Posts for tag: Orthotics
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.
Do you experience pain when you are walking or standing? Do you have calluses on the ball or side of your foot or on your heel? Does your ankle feel unstable and tend to turn inwards unexpectedly? At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists we often see these symptoms in patients that have a condition known as Cavus Foot, which is characterized by an overly high arch that is visible when standing.
Cases of Cavus Foot generally fall into two categories. In the first, the overly high arch is due to a structural defect that is most likely genetic. The other cause of this condition is a neurologic disorder or medical problem such as Charcot Marie Tooth disease, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, polio or stroke. It’s important to determine the correct cause of the Cavus Foot in order to determine the appropriate treatment.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui and Dr. Kimberly Thurmond will start by conducting a thorough examination of the foot. The foot doctor will want to take a detailed medical history. In searching for the cause of the high arch, the podiatrist may test the muscle strength of your foot, evaluate your walking pattern and possibly order x-rays. If the podiatrist suspects a neurologic cause of the Cavus Foot a consultation with a neurologist may be recommended.
If Cavus Foot is caused by a structural abnormality, it is unlikely to progress. Those cases resulting from a medical condition or neurologic condition usually worsen if left untreated. Fortunately, there are a number of non-surgical treatment options for Cavus Foot, including:
Changing your shoes—choose wider heels to increase balance and stability and high tops to provide ankle support.
Orthotic devices—cushioning and stability can both be gained through the use of orthotic devices.
Bracing—this can help keep the foot and ankle from turning.
If these treatments are not successful, the foot doctor may recommend surgery.
What is Heel Spur Syndrome?
Heel Spur Syndrome is another name for Plantar Fasciitis where patients experience sometimes severe pain in the heel and arch of the foot. At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists, heel pain is one of the more common reason patients seek help. Heel spurs are small calcified deposits (like a fingernail) that form on the bottom of the heel bone. These spurs, however, are rarely the cause of the pain. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that one in 10 people have heel spurs but that only about 5% of them experience heel pain. For patients experiencing heel pain, the real cause is often the inflammation and irritation of the plantar fascia—a strong band of tissue that supports the arch of your foot and runs from the heel to the front of your foot.
Identifying Plantar Fasciitis
There are other potential causes of heel pain (including tendonitis, arthritis or a stress fracture) so the first job of our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Dr. Carl Conui, D.P.M., or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M, will be able to correctly diagnose plantar fasciitis. A complete medical history and a thorough examination of your foot and heel will be done and diagnostic imaging studies including x-rays may be ordered.
As a patient, if you have heel spur syndrome, you are probably in a good deal of pain that can even prevent you from walking very far. A characteristic sign of this disorder is pain in the heel and the arch that is especially bad when you first wake up in the morning.
There are a number of treatments for heel spur syndrome aimed at both short term comfort and long term protection of this area of the foot. These may include:
Icing the affected area
Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
Choosing shoes with better arch support or using custom orthotics to properly position the foot and relieve pressure on the plantar fascia
Night splinting to keep the plantar fascia stretched overnight
Taping or strapping the foot
In some cases where the above therapies are not effective, your foot doctor may recommend surgery which might include removing the heel spurs. As with all foot and ankle conditions, it’s best to get the pain evaluated sooner rather than later. If your heel is hurting, contact our Reading office for an appointment.
Flatfoot—partial or total collapse of the arch of the foot-- is a complicated condition that has varying degrees of severity. At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists, our podiatrists, George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Carl Conui, D.P.M., and Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M. will take a complete medical history and then examine your foot and ankle to check the extent of the arch collapse and also try to determine the cause. X-rays may also be ordered to get a better look at the arch. Here are some common questions about flatfoot:
My toddler appears to have flatfeet; should I be concerned?
It’s normal for babies and very young children to have flatfeet before they begin to walk. Once your child starts to walk, the arch should begin to develop. If an older child develops flatfeet, an examination by the podiatrist is in order, especially if your child is experiencing any pain in the foot or arch.
When I am standing it doesn’t appear that I have an arch but when I am sitting, I do. Is this normal?
This is called flexible flatfoot and it is one of the most prevalent types of the disorder. It is a progressive condition and as time goes on the ligaments and tendons in the arch can tear and become inflamed, causing pain in the heel, arch, ankle or shins.
I have flatfeet but am not experiencing any pain. Do I need to see the foot doctor?
Yes, even if you are not in pain you should make an appointment to have your feet evaluated in either our Reading office. The podiatrist can determine the cause of your flatfeet and may recommend certain treatments to help slow the progression of the disorder.
What treatments are available for flatfeet?
There are a number of treatment options that your foot doctor may choose to help relieve pain and fatigue caused by flatfeet. Custom orthotics or other modifications to your footwear may be able to provide additional arch support. Physical therapy and exercises can also help. In some cases, modifying activities so that you do less prolonged walking and standing may be suggested.
As with many foot and ankle conditions, getting treatment early on can prevent flatfeet from becoming disabling and interfering with your lifestyle. If you think you may have flatfeet or have other questions about this condition, contact us. Keeping your feet healthy is our goal!
It’s important to make sure you have orthotic support in your footwear, especially as you transition to boots for the winter. Having supportive footwear can help ease pain in your heel, arch, and the ball of your foot. This can prevent further pain and discomfort in your knees, hips, and lower back. Look for shoes that have sufficient arch support or customize your own orthotics.
What are Orthotics?
Orthotics are inserts you can place into your shoes to help with a variety of foot problems such as flat feet or foot pain. Orthotics provide relief and comfort for minor foot and heel pain, but can’t correct serious biomechanical problems in your feet.
Orthotics come in a wide variety of over-the-counter inserts that are used to treat foot pain, heel pain, and minor problems. For example, arch supports can be inserted into your shoes to help correct over arched or flat feet, while gel insoles are often used because they provide comfort and relief from foot and heel pain by alleviating pressure.
If over-the-counter inserts don’t work for you, or if you have a more severe foot issue, it is possible to have your podiatrist prescribe custom orthotics. These high quality inserts are designed to treat problems such as abnormal motion, plantar fasciitis, and more severe heel pain. They can even be used to help patients suffering from diabetes by treating foot ulcers and painful calluses, and are usually molded to your feet individually, which allows them to provide full support and comfort.
If you are experiencing minor to severe foot or heel pain, it’s recommended to speak with your podiatrist on the possibilities of using orthotics. A podiatrist can determine which type of orthotic is right for you and allow you to take the first steps towards being pain free.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Reading, MA. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technologies to treat your foot and ankle needs.