You might call Myles Schneider the running footman.
You also might call him up on Tuesday nights for some free foot (and related leg, knee, hip and back) advice.
Any other time you might call him up and hear one or another of eight taped footnotes -- he calls it his "Foot Facts" program.
Myles Schneider, podiatrist, is into public service with almost as much passion as he devotes to his running, and his practice.
Besides the foot line he conducts Tuesdays with his partner, Paul Ross, at their Bethesda office and the tapes -- he's currently preparing eight more -- he also:
Offers free examinations of children's feet. "We now know a lot of problems -- even back problems -- sports injuries, a lot of these things are predictable and if you can catch it early enough, you can prevent it." (He is among a growing body of food specialists moving away from stiff baby shoes to flexible shoes like sneakers.
Lectures (for free) P -- TA groups or running groups on how to avoid sports injuries and what to do about them when they do happen.
Talks (for free) to grade-school classes (complete with slides) with good footsie techniques, even for the youngest athletes.
Conducts free courses for trainers and coaches on how to evaluate injuries and help teams as well.
Conducts a program in which high-school track teams may come in (with their coach) for individual evaluations -- for about $10 a head (or pair of feet). Each youngster gets a full half-hour diagnostic session, complete with treadmill and "whatever else needs to be done" to discover what problems there may be, or are likely to be.
Schneider has been running around 50 miles a week for about a decade. He admits cheerfully that he gained a lot of his sports-injury savvy from hard experience, usually his own.
Backed up by his doctor of podiatry degree from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, Schneider's sophistication in the field led to his first book (with colleague, Dr. Mark Sussman), "How to Doctor Your Feet Without the Doctor," a valuable self-help syllabus with photographs, diagrams and a lot of common sense ($8.95, Running Times, Inc.).
It has now led to a section on sports medicine in a forthcoming book on biking anda second book of his own which will provide do-it-yourself formulae for any amateur sports-people, be they swimmers, runners, skiers, tennis players, to determine how much, how fast, how long each individual can push him or herself without getting hurt.
"It's not," says Schneider, "the specific injury that matters . . . the key is we seem to see the same runners over and over again. We find that about two-thirds of runners get hurt -- me and 30 million others. . . . That's a lot of people.
"The key is to follow certain basic rules -- for all sports, not just running. And," he says, "I'm just as guilty as the next."
Among thte painful pitfalls:
Overtraining. "Sure," says Schneider, "every amateur runner dreams of getting in a race with Bill Rogers . . . and it's a high, being in a race with a guy like that. The trouble is, we don't realize that his whole day, every day of his life, is centered around running. . . . The typical (amateur) person runs three marathons in 10 months. Mostly that's too much. Or a person runs 30 miles a week and then decides to go up to 50 in just a few months -- and you get hurt, just doing too many miles too fast."
Overtraining in Life. "We have lots of people coming in with emotional problems at home or suddenly working overtime, getting less sleep, trying to go on a crash diet and keeping up their running pace. And they get hurt. And it's really not the sport that'd doing it."
Undertraining. "A lot of runners will train, like 8 minutes a mile, running 30 or 40 miles a week, and then go to a race once every week, and try to run it in 7 minutes or 6 1/2 . . . and end up with a stress fracture or other severe injury."
Mixing Sports. This can be as dagerous as mixing drinks, believes Schneider, not because it is inherently bad, but "You've got to follow the hard-easy principle. It's not the fact that you use different muscles or similar muscles." Again, it's the tendency to overdo. "It's just a general rule for athletes that you never train hard more than three times a week and never two days in a row. A woman I know is real good body builder, a fanatic, three days a week. She was also running 4 or 5 miles a day and I natually assumed her injury was from running . . . it turned out she was working hard at the gym three days a week and running hard two more days.
"It doesn't mean you can't run and swim and work out seven days, but only three of those days should be hard. And the other days should be nice and easy."
In his own practice, Schneider is currently exloring the appreciation of micro-surgical techniques.
Already, he says, "this minimal incision surgery" has worked something of a revolution. "For example, we can now do a bunion procedure with one stich and a quarter-inch incision and the person just gets up and walks out."
Schneider describes the specially designed insturments almost in one (runner-trained) long breath: tiny little files and high-speed drills and it's all done through one tiny incision and it's just amazing . . . cuts down costs to the patient . . . no loss of productivity, no casts. . . ."
A similar procedure is used for heel spurs. Says Schneider, "By just filing seven holes through the heel bone, we actually release the pressure and the pain goes away. . . . It's a whole new world to us."
Dr. Schneider and Dr. Ross are available to anyone (not just patients) from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at: 656-6055 for any advice relating to their field. Those who need specialized help will be referred to appropriate specialists.
To hear the Foot Fact Tapes, call 354-1171, day or night. Tapes and their numbers are:
1. Ambulatory Foot Surgery. 2. Bunions. 3. Corns and Callouses; Hammertoes, Causes and treatment. 4. Warts and Ingrown Nails. 5. Heel and Arch Pain. 6. Running and Sports Injuries. 7. Infants and Children. 8. Foot Information for Diabetics and Foot Health and Aging.