Is there something we need to know about a surge in up-and-coming foot health?

Athletic Trainers from across the country descended on Houston to attend the 68th Annual National Athletic Trainers Association Conference (NATA). From students to professionals there were many in attendance seeking knowledge, training, and to discover the latest products and techniques to support the overall health of their athletes. Kramer, Gatorade, and Johnson and Johnson had their large and in charge presence, yet this year there was a major focus on foot health.

Why feet? I am not sure, yet we know athletes walk, run, jump, twist, and turn putting tremendous stress and pressure on this limb. Here are my “Top 3” foot takeaways from the 2017 NATA Conference.

1- Footbeat – This wearable technology is a shoe designed with a machine that applies cyclic pressure to the arch of the foot every 35 seconds. Designed to improve performance by increasing circulation, I watched people walk away from the booth saying, “I have never seen anything like that.” Easy to use and designed for athletes, this kit may actually be something we see spill over into other markets, such as a therapy for Restless Leg Syndrome.

I rate it Cool with a Wow Factor, and look forward to see if the technology out of Grand Junction, Colorado will be adopted by athletic programs.

2- OOFOS – The booth had line down the hall for trainers waiting for their “free pair” of OOFoam Technology shoes. Made out of a unique foam material designed to absorb more shock than traditional sandals, the Boston, Massachusetts company has designed an athletic recovery shoe. Claiming 37 percent more shock absorption with every step than traditional footwear foam, the shoe is complete with tremendous arch support and a sleek design.

I rate it Exciting with a Twist on the Ordinary, and want to know was the line because of “free” or will this be next big thing in footwear?

3- PHUEL – A topical muscle foam/spray designed to assist muscles to thrive during performance and recovery. With healthy ingredients such as Vitamin E and Aloe, the solution appears to act as a nutrition for muscles from the outside in. How does this relate to feet? Have you ever had a “charlie-horse cramp” in your foot? Well I did at the show, and reached into my Gatorade convention bag, to find my sample of Phuel. The rest is history. Maybe it was the relief from the heels I was wearing, or maybe there is something to this stuff?

I rate it Thank You with Sugar On Top, and will eagerly watch to see if any of my runner or yogi friends adopt this tool for their pre or post workout benefit.