Posts for: August, 2020
What are orthotics?
These specialized shoe inserts are a little different from the ones you can find at your local drugstore. Orthotics are special, custom-made shoe inserts designed and fabricated by your podiatrist to specifically fit your foot and its unique needs. There are many reasons why a podiatrist may recommend orthotics.
Sometimes orthotics are used to alleviate symptoms and improve common foot, leg, or even back problems, while other times your podiatrist may recommend them to improve the support and health of your feet to prevent problems in the first place.
Do I need orthotics?
Orthotics is just one way to treat foot and leg problems and your doctor may recommend orthotics if you are dealing with,
- Leg, hip, or back pain
- Flat feet
- High arches
- Plantar fasciitis
- Certain injuries to the foot or ankle
Orthotics can help people of all ages and backgrounds, from athletic kids and adults to those who are overweight and seniors. Feet continue to change as we get older, and as aches and pains set in, custom orthotics could be what you need to help make getting around as easy as it once was.
Types of Orthotics
There are many different kinds of materials that can be used to create orthotics. The type of condition you are dealing with will most likely help your podiatrist determine which material to use.
Orthotics range from soft and flexible to hard and rigid. Those with plantar fasciitis or diabetic feet are more likely to benefit from the cushioning and additional support of soft orthotics while athletes and those who often wear dress shoes are more likely to benefit from rigid orthotics.
If you are interested in orthotics and how they could help you, talk with your podiatrist to learn more.
Here are some possible reasons why you may be dealing with foot and ankle swelling,
It’s normal for there to be a little bit of swelling in the ankles and feet due to extra fluid and pressure placed on the body from the developing uterus. This is more common for women in their third trimester, especially the weeks leading up to delivery, or during hotter months. However, it’s important to keep an eye on your swelling to make sure it’s not severe or appearing suddenly. If you notice significant swelling of the feet and ankles along with stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or headaches, call your doctor right away, as this could be a sign of high blood pressure (known as preeclampsia).
You have a foot or ankle injury
This is a common reason why people often turn to a podiatrist. Everything from strains to sprained ankles and fractured bones in the foot can lead to sudden swelling after an injury. It’s a good idea to ice the injury to help reduce swelling. If your swelling is accompanied by severe pain or trouble walking on the foot then you should see a podiatrist immediately.
You could have a blood clot
A blood clot in the leg, often known as deep vein thrombosis, can stop blood from flowing through the legs back to the heart. As a result of the blockage, this can lead to swelling in the ankles and the affected leg. Since a blood clot can be particularly dangerous it is important that you seek immediate medical attention if your swelling is accompanied by leg pain, fever, and any color changes in your leg.
You may have heart or kidney disease
It is possible that swelling in your feet or ankles could be warning us of problems with your kidneys, liver, or heart. If you find that your ankles start to swell at night, your body could be retaining both salt and water (a possible sign of heart failure). When kidneys don’t function properly excess fluid can accumulate within the body and lead to swelling. If you notice swelling along with weight gain, loss of appetite, and fatigue then you should talk with your doctor.
These are only some of the reasons why you may be dealing with foot and ankle swelling. Other causes could be,
- Consuming too much salt
- Sitting or standing for too long
- Side effects from certain medications
- An infection (more common in those with diabetic neuropathy)
- Weak or damaged veins in the legs
Heel pain affects many American adults, limiting mobility and ease of function in their daily routines. Our podiatrists at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists in Reading MA uncover the reasons for heel pain and help people with at-home care which works.
Why does my heel hurt?
It's a question we hear a lot at our Reading office. Sadly, millions of American adults suffer from heel pain, and 60 percent of these people say the discomfort interferes with their activities of daily living, reports the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). Mostly, heel pain is inflammatory, and your foot doctors typically diagnose a common condition called plantar fasciitis as the source. The best thing to do is talk to your Reading Heel Pain specialist ASAP.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is the connective tissue that runs between the heel bone and your toes. Stress occurs through running or being on your feet for hours, irritating it enough to swell and become tender.
Most patients with Reading heel pain report it's worse in the morning after getting out of bed or when they sit for a long time. As they move through the day, the pain subsides, but over many weeks to months, the pain worsens.
Diagnosing and treating heel pain
At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists in Reading, our doctors diagnose plantar fasciitis, and the heel spurs which go along with it, by symptoms and X-ray imaging. Surgery is warranted sometimes to release the tension on the arch of the foot.
However, most Reading heel pain patients benefit from home care. Applied consistently, these strategies help many individuals manage their symptoms and regain their mobility.
Treating your heel pain at home can involve:
- Resting from your feet
- Icing your heel
- Elevating your leg
- Wearing shoes consistently and avoiding going barefoot
- Stretching exercises for the calf muscles along with other kinds of physical therapy
- Medications such as ibuprofen (for more stubborn pain, cortisone injections reduce inflammation)
- Wearing comfortable shoes with low heels and adequate arch supports
- Using shoe inserts (orthotics) to correct muscular instability and improper gait
- Wearing a walking cast and/or splints (particularly useful with young people)
Improve your comfort level
When you address the reasons behind your heel pain, you'll feel better and move with greater efficiency. Your podiatric team at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists asks you to consult with them to create a workable and effective care plan. Call our Reading MA office to arrange a consultation: (781) 944-4044.