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New to the Sock Doc Site? Start With These Articles!


  1. The Sock Doc Training Principles Parts I-V

  2. Sock Doc First Aid For Injuries Parts I-IV

  3. A Paleo-Type Diet for Superior Athletic Performance

  4. Stop Stretching!

  5. Orthotics – Are They Really Ever Necessary?

  6. Joint & Tissue Repair For Athletes

  7. Healthy People = Barefoot People

  8. Trigger Point Therapy

  9. Your Running Shoes Are Only Part of the Injury-Free Prescription

  10. Overpronation Is Really Not Your Problem

  11. Educate Yourself to Recover From and Prevent Any Injury

  12. The Least of Your Concerns: Height, Weight, and Length


  1. Ashley Reynolds-Aguilar says:

    Good Morning Doc,

    Loaded question of sorts. I am an athletic trainer at the high school level in deep south Texas near the border of Mexico. I so believe in many of the things that you talk about, and try my hardest to get at least a little bit of good info in there for my athletes without looking a little like a hypocrite. I have many chronic problems as well, but I am more concerned about treating my athletes, I can ask about myself later. I work and live in a 99.7% Hispanic area in which medicines are rampant, shins splints are treated with ice massage and stretching, and our wonderful orthopedist and physical therapist do not believe in anything other than western medicines. (Both of these men are exceptional at what they do I might add.) This poses a really difficult question. Working with Duke and North Carolina, do their athletic trainers, orthopods, and coaches for the various teams work with you, and how would you go about implementing some of your theories in a high school training room setting in an area that is extremely saturated with obesity, Chronic High blood pressure and diabetes and cardiovascular disease? Where would you even begin to start?
    Thanks so much for any input you can give.

    • Well as you may have read in my testimonial from Hall of Fame Duke Soccer Coach John Rennie “My athletic department hates him…” – he actually wasn’t kidding. They do (or have in the past anyway), and have given coaches a lot of trouble for bringing their athletes to me for treatment – these are athletes who have been injured for a long time, and are unable to play or often even train, and the athletic sports medicine department has been unable to resolve their condition for usually several months. It’s an ego thing, especially schools of medicine as these. Unfortunately most are not open to new ways of treatment and the athlete suffers by way of the “if we can’t fix it nobody can” mentality. So I only see these athletes when they are, and have been, chronically injured for a long time and they need to be back yesterday. It’s tough; they don’t see the prevention aspect of health care or the performance benefits either – or of course the natural ways to treat and prevent diseases such as HBP and diabetes as you mention.

      Over the years they (both) schools have been more open to my treatments, but I am off-campus and not affiliated with any university or program. So being completely independent, I have no one to take orders from, and no one to answer to, as you do. So you’re in a much different situation. The trainers at UNC often come to their athlete’s treatments in my office because they really like what I do and they want to learn some of it which I think is awesome. Part of that is based off of the success they’ve seen, the other is because they’re open-minded “outside the box” individuals. Sounds like you don’t have that there. So you can start small – working a trigger point instead of ice or stretching – and after a while the players will want to see you and only you because you’re fixing them faster than anyone else and they’re feeling great. Then one of two things will happen – the administration will love you for it and be interested or they’ll fire you. Hopefully it’s the former and not the latter!

  2. I’ve been reading your articles. I have a case of PF and on the same foot my adjacent toe overlaps the big toe. Can you offer some advise?

  3. I was diagnosed with Hallux Rigidus, both feet, about 12 years ago. have been wearing custom-made orthotics since then. Experienced relief at first, but for the past few years I could only only walk with considerable pain in both toes, until about 2 months ago, when I noticed the pain was GONE, even was able to walk with sandals with no orthotics, and barefoot. surprised since x-rays showed no cartilage left, and bone spurs. I was glad I had postponed foot surgery a year or so ago. not sure what to attribute this t, except I have been doing some isometric exercises. the instructor insists that the body be in alignment while doing exercises, with putting weight on the outside of the foot. I am happy whatever the reason, except that recently, I have been experiencing discomfort on the inside of my feet (insteps) while walking. my local foot store thought my orthotics, plus my band-new motion stable shoe, could be causing the problem. They sold me other shoes, and while I am not in as much pain, I am still experiencing discomfort while walking. any thoughts, suggestions? I am 61, if that matters.

