Official Blog of Dr. Peter F. Gregory and his Foot Health Team
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You've seen them at the grocery store and at the mall. You've probably even seen them on TV and online. Shoe inserts are any kind of non-prescription foot support designed to be worn inside a shoe. Pre-packaged arch supports are shoe inserts. So are the “custom-made” insoles and foot supports that you can order online or at retail stores. Unless the device has been prescribed by a doctor and crafted for your specific foot, it's a shoe insert, not a custom orthotic device—despite what the ads might say.
Shoe inserts can be very helpful for a variety of foot ailments, including flat arches and foot and leg pain. They can cushion your feet, provide comfort, and support your arches, but they can't correct biomechanical foot problems or cure long-standing foot issues.
The most common types of shoe inserts are:
- Arch supports: Some people have high arches. Others have low arches or flat feet. Arch supports generally have a “bumped-up” appearance and are designed to support the foot's natural arch.
- Insoles: Insoles slip into your shoe to provide extra cushioning and support. Insoles are often made of gel, foam, or plastic.
- Heel liners: Heel liners, sometimes called heel pads or heel cups, provide extra cushioning in the heel region. They may be especially useful for patients who have foot pain caused by age-related thinning of the heels' natural fat pads.
- Foot cushions: Do your shoes rub against your heel or your toes? Foot cushions come in many different shapes and sizes and can be used as a barrier between you and your shoe.
Choosing an Over-the-Counter Shoe Insert
Selecting a shoe insert from the wide variety of devices on the market can be overwhelming. Here are some podiatrist-tested tips to help you find the insert that best meets your needs:
- Consider your health. Do you have diabetes? Problems with circulation? An over-the-counter insert may not be your best bet. Diabetes and poor circulation increase your risk of foot ulcers and infections, so schedule an appointment with a podiatrist. He or she can help you select a solution that won't cause additional health problems.
- Think about the purpose. Are you planning to run a marathon, or do you just need a little arch support in your work shoes? Look for a product that fits your planned level of activity.
- Bring your shoes. For the insert to be effective, it has to fit into your shoes. So bring your sneakers, dress shoes, or work boots—whatever you plan to wear with your insert. Look for an insert that will fit the contours of your shoe.
- Try them on. If all possible, slip the insert into your shoe and try it out. Walk around a little. How does it feel? Don't assume that feelings of pressure will go away with continued wear. (If you can't try the inserts at the store, ask about the store's return policy and hold on to your receipt.)
What are Prescription Custