Tammy’s FAQs

Tammy has been with Dr. Smith for more than four years. Not only does she own horses, she also expanded her animal family by 28 newly hatched chickens this week. There are certain topics Tammy addresses on a regular basis, so she wanted to make sure you have the answers to the following top 2 frequently asked questions.

Do I need a referral to see Dr. Smith?

No, you don’t need a referral from a primary health physician or other medial professionals to make an appointment with Dr. Smith. There are exceptions when it comes to insurance providers, though. Some require referrals as a condition to cover expenses. Others don’t, though, so please check with your insurance carrier before making an appointment. Once you have scheduled an appointment, we will ask you to bring the following documents:

  • Completed New Patient Form
  • Insurance Cards
  • Co-Payment Information
  • List of Current Medications

Does my insurance covers orthotic treatments?

We accept most insurance.  Ask your insurance prior to making an appointment is crucial to avoid any surprises. This applies especially to orthotics which are often not covered. We do understand how important orthotics are to improve the quality of many people’s lives, which is why we offer a discounted cash price in certain cases. We will also go the extra step of checking with your insurance beforehand to provide a better estimate on the cost of orthotics. We will always work with you to come up with the best solution.

Thank you for the insights, Tammy! She is more than happy to answer your questions, so please feel free to give her a call at 309-762-7919.

High Heels, Low Fun?

Did you know each foot consists of 26 bones, 33 joints and plenty of muscles?  Now imagine how all of these elements interact with each other throughout the day. Adding high heels to the mix gives you a pronounced feel of how these intricate movements interact, but not necessarily in a good way. Follow these 6 steps to feel confident in your fashion choices and the well-being of your feet:

  • We all have our favorite shoes, but be sure to change them out.  Wearing the same shoes on a daily basis allows bacteria and fungus to flourish. A nice side effect with this tip; your shoes will better stay in shape.
  • Listen to your body. Pain is a signal your current behavior is a detriment to your health. Sit down and rest on a regular basis. Have a second pair of comfortable shows around you at any time.
  • Avoid cracked heels by moisturizing regularly and watch out for misaligned toenails.
  • Ask your podiatrist for advice if you suffer from conditions like diabetes.
  • Watch out for bunions. Once bunions develop, treatment may be necessary. The earlier you detect warning signs, the better chance you have to avoid them.
  • Keep your eyes open for more comfortable versions of your favorite heels. They may look slightly different, but the gains from avoided pain will outweigh the height.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying your high heels, as long as you take care of your feet and react to early warning signs indicating your feet are suffering. Read this article for more information.

Custom Steel Toe Boots

Do you wear steel toe boots for work? Are you experiencing pain, cramping or numbness in your feet?  There are several possible causes.  Wearing steel toe boots five or more hours a day means you should not skimp on the quality of the boot.  Making the investment up front pays off in the long run and may save you trips to the doctor!

It may be a surprise to hear this pain isn’t due to your steel toe boots. Well… it is, but not in the way you might have imagined. It is actually due to a poorly fit boot. If your toe box is too small, then you may experience symptoms of chafing, painful corns and/or toe muscle damage. If you have too high of a heel paired alongside a cramped toe box, then your nerves may pinch and this pinch creates nerve pain, as well as numbness in your toes. You may have a narrow fitting boot which often creates bunions.

None of these symptoms sound pleasant and nobody should endure this pain. If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms; we recommend you be sure to get your boot fitted to your feet while wearing your work socks so the boots will fit perfectly when it matters most. WorkHabor and the National Center for Workforce and Development (NCWD)  recommend the following;

  • Break your boots in
  • Don’t wear your boots too tight
  • Add padding if your boots are not tight enough
  • Make use of shoe inserts, band aids and socks
  • Wear steel-toed boots fit to your feet
  • Maintain proper care of your boots

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any additional questions!

How to Stay Mobile and Independent

There is no denying: the older we get, the less mobile we become. Our hearts, nervous systems, muscles and bones gradually change and inhibit our ability to walk. Not only may this impact our work performance, it will eventually restrict us in making the best of our retirement years. No matter your hobby, it either directly involves walking, or it requires you to get from point A to point B.