  4. Brandon says:

    I am currently experiencing ball-of-foot pain in my right foot. It is specifically occurring with the three middle toes of the foot. Personally, I suspect that this occurred from trying to go barefoot too quickly. (I’ve only done barefoot walking; I have no interests in barefoot running or barefoot hiking at the moment.) What would you recommend in regard to treatment of the right foot? Thank you! I look forward to hearing from you soon!

  5. Dear Doc,

    I stubbed my little toe against a furniture bench wooden foot. I thought I heard a snap. X-rays taken, nothing broken. Small area near and including my little toe were swollen and bruised. The bruise colors have almost disappeared but pain persists. I’ve developed upper back pain and leg (same side) tightening/discomfort. I’m assuming it’s all related because I can’t walk properly. It’s been four days. I’ve been taking Motrin but I’m trying not to take so much.

    Based on what I’ve told you, does this sound normal? How long does it take to get better and what should I watch out for before returning to my doctor? Anything you can suggest that might help?
    Thank you.

  6. Hi, I’m 65 yrs young female who has had plantar facitis for 4 months now. I’ve done the usual icing, stretching exercises, injections of homeopathics and herbs from my naturopath, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine. it was better until I spent this last month in India and have come home now limping with it back to almost square one. So, read a lot on your website. I am vegetarian 40 yrs now (so no Paleo diet for me), do pilates, yoga, and did do the rebounder until this , usually exercise 4 or 5 times a week, meditate, use only natural medicines, take some supplements and greens drink, eat only organic and non-gmo and overall have been fairly healthy and peaceful. My questions would be: 1. with PF do you believe in taping at all for a while? 2. I have always gone barefoot at home most of my life but have bought SOLE orthoditics recently before finding your website, bought expensive Naot shoes that didn’t help so now what shoes to buy to releive the pain yet will not ruin my feet? 3.I’ve never liked or worn runners (they’re ugly, sorry) so what to do? I need sandals without the toe thing when I am in India at various times and regular shoes when I’m in the rainy climates of Canada? 4. Was going to try some Reflexology that works with PF which might mean deep work, what do you think? I think that is most of my questions. I appreciate your wholistic approach and believe basically in your thoughts of getting the muscles stronger and healing the body. Yet confused about the minimilistic footwear vs some arch support to help with the pain. Maybe do both? Thanks for your time and work. I’ve already sent this website to others.

  7. Hard floors? Is it a coincidence that a longterm ankle injury I’ve been trying to get rid of started up after replacing floors in our home with travertine stone tiles? I work at home and have a stand up desk, am usually barefoot, got injured after overtraining (too long runs after taking time off) , minimalist footwear for running. But I’m wondering if losing the carpet and replacing with stone and hardwood in the bedrooms is taking some sort of toll. If so, what to do? (Short of replacing floors…) thanks.

    • What you did was add another factor to the equation here. You removed extra cushion/support making your feet work harder; and they’re not able to do so.

      • Thanks, Sock Doc. So I have a pad I’m now standing on while at my desk, which is super soft. Should I maybe not be as barefoot around the place as before? Get some cushion/support to replace what we removed when we had the tile put in? Thanks again.

  8. Hi, I have plantar faciitis 5 months now. I’ve done everything the conventional way and now the last month or so have followed your regime. The exercises 2 or 3 times daily, my diet is and has been for years health vegetarian with all the things you suggest, I am used to being in my socks anyway around the house and have done laps now around the yard. I’m in my 60’s and other than this really healthy.
    I’ve use mary jane eccoe shoes, some naots which are flat sandals and not huge arch support but some,
    I exercise, don’t stretch, yoga pilates, but after a month of your regime my foot is still the same.
    I know a month may not be a lot but even with resting at home my heel/foot can start killing me or out walking in shoes. Some days better than others. My question is how long do think this will take given my background? Am I looking at 6 months or more? I am just now thinking about getting some runner type shoes while I’m not a fan of them for my style of dress, anything ease this pain and start healing
    for good. I wouldn’t go minimialst perhaps but transitional.

