  This is a biomechanical problem, so in order to treat this we need to treat the entire body in the walking cycle. That’s why stretching, support and control of inflammation can be so effective.

Surgery is never the first option and if that is what is suggested to you, kindly excuse yourself from the room, settle up and exit the office. The body with the right treatment plan can heel (get it) itself!

This is a topic that will only grow, next time we will talk about the future of treatments in heel pain with a focus on physical therapy. treatment.

But as always; I leave you with a question: What do you think is the most common misconception about foot doctors?

Running In Valley Green and Catching Leaves

Elbow Leaf

Elbow Leaf

Hey everybody, it’s your favorite running podiatrist, Nick Pagano, back from a hiatus.

It was a nice day to run yesterday with a nice chill in the air at 8 AM, a perfect day to log in some miles at Valley Green.  I usually use this blog to discuss foot problems, but every once in a while, the runner dork in me comes out.

Valley Green is a beautiful, secluded stretch that runs through the heart of Philadelphia. It’s a stone and dirt path with plenty of trails that attract photographers, runners, walkers, dogs, and fishermen. Valley Green is a good place to get lost and is a sacred place to me. Fifteen years ago, my love affair with the Green began.  Every Tuesday for four years, Coach Charles Torpey would torture me with tempo run workouts.  Then, the rest of the week, me and the other La Salle University harriers would include this path in our team runs. Lots of miles and lots of memories.

One unknown sport that developed during the autumn college days is the ancient art of “Leaf Catching.”  Catching leaves mimics life.  There are simple rules to catch a leaf just like there is to living life:

1. You have to have the awareness and knowledge of how to catch a leaf. It is not a swipe or a grab, it is a simple closure of all your fingers at the right moment.

2. You have to be in the right place at the right time. These leaves haphazardly fall and flop around.  Even when you have one at the right level of your hand, that doesn’t guarantee success.

3. You gotta have a little luck. I was never good at catching these leaves. But every once in a while I’d get lucky. On my run this past Saturday, I turned my focus to leaf catching (because I was dragging) and didn’t catch a single leaf until 1/2 mile to go. Where did I catch it: In my elbow??!!?? Hey, but that is rule #3: A little luck.

So when you are out on your runs this fall, take in the foliage, but also take up a new sport. Leaf catching will spice up your run, and it will make time go by a little faster.  Let’s be a honest, sometimes those long runs suck.

Enjoy this fall running, it really is the best time to train in the Mid Atlantic area. Make sure your shoes aren’t shot, stretch appropriately, don’t over train, and have a great time!