Let’s compare the human body to an engine. Taking care of the cylinders, optimizing your performance while idling and make sure your car gets clean air and gas for efficient combustion. The better you take care of the engine, the more resilient it becomes. Humans can engage in a variety of exercises to “build a better engine/walking machine” through impairment-based exercises and to “build a better engine/walking machine” through task-oriented motor learning exercises. The table provides in this article, displays exercises you can perform at home with where they help your body and your engine. Click here to read more about the topic and please talk to your physician to determine which case of action fits best to your individual situation.

Some engines may benefit from tuning-up system components like new air filters or better belts. Pro-active foot treatments, like Laser Therapy, can tune-up your ability to walk and improve mobility in the long run by treating arthritis and many other conditions. Some of the benefits include:

  • Quick treatments around 4-8 minutes per session
  • No known negative side effects
  • Non-invasive; works at a cellular level
  • Painless; instant relief

“In using MLS Laser Therpy the cells of the tendons, ligaments, muscles and even the skin repairs itself faster,” Dr. Smith notes, “as the inflammation is reduced, the pain subsides, helping the body achieve a speedy recovery.” Learn more about Laser Therapy here, and please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Smith if you have any questions about you or your loved one’s mobility challenges.

Shoe Inserts, Known as Orthotics, Have Come a Long Way

We have all had the experience of having a pebble in our shoe, and we know how much that tiny object can interfere with our ability to walk pain-free.  Switch from a pebble to a condition or injury that causes pain, and you can understand how for centuries, people have tried to figure out how to make walking more comfortable.  Today, orthotics is a professional clinical specialty, where each patient is treated for their specific condition, with a ton of proven science behind each diagnosis and treatment.  But there’s a long history leading up to this point.

In 1780, Swiss doctor Jean Andre Venel set up the world’s first orthopedic clinic to help children with skeletal deformations.  He pioneered the production of various orthotic devices.  The 19th century Welsh surgeon Hugh Owen Thomas developed the method of examination of deformation in a lying position, and is considered the father of orthopedics in the United Kingdom.  The first modern orthotics began to be developed in the early 20th century, assembled from metal components padded with felt, and covered in leather.  In 1906, Dr. William Scholl (yes, THAT Dr. Scholl) introduced a lighter, more flexible metal support called the Foot-Easer.

But this mode of design remained largely unchanged for decades.

Orthotics became more prevalent as a way to help injured veterans of two world wars, as well as polio victims of the 1940s and 1950s.  The demand for corrective shoes was so high that there were close to 1000 different brands.  The advertising campaigns were so outrageous that the Federal Trade Commission had to begin issuing cease and desist orders.  The corrective shoe industry began to fade away.

Then, in 1968, an article was published describing the use of polypropylene to fabricate lower-leg braces for children with spina bifida.  Parents began asking for “plastic braces,” and a revolution was born, not just in the design of orthotics, but in how they were prescribed.  Manuals and textbooks had tended to pigeonhole each patient into a set category.  For each category, there was a device, but the patient and the device were often not well matched.  With new and more specialized manufacturing options, diagnosis and treatment began to focus more on achieving an exact match between the patient’s needs and the device used.

By the late 1970s, jogging became much more popular, and foot orthotics developed even more rapidly, as athletes reported more foot and lower limb injuries.  In the 1980s and 1990s, athletic shoes were developed with features such as flared heels, contoured sole inserts, and underfoot cushioning.

Today, skin-friendly Velcro straps have replaced leather.  Dynamic ankle braces made of light carbon fiber have replaced orthopedic shoes.  Though there are devices available over-the-counter, anyone wanting a solution that will match their specific needs should get a specific diagnosis and proposed treatment.  Dr. Smith offers both ready-made and custom-made orthotics.  To ensure they are as effective as possible, he will prescribe and fit them to you based on your diagnosis, foot shape and other factors.  Remember, foot pain is NOT normal.  An appointment with Dr. Smith is the first step toward feeling better.

Sources:
https://www.thompsonhealthservices.ca/origins-of-orthotics/

https://www.academia.edu/39269847/A_Brief_History_of_Prosthetics_and_Orthotics_of_the_Lower_Body_and_Their_Types20190526_72374_ms8gro