Category Archives: Footwear

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!

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

5 Tips For Finding Comfortable Shoes

Buying shoes isn’t something most of us think too much about. We find a pair that looks good, maybe walk up and down the aisle a couple times with them onto make sure nothing rubs or pokes and that’s that. There are a few key details that can impact your visit dramatically and, if taken into consideration, can get you a shoe that will be more comfortable and healthier for your feet in the long run. Next time you love a pair of shoes, makes sure to consider these tips so you know they’ll love you back.

1. Don’t Try Shoes in the Morning

Your feet are changing throughout the day depending on your daily activities and overall health. It’s natural for your feet to expand throughout the day which means that a shoe that fits perfectly first thing in the morning might get a little snug later in the afternoon.

2. Take a Stroll in Your New Kicks

While walking up and down the aisle won’t give you a perfect representation of what it will be like to wear that pair of shoes day to day, it’s a great was to quickly see if you have a winning pair or need to try again. Don’t tell yourself that they’ll fit better as they break in, get shoes that fit well from day one.

3. No Two Feet are the Same, Get Measured!

Did you know the same person can have two different sized feet? Getting your feet measured every time you buy shoes cuts out having to guess which size or half size you are and ensures that your buying something actually made for your feet and not cramming into what ‘should’ fit. Generally, you should leave 3/8” to ½” of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Are you cool enough to have different sized feet? Seek out shoes that are the same size as the larger of your feet.

4. Shoes Come in ‘Wide’ Too

You finally found that perfect shoe. Oh so stylish, perfect length, and great support but…it’s compressing the ball of your foot. Never fear! Ask if the shoe comes in a wider size because a longer shoe likely won’t solve the problem in the long run.

5. Do Some Sole Searching

When looking at new athletic or work shoes, especially, check out the soles and the kind of tread they have. Walking on multiple kinds of surfaces like carpet, linoleum, and tile will give you a feel for how supportive they are as well as if they will be slippery on different surfaces. A good tread will give you better traction and cushioning while exerting yourself, offering better ankle, hip, and back protection.

Foot Protection – Winter Edition

Don’t let the weather have control over your feet. Whether you are shoveling, sledding, or simply walking through the snow it is important to make sure your feet are properly protected. Harsh winter conditions can often have a negative effect on your feet. Here are some tips on how to keep your feet protected and healthy this winter.

Proper footwear

Although this may seem obvious, it is extremely important to wear the correct shoes for winter. No matter what type of boot you decide to wear this winter, make sure they are waterproof. Snow and slush are unavoidable, so investing in a pair of waterproof boots is essential to keep your feet dry. It is also important to get your winter boots in a slightly larger size to be able to fit thicker socks and multiple layers. However, when participating in winter activities such as skiing or snowboarding, it is important to make sure your boots fight snug and comfortably. Boots that are too big can create instability and if your boots are too tight they can cause blisters.

Warm toes are happy toes

Not only are the type of boots you wear important, but so are your socks. This winter layering is your friend. A thin sock and an outer layer of a wool sock is a perfect combination for keeping your toes warm and comfortable. Although the temperatures can become extremely frigid, your feet still sweat. Avoid wearing cotton socks and look in to getting a pair of sweat-wick socks that won’t absorb your sweat like cotton socks do. This is a great way to avoid any problems of athlete’s foot this winter. Feet play a large role in body temperature, so make your feet a priority this winter

Keep your feet moisturized

One of the most common foot complaints in winter is dry skin, specifically cracked heels. Cracked heels, also known as “heel fissures” can be very uncomfortable and possibly painful. Like most other dry skin issues, apply lotion or moisturizing cream daily. Proper socks and footwear also play a role in protecting your feet.

Get a Grip

One way to avoid any nasty falls this winter is to make sure your boots have proper traction. Many winter boots are equipped with certain soles meant for gripping cold or wet surfaces. Generally made from rubber due to its water-proof ability, rubber soles are very effective when navigating slippery surfaces. So, do your research and make sure you’re properly equipped this winter.

Finally, always keep safety in mind. Wear proper boots, layer your socks, and take breaks to warm-up inside.

How to Avoid Winter Foot Conditions

Even though the holidays are officially over and temperatures have been normalizing a bit, be mindful that sudden temperature drops may happen anytime and cause uncomfortable foot conditions. This is even more relevant for those who participate in winter sports.  So, here are the top five winter foot conditions:

1. Chilblains

Chilblains occur when the blood vessels in your skin do not respond in time to sudden temperature changes. Symptoms may include small, itchy red spots, blistering or skin ulcers, and swollen burning skin. In order to avoid chilblains, limit your exposure to cold, cover all exposed skin as much as possible, bundle up to keep your body warm and do not smoke.

2. Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Raynaud’s Phenomenon occurs when your blood circulation is limited in certain areas of your body, especially your fingers and toes.  This low blood circulation causes these areas of your body to feel numb and cold. This often happens due to cold temperatures or stress. Prevent Raynaud’s Phenomenon by keeping your house and office warm and by being cautious when you are outdoors.

3. Skier’s Toe

Are you a fan of skiing? While it is certainly fun, please keep in mind your toes. If you notice your toenail has become black, it is likely you have bleeding under your nail, or “subungual hematoma”. This condition can be caused by trauma or continuous use of tight shoes. Make sure your socks fit and your boots have enough room for your toes to avoid this condition.

4. Morton’s Neuroma

Did you know winter boots may cause Morton’s Neuroma if they don’t fit properly?  With this condition, you can feel as if you are standing on a pebble in your shoes, experience a burning pain in the ball of your foot, as well as tingling or general numbness. Morton’s Neuroma may lead to foot deformities, so get fitting shoes and ask your podiatrist for treatment options.

5. Blisters

Similar to Morton’s Neuroma and Skier’s toe, foot blisters are caused by unfit shoes. To best prevent the condition, wear well-fitting socks and shoes. Do not attempt to wear those non-returnable unfit pairs of boots you got for Christmas. If you do get a blister, avoid popping it yourself. Instead, clean it with disinfectant and cover it with a bandage for protection. If it opens, make sure you pay a visit to your trusted podiatrist as soon as possible.