Orthotics are shoe inserts that are intended to correct an abnormal or irregular, walking pattern. Orthotics takes various forms and is constructed of various materials. The purpose is to improve foot function and minimize stress forces that could ultimately cause foot deformity and pain. Almost anyone can achieve some benefit from an orthotic and can be made to fit most types of shoes styles or sneakers. Common reasons why orthotics are prescribed are flat feet or high arch foot, runners injuries, diabetic foot, plantar fascitis, heel spur syndrome, bunions, Achilles tendonitis to name a few. The goals of treatment are to provide the patient with support, stability, cushioning and alignment necessary to keep the feet and lower body comfortable, healthy and pain-free.
Podiatrists are often the first doctors to see signs of such systemic conditions as diabetes, arthritis, and circulatory disease in the foot. Older people benefit greatly from preventative foot health care. Signs like dry skin, brittle nails, burning and tingling sensations, feelings of cold, numbness, and discoloration can be observed. Most of these ailments stem from the cumulative effect of years of neglect or abuse. However, even among people in their retirement years, many foot problems can be treated successfully, and the pain of foot ailments relieved.
The size and shape of your baby's feet change quickly during their first year and the foot's bone structure is well-formed by the time your child reaches age 7 or 8. As children's feet are forming it is important to have them evaluated for any abnormalities such as Pigeon Toe (intoe), Out Toe (child walks like a duck), flatfeet, overlapping toes or obvious skin disorders like warts, rash or deformed nails. If evaluated early, problems are greatly reduced or eliminated.
For people with diabetes, a lot of attention is focused on foot care. Often the best treatment for diabetic patients is prevention. This may be accomplished by the education of patients in the care and treatment of their feet. We train all our diabetic patients to examine their feet on a regular basis, with a regular schedule of podiatric care to help identify and prevent problems that can become long term.
Women's Foot Care
Women more than men are at risk for injuries and ailments as a result of wearing high heels and tight fitting shoes. A study conducted by the American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society found that nine out of 10 women wear shoes that are too small for their feet, eight out of 10 women say their shoes are painful, and more than seven out of 10 women have developed a bunion, hammertoe, or other painful foot deformity.
Foot Care and Fitness
Before you start a fitness program, you should consult a physician for a complete physical, and a podiatrist for a foot exam. Most people don't realize the tremendous pressure that is put on your feet while exercising or playing sports. Foot problems contribute to pain in knees, hips and lower back. Other conditions that exercise may have on your feet are Athletes Feet - a skin disease caused by fungus; blisters – caused by skin friction and moisture as well as corns and calluses. For fitness success make sure to wear proper athletic shoes as well as a well-cushioned sock for reinforcement. A podiatrist can help you select the right athletic shoe for your type of sport or exercise.
Most foot surgery can be performed properly and safely in a podiatrist's office and the patient will be in and out on the same day. The correction of bunions and hammertoes, ingrown toenails, removal of warts and soft-tissue benign tumors, and heel spurs comprise the bulk of surgical treatments recommended by podiatrists. Podiatric physicians look upon surgery as a last resort and they generally exhaust all avenues of medical treatment before they recommend surgical intervention. Usually a local anesthetic is used to numb an area of the foot; however, the doctor may prescribe pre-operative medication to help the patient relax. To learn more about the types of foot problems that may result in surgery, refer to our Patient Education link.
Free foot exam and consultation available