    Any advice and what time do you think we are looking at? Oh, I do pressure trigger point on both legs even though just one is affected twice a day and just a roller also.


  9. Thanks for your reply. I thought with the info. I emailed you, you might be able to give some general time frame of when you see your patients start recovering and heal the PF. While I totally understand you can’t diagnose to give a totally accurate answer my hope was some idea of time frame so I don’t give up too soon. I’d love to come and see you but don’t even live in the same country so not a possibility. I do appreciate your wonderful website and your approach which is much like mine in health matters.
    So I’ll keep doing those exercises and going barefoot some of the time although unfortunately my floors are fake wood over concrete so don’t feel that is so great. Maybe another 2 months, I pray before that,
    all will be healed. the shoes is a challenge now that we have colder weather.
    By the way I just started taking L-glutamine in the last week and continued with my usual things and my heel is feeling better. Something to look at perhaps.

    • It all depends on what is causing the PF. Often I’m able to resolve it very quickly in patients because I can figure out their individual problem. Some people can have PF for years.

      • Thanks for quick reply. It’s good you know what to do to resolve it quickly. I’ve done so many things
        and now your exercises and pressure point etc. Fair enough each person is invidiual in their needs. My understanding is it’s hard to know what has caused it, bad shoes, orthotics, exercise, accident, but basically you have it and you know it’s about inflammation and as you say rehabilitating the tendons, fascia, etc. I don’t plan to have it for years or even A year. it’s close to being on its way out so if you can share anything more how you resolve it quickly I’m sure we’d all love you forever.
        Thanks again. Sure wish I lived in your area I would come in in a minute.

  10. Ian Hutchinson says:

    Sock Doc, where is your practice located?

  11. I’ve read a lot including many articles by you and still have lots of pain having tied all that is advised. I have a bone spur on the back of my heel, like a fish hook sticking out, I’ve seen the x-ray. It felt like a bad bruise on the back right side of my heel, there is a bump, and I think by the pain I’ve had it for over 25 years. It has not effected my passion for endurance running. But from time to time I’ve has soreness in both Achilles tendons, which lately have caused major problems.
    Over the past two years there are times I cannot walk. The tendon pain is manageable with massage and strengthening exercises and some mild stretching, which I know you advise against (although in general I don’t understand. This would mean all those people doing yoga are causing injuries?).
    My calves feel fine and at least for now the Achilles tendon on the right, the foot with the spur, feels fine but that small spot right where the bump is makes walking all but impossible and running not possible at all.
    what can I do to get walking / running?

  12. Jon Carpenter says:

    Hi Doc

    Upon typing “are orthotics useless” on Google I was directed to your article and found it a compelling read.
    My feet are atrocious and would probably make an interesting study for you if I were to donate them to science.
    I was prescribed orthotics as a teenager but as time want on I became dubious as to there affect. Your article confirmed my beliefs.
    I am now 40 and and experience pain that is usually bearable but lately has been less so as I lay in bed at night and quite often keeps me awake. I’m not a fan of pain killers but have resorted to non prescription meds in the last week.
    Walking is a joke as I cannot place any pressure on the balls of my feet.
    I am writing to you from Australia so my question is do you know anyone in Australia who practices your methods?
    I have no faith in podiatrists as they all seem to push the orthotic angle irrespective of my symptoms.


  13. Jon Carpenter says:

    Hi Doc

    Thanks for the reply. I had a post on June 8 from Australia.
    I live in southern NSW 3 hours from Melbourne and 5 hours from Sydney or a 1 hour flight from each city.
    Since my last post my doctor has prescribed anti inflammatories, low dose steroids and strong pain relief.
    I’m desperate to get on my feet.
    I’ve also had blood tests, X-ray and ultra sound and still there is no indication of the problem.
    Fingers crossed there is someone in Australia that you can steer me towards.

