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

Should I wear compression socks?

Compression socks, compression stockings or pressure socks are often used to try to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot from forming in the deep veins of the body and usually in the legs.  But are they right for you?

History

Little was known about deep vein thrombosis (DVT) until the mid-19th century.  Theories were developed to try to explain the phenomenon.  By the 1920s, lack of physical activity, vessel wall alteration and an increased tendency to form blood clots were known as possible causes for this condition.  However, treating this condition was largely a mystery until several breakthroughs, most discovered by accident, revolutionized DVT treatment.  The anticoagulant Heparin, for example, was in wide use by the 1940s.  So, this drug replaced the previously popular, but ineffective, prescription of weeks of bed rest.

Since then, there have been advances in anticoagulants, along with the rise of compression therapy as a drug-free solution.  The idea of using compression bandages to decrease blood pooling in the legs and prevent the problems it may cause actually goes back centuries.  However, its effectiveness was very limited, because it was usually paired with prolonged bed rest.  Compression therapy gained popularity by the 1950s when prescribed at the conclusion of an anticoagulant treatment with more emphasis placed on ambulatory activity, rather than resting.

What do they do?

The way compression socks work is actually quite simple.  Because they have somewhat stronger elastic properties than regular socks, they apply gentle pressure to the lower legs, helping to promote the flow of blood back to your heart.  This helps reduce the pooling of blood in the legs, which can lead to the development of blood clots or lightheadedness when standing up.  They are often used following surgery or other periods of inactivity to promote better overall circulation.  They can also help reduce the pain caused by varicose veins.

Are they for me?

While you can buy socks or stockings with a small amount of compression over the counter, as a medical treatment they should be prescribed and professionally fitted, so they will be the most effective.  This can include taking measurements of your legs when they are the least swollen.  Be sure to wear them as prescribed.  Not wearing them when you’re supposed to can lead to increased swelling, making them difficult or impossible to put back on.  You’ll also want to check them daily for any signs of skin irritation, redness, as well as other color or skin changes. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several risk factors for DVM.  The more you have, the greater the chances of developing DVM:

  • Inheriting a blood-clotting disorder 
  • Prolonged bed rest, such as during a long hospital stay or paralysis 
  • Injury or surgery 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) or hormone replacement therapy 
  • Obesity 
  • Smoking 
  • Cancer 
  • Heart failure
  • Inflammatory bowel disease 
  • A personal or family history of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism 
  • Age 
  • Sitting for long periods of time, such as when driving or flying 

If you suspect you may be at risk, Dr. Smith can help you sort through the factors to come to the right determination of whether compression socks are for you.

4 Common Children’s Foot Health Problems

We regularly blog about podiatric issues in adults, but it is crucial to keep an eye on our children’s foot health too. Many foot issues affecting adults, also happen in children. Some of them occur more frequently, because their bodies are constantly growing. Some of the more common foot issues include; ingrown toenails, plantar warts, flat feet and heel pain.

Ingrown toenails are when the toenail grows into the skin of the foot causing pain and sometimes even an infection. Children may experience this more often, because they tend to wear tight fitting shoes as their feet grow out of their shoes.

A plantar wart is more specifically known as a skin lesion on your foot, which is caused by a virus. It is often mistaken for a callous, because of its similar appearance.  However, the subtle difference is identifiable by the black dots seen in the infected area. The most common spot for this infection is on the sole of your foot, because it is the most prone to micro-trauma throughout the day. Because this virus thrives in warm wet environments, one of the most common methods of picking it up is after walking barefoot at a pool.

Flat feet are also referred to as “Pes planus” and they are defined as feet with little to no arches. Most children experience flat feet due to developmental changes which are likely to be outgrown.  However, you child should be treated by a professional if he or she experiences foot or leg pain, difficulty walking or if one foot is flatter than the other. Many people with this condition experience no negative symptoms, though the condition should be monitored for changes.

Another common issue to look out for is plantar fasciitis. This creates pain on the bottom of the heel after activity or rest. It is even more common among children with Sever’s disease, which occurs in active children age 8-14. Another cause for heel pain is when the calf muscles and Achilles tendon tighten during growth spurts.

It is important to make sure you and your children get these foot problems treated right away if you feel like you may be experiencing any of these conditions. After all they’re using those feet continuously and more use does make problems worse. For more information, click here and even here.