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Winter Foot Health

“Running! If there’s any activity happier, more exhilarating, more nourishing to the imagination, I can’t think of what it might be. In running, the mind flees with the body, the mysterious efflorescence of language seems to pulse in the brain, in rhythm with our feet and the swinging of our arms.” – Joyce Carol Oates

Test this out, on any given day, in any season, and count how many people you see jogging or running in your neighborhood. Running is, perhaps, the most popular physical activity worldwide with almost 60 million participating in the U.S. alone, according to Statista.com. People run for different reasons, top of which are keeping healthy, staying in shape, relieving stress and for fun.

With the cold winter months approaching, are there particular things people need to consider when running in colder weather? We asked Dr. Cary Gannon, a board-certified podiatric surgeon, to give us her expert advice.

Tell us about your background. How long have you been practicing?
I have been practicing for 13 years and have spent my entire post-graduate career in Franklin. I ran track and cross country at Auburn University, where I developed an interest in the lower extremity.  

What are main things you treat people for?

We see a great deal of plantar fasciitis and heel pain, ingrown toenails, bunions, hammertoes and stress fractures. We do a lot of diabetic foot care, wound care and elder care for things like severe fungal toenails. 

What are your top tips to keep feet healthy in general and for running in winter?
Shoes that fit properly are critical. Too often, I see people wearing shoes that are far too small. The foot requires ample room to expand during a run. 
Proper attire is also a must. We recommend dry natural fiber socks, headgear and layered clothing. Compression gear, such as compression socks, sleeves or pants are also important for recirculating blood and for aiding recovery.  

Do you see any differences with conditions of runners coming to see you in winter as opposed to summer?
I always see more injuries in summer as opposed to winter. People who run during the winter are typically seasoned runners who have been training for quite some time. Novice runners generally commit when the weather is nice. Oftentimes, these newly focused athletes develop plantar fasciitis, stress fractures and other injuries simply because their bodies are not accustomed to training.

About Cary Gannon 

Dr. Gannon was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and now lives in Williamson County with her two daughters. She studied at Auburn University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences, and was a competitive member of Auburn’s Track and Cross Country teams. She attained All Southeastern Conference (SEC) Scholar Athlete honors while achieving varsity letter awards in Track and Cross Country all four years of eligibility.

Her experience as a Division I runner led Dr. Gannon to pursue the pathology of the foot and ankle and guided her to the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. After becoming a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, she attained chief resident status at Southeast General Hospital – a partner of the University Hospitals of Cleveland, Ohio – where she amassed over 1,200 surgical procedures specific to the lower extremity. 

Fun Facts with Dr. Gannon

Q: Why did you choose your field of specialty?

I ran track and cross country at Auburn University and became interested in injuries affecting my teammates. While at Auburn, I shadowed Auburn's team Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. James Andrews who encouraged me to consider treating the smaller bones of the hands or feet. I chose feet!

Q: My first year was...

Hectic. I had a new born baby and new medical practice. I don't think I slept for about four years!

Q: What's the best career advice you ever received?

Set personal boundaries. You can't do everything.

Q: What is your hobby or indulgence of choice?

This is so embarrassing...I watch zit-popping videos on YouTube.

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