Tag Archives: Orthotics

What Kind of Orthotics Work for You?

Orthotics reduce pain and prevent foot conditions from progressing. While adjustments may be made, the trickiest part is determining what kind truly works for your unique situation.

There are three broad categories of orthotics. The first category of orthotics primarily optimizes foot functions; the second category primarily protects your feet; and the third category contains orthotics which both optimize and protect. You may also distinguish between rigid, semirigid and soft orthotics.

Rigid Orthotics

Rigid orthotics control motion in two major foot joints. They are often made of plastic or carbon fiber and can be used for a longer period.

Semirigid Orthotics

Semirigid orthotics help maintain your balance by supporting muscles, joints and tendons. They usually consist of a soft layer of material which is reinforced with rigid orthotic elements. Semirigid orthotics are often used by athletes.

Soft Orthotics

Soft orthotics improve absorption from shock and take pressure off of painful areas caused by arthritis, diabetes and other conditions. This type of orthotic pads certain areas, which is why they are made of compressible materials requiring more space in your shoes.

Incorrectly fitted orthotics may not only be inefficient, but they may also cause other conditions to emerge or worsen. We strongly recommend consulting with a qualified podiatrist like Dr. Smith to avoid injuries and costly readjustments. One visit may do the trick and set you up with the perfect orthotics for years to come. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our office team with any questions.

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.

Foot and Leg Stretching Exercises

Remaining active during the COVID-19 lockdown is a challenge for most people. Some have spontaneously created a home workout routine or even attempted building their own workout equipment. In any case, stretching your feet and legs daily will provide relief against inactivity and warm you up for some home routines. Since many stretching exercises are fun and have health benefits for senior citizens as well, the entire family can participate in the following activities together.

Medical News Today offers detailed instructions for the following exercises promoting flexibility, mobility and strength. Their gifs and step by step instructions are especially well-suited for beginners.

  • Big toe stretches
  • Toe raise, point and curl
  • Toe splay
  • Toe curls
  • Marble pickup

Ready for the next level? Healthline offers similarly descriptive instructions on stretches, but focuses more on exercises you perform while standing. They suit most children and adults alike.

  • Ankle circles
  • Achilles stretch
  • Towel stretch
  • Band stretch
  • Standing calf stretch
  • Standing soleus stretch
  • Cross leg ankle stretch
  • Chair Pose

You can also check out Ardash Williams, a popular Yoga instructor. He created a YouTube video with tips on more advanced leg and feet stretches for healthy adults. These work best for individuals who have experience with professional workout equipment.

Some exercises are more adequate than others depending on your age and physical health. Please reach out to our office for more information on foot and leg exercises you can safely perform from home.

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