What are orthotics?
Sometimes known as arch support, custom orthotics give people the freedom to stand and move easier and more comfortably. Some people might opt for over-the-counter orthotics because of convenience; however, over-the-counter orthotics are not crafted uniquely to your feet, which often means that they won’t provide the relief you’re looking for from foot pain and other issues, and may even make problems worse. Instead, consider getting custom orthotics that are designed to correct your specific foot problems, ease symptoms, and make it easier for you to get back to your life.
Here are the types of custom orthotics that podiatrists often provide:
Rigid orthotics are often made from harder materials such as plastic or carbon fiber and are used to control function. They also help to control motion in the joints of the foot. They are most often used with walking shoes or dress shoes as they help with strains, aches and pains in the legs, thighs, and lower back.
Just like the name states, soft orthotics are made out of more cushioned materials so they can act as shock absorbers, help with balance, and relieve pressure. They also cradle the soles of the foot and support everything from the heel and balls of your feet to the toes. Since soft orthotics help to absorb shock, they can be a good option for athletes and those with active lifestyles.
Semi-rigid orthotics can also be a great option for sports players as they provide a good balance. As the name implies, semi-rigid orthotics are made with layers of soft material that are backed by a rigid material. While this type is great for avid walkers and the like, semi-rigid orthotics are also prescribed to treat flatfoot and other foot disorders in children. If you’re planning on running a marathon this year and you’re experiencing foot pain, semi-rigid orthotics might help relieve some of the discomforts you’re feeling while training.
Are you interested in custom orthotics? If so, your podiatrist can chat more about orthotics and how they could benefit your feet based on your foot health, age, activities, and lifestyle.
Why Splinters Need to be Removed
Regardless of whether the splinter is wood, glass, or even a plant thorn, you must remove it from the foot as soon as possible. Why? Because these foreign objects also contain germs, which can lead to an infection if the splinter isn’t promptly and fully removed.
How to Remove a Splinter Yourself
You probably have all the tools you need at home to remove a splinter safely. Of course, it’s important to go over the basics of safe splinter removal. Here are tips for safely removing the splinter:
- Soak the foot in warm water for a few minutes to soften the skin
- Wash your hands thoroughly before removing the splinter
- Once the skin has softened in the water, see if you can squeeze the splinter out by simply applying pressure to both sides (like you would a pimple)
- If squeezing doesn’t work, you can use tweezers or a sewing needle to remove the foreign object (just make sure to disinfect these tools first with rubbing alcohol)
- If the splinter cannot be grabbed with tweezers, use the needle to create a small opening around the splinter to make it easier to grab
- Be gentle and careful when removing the splinter to avoid breaking it
While a splinter often isn’t a big deal there will be situations in which turning to a podiatric physician will be the best option. You should turn to one if:
- You aren’t able to remove the splinter or foreign object yourself
- The area becomes red, tender, swollen, or contains pus (signs of infection)
- You feel like there’s a splinter but you can’t see it
- You have diabetes or nerve damage in your feet (do not try to remove a splinter yourself)
- The splinter is too deep or too painful
- Your child is too squeamish or won’t sit still so you can remove the splinter
Are You Able to Put Weight on Your Foot?
One method that you can use to determine whether or not you have actually broken a toe is checking if you can put weight on your foot. If you can walk on your foot without limping or pain, your toe is likely not broken. Icing the toe and using some non-prescription anti-inflammatory medication will probably be enough. In the event that you continue to experience swelling or severe pain, you should see a doctor about your toe.
Does Your Toe Have a Deep Wound?
You should take a close look at your injured toe. If your toe has a deep wound or cut, the bone in your toe might get exposed to the air and a doctor should check out your injured toe. Another sign that you have a broken toe is bruising. Additionally, one more sign that you have actually broken your toe is some discoloration on or near your toe. An obvious sign of a broken toe is if it is at a different angle than the toe on your other foot.
What Else Should I Know About Broken Toes?
Taping is a common solution for a broken toe. This works just fine if the break in the toe is simple and the bones are still in alignment. Taping your broken toe will not help it heal properly, though. That is why you should keep the following information in mind:
- Consult a doctor about your broken toe so it heals correctly.
- Taping your toe could worsen the situation if you have a bad break in your toe.
- Taping your toe is only a viable solution in some circumstances.
The Problem with Cavus Foot
Cavus foot needs to be addressed right away by a podiatrist, as this condition can lead to a variety of issues for your child. Cavus foot is more likely to lead to imbalances within the feet, which in turn can also impact the function of the ankle, legs, hips, and even lower back. Children and teens with cavus foot may be more likely to deal with aches, pains, and strains within the feet, ankles, legs, and hips. This condition can also lead to metatarsalgia, Achilles tendonitis, and chronic ankle sprains.
Causes of Cavus Foot
In many cases, a muscle or nerve disorder that impacts how the muscles function causes cavus foot. This leads to imbalances that cause the distinctive high arches of this condition. Of course, other conditions such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, muscular dystrophy, and spina bifida can also increase the chances of developing cavus foot.
Treating Cavus Foot
You must be watching your little ones as they start to walk to see if you notice any differences in how they move. Catching these issues early offers your child the best chance at improved mobility and less risk for developing foot problems later on. Your podiatrist may work together with a neurologist to pinpoint whether a nerve disorder could be the underlying cause.
Once your foot specialist determines the root cause of your child’s cavus foot then they can map out a customized treatment plan. Milder cases may benefit from more conservative treatment options such as custom orthotics and arch supports; however, surgery is often necessary to correct this problem.
Any issues with mobility, particularly in children, should be addressed and assessed as quickly as possible. Turn to a podiatrist that also specializes in providing pediatric podiatry to children and teens, as they will be able to provide the most thorough treatment plan for your little one.
As we age, our feet will change shape and size, which can also predispose them to certain problems. This also means that your foot needs will change, particularly concerning footwear. Here’s how your feet will change:
- Loss of fat pads
- Dry, cracked skin
- The development or worsening of certain deformities such as hammertoes or bunions
- Widening or lengthening of the feet
- Loss of bone density (which can increase your risk for fracture)
- Changes in gait due to certain conditions such as neuropathy or arthritis
- Diabetic-related foot problems
- Issues with balance
You must look for shoes that provide proper cushioning and supportive insoles so that your feet can tackle the day-to-day activities. If you have foot problems or issues with gait, then you’ll want to turn to a podiatrist for an evaluation. Together, you can decide the proper footwear and whether prescription orthotics can also provide your feet with additional support and cushioning that footwear alone can’t.
You should turn to a specialty shoe store where they can analyze your gait, properly measure your feet, and determine whether the shoes you’re getting may require additional modifications including orthotics. For example, some shoes and brands adjust to foot swelling throughout the day, while others provide enough space to place orthotics.
- Any shoes with pointed toes
- Shoes with heels over 2 inches
- Shoes that aren’t non-slip
- Sandals or flip-flops
- Shoes that don’t have a firm sole (including your slippers)
- Old, worn shoes (that simply need to be tossed)
- Shoes with rocker soles (particularly if you have gait problems)
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