Tag Archives: Flat feet

Orthotic Shoes to Beat the Summer Heat

Orthotics improve your well-being by relieving pain and correcting your gait, but finding shoes to accommodate your orthotic inserts remains a challenge. Common questions you need to ask yourself when buying new shoes include the following:

  • Is the footbed deep enough?
  • Is there extra space around the toes?
  • Is a larger size than you would usually need available?
  • Does the shoe allow you to easily adjust orthotics?

Finding fashionable yet durable summer footwear is even more of a challenge, which is why we would like to introduce a couple of models for those of you using orthotics.

Wolky Jewel Sandals

These lightweight sandals with wedge heel come in many different styles. Removable footbeds and upper straps allow for easily fitting orthotics.

Naot Paris

The stylish Naot Paris sandal offers a removable, anatomic cork & latex footbed which is wrapped in pampering suede and molds to the foot with wear.

Propet TravelActiv Mary Jane

Propet’s durable sandals with removable insoles for custom orthotics are ideal for taking a stroll with the family. Their loop closure at instep ensures a comfortable grip.

Our office team is more than happy to consult on summer orthotic footwear to meet your unique needs. We also carry a full line of prescription footwear, socks and other items used to care for your feet.

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

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.

How Sports Injuries Can Affect You Later in Life

For many of us, one of life’s great joys was playing sports in our youth. A lot of you know I’m an avid cyclist and have been for some time now, but there is always the daunting possibility of an injury that can have ramifications decades later. You probably even know someone who played softball or football in high school or college who still has a bad back or knee from an injury that went without proper treatment. Our feet, ankles and knees are particularly susceptible to damage as they carry the weight of the body and act as pivot points when we change direction or are undergoing strenuous activity. Sprains, stress fractures and torn or stretched ligaments or tendons are all common causes of pain later in life.

Sprain Pain

Often considered a common and collateral injury of even mild activity, sprained ankles usually don’t get the attention they should. The ankle is surprisingly vulnerable.  Few of us give much thought to stepping off a curb funny or experiencing pain when playing a sport like tennis. However, according to Dr. Hubbard-Turner of the University of North Carolina, student athletes with chronic ankle instability and sprains were significantly less mobile than their uninjured counterparts. What does this mean? We should get sprains checked out and treated appropriately as soon as possible to prevent an increase of immobility and painful arthritis as we age.

Stress Fracture Detractor

Stress fractures can range from a tiny crack in the bone to heavy bone bruising. Runners, tennis players and yes, even cyclists are prone to these fractures as our feet take a heavy beating during these activities. HealthPlus reports that almost 60% of athletes who have a stress fracture are likely to get another one later in life. Because fractures  are not a full break, it can be tempting to push through the pain. Do not do this, because the fracture can worsen or turn into a full break if put under enough stress for a long enough time. Without proper treatment, stress fractures lead to chronic discomfort, limited mobility and more fractures down the line.

Achilles Tendon

Your Achilles tendon is the band of tissue running from your heel up the back of your foot to your calf.  Sports with highly repetitive actions like basketball and high jump force this tendon to work harder than it is often used to which can lead to tendonitis or ruptures. You’ll know if you had Achilles tendonitis, because the pain radiates down your calf and often causes pain in your heel or on the bottom of your foot. If left unchecked or prevented from heeling properly, you’ll notice the tendon thickening and hardening which reduces mobility and makes walking very painful.

There are many ways new and old sports injuries can be managed and, in many cases, successfully healed. Seeing a medical professional should be your first step in assessing the severity of your injury and what options are available. In some cases, simply resting and icing can suffice but with older injuries it may take a more hands-on approach. Remember pain is not normal, if you’re suffering seek medical attention so you can get on the road to recovery!

Flat Feet

If the entire sole of your foot touches the ground when you stand, then you probably have Flat Feet. Flat Feet are characterized by underdeveloped arches that prevent the typical gap between the sole and the ground from forming. This condition usually develops during childhood and throughout old age, but it can also be caused by accidents or diseases severally impacting bones or tendons forming the arch. Typical consequences include:

  • Foot, hip, knee, and back pain caused by an uneven distribution of body weight
  • Misalignment of your legs
  • Numb and/or stiff feet
  • Swollen ankles
  • Prematurely worn out shoes

Individuals experiencing Flat Feet might not experience any of these symptoms; however, if you are plagued by pain and/or restrictions in body movements on a regular basis it is advised to contact a professional. Potential treatments include:

  • Stretching exercises for your lower legs to prevent feet from rolling over
  • Orthotics to align your feet and to balance weight more evenly
  • Switching to different kind of shoes
  • Pain remediation

Surgery is an option in extreme cases like abnormal bone development in your feet and can usually be prevented. Read more about Flat Feet here and don’t hesitate to contact your podiatrist if you have any questions: