Posts for tag: Orthotics
Clean Feet Daily
It’s easy for our feet, just like the rest of our bodies, to pick up bacteria and fungus. Washing your feet with soap and water every day can help to remove these germs to prevent infections. Just remember to always dry your feet off thoroughly after bathing to reduce your risk for fungal infections. While you can do this at any time of the night, bathing and washing your feet in the evening could help you relax prior to bedtime.
Keep Feet Moisturized
You may notice that as you get older your skin also gets drier. While staying hydrated will certainly help to keep skin supple and moisturized, it’s also a good idea to apply a moisturizer to your feet to prevent cracking or broken skin (which can lead to infection). Once you’ve applied moisturizer to the feet it’s a good idea to cover the feet with socks made from breathable material such as cotton.
Trim Nails Properly
If you neglect to trim nails regularly you may find that long nails are prone to fungal infections and ingrown toenails. If you are able to trim nails yourself you will want to trim them so they are level with the tips of the toes (any lower and you could risk an ingrown toenail). Always trim nails straight across, never curve the edges of the nails. If you are having trouble trimming your own nails you can turn to a podiatrist for proper foot care.
Wear Appropriate Footwear
With all the changes that occur to your feet as you get older, it’s particularly important that you wear the proper footwear that will provide additional support and cushioning. It’s also important that you have your feet properly measured (best done in the afternoon when feet are at their largest due to swelling) and shoes fitted by a specialist. If you are dealing with blisters, calluses, and sore feet then you’ll want to talk with your podiatrist about getting different shoes or about getting custom orthotics/arch support.
Fungal infections, bunions and ingrown toenails can appear almost instantly, so having a podiatrist that you can turn to for regular care and treatment can provide you with peace of mind. Talk with your podiatrist about how to keep your aging feet feeling young and healthy.
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!