    Kindest regards

    Jon Carpenter

  14. Hi Doctor,

    I am a physiotherapy student and I found your approach very interesting. I have a case that has widespread pain in the foot, he made a fracture of the tibia and fibula in 2000 in a dispute with a ball in a football game, made treatment and “it was good”, a year ago began to feel pain without apparent cause, has limitation in eversion and dorsiflexion, pain especially from the fingers, and I think one of the problems can be a lack of harmony between the peronial muscles and the posterior tibial. I have encouraged proprioception but still can not achieve the expected results. I know it’s little information but does it have any tips that can help me?

    Thank you *

  15. Hi Doc,
    Wondering if you can help. I woke up one morning and the BOTTOM of my foot hurt between my big toe and my pinkie toe ( i think its the Metatarsal area) – its really wierd. It hurts when I walk longer than 5 min especially at the joint before my toes- it goes away when I sit. It dont look swollen.. but I tried Ice, Bengay, Stretching, massaging my leg, wearing different shoes. Its day 3 and no changes..still hurts? Any help will be appreciated.

    • Check the soleus muscle as I show on the videos.

      • I went to see the Doc at my work and she said that it is swollen and brused and is not a common area to have this type of bruise. She said I could have probably kicked the front bed board with the bottom of my foot as it started to hurt when I woke up. She recommended Motrin, elavating foot, Ice and heat.

  16. melanie sharp says:

    I have callus-like skin under/between bid & 1 st toe, probably due to wearing thong sandals for most of the time (live in a hot place, Greece!)which doesn’t bother me too much. However, I have permanent hard skin on end of first toe – same foot, an extremely thick toe-nail which is difficult to trim and often, even after wearing open-toe footwear, this toe is very painful? The 1st & 2nd toes are of similar length & smaller than the big toe so not really a hammer toe?)
    Do you think that almost continually wearing thong sandals has created this problem or is there another reason, the 1st toe pain is annoying and worrying…………………….what are your thoughts Doctor?
    We live on a small island so no chiropodist by the way, it would entail a 2 hour ferry journey to the nearest larger island + further 2 hours return and that’s if weather conditions (at this time of year) allow
    Kind regards, Melanie

    • Typically a thick nail is a sign of fungus; so something to consider there. I’d then suggest you try a different pair of sandals (maybe one with no thong) and see if that changes your foot/gait and then your skin pressure on certain areas.

  17. hi socdoc, I’ve written to you previously about my feet with bunions and the right one with a neuroma between the second and third metatarsal. The bunions are stable with no pain. I bought the vivobarefoot shoes and have been trying to do some of your feet exercises. Was fine for a few days.The neuroma however has now become aggravated, painful. Would changing shoes and wearing vivobarefoot all the time have done this? Do you recommend surgery for a neuroma or does trigger point massage alleviate the pain? Can a neuroma be cured by going barefoot and massaging? My doctor insists that I should at least get a cortisone injection in the web space something I will not have. But what else can be done with painful neuromas?

    • If your foot isn’t strong then you could easily be aggravating the neuromas constantly.

      Hard to say what may be warranted in regards to conventional therapy without seeing you.

  18. derrick elliott says:

    okay so when i do the wet footprint test i have a high arch but when i look at medial longitudinal arch from the side it looks flat should i be worried im 17 by the way

  19. Stefanie says:

    Hi! My question pertains to my 4 year old son who has CP (basal ganglia and thalamus damage) . I am of the minority camp where I won’t allow therapists to use afo’s or similar devices or orthotics on him. I have one PT who supports this theory and believes firmly in neuroplasticity. However she still makes these gel inserts out of cut out adult gel inserts to support the arch and back along the inside of heel for over pronation. I am very interested to hear your thoughts on this subject of afo’s and orthotics in a special needs child. I just can’t fathom how one could teach a child to be aware of their legs and feet yet basically induce neuropathy upon them because they can’t feel their feet in a contraption that makes you walk like you are in a ski boot! Thank you so much for your opinion and insight.

    • Well I’d love to give you some great advice on this but I don’t have any experience with such cases; so it would just be my opinion. And since you ask – I like how you think and I agree with you. I think many of the “old ways are the only ways” and we need to look at these things differently. I’m sure if it were my child I’d be looking to make sure they get as much sensory-motor input as possible as well as function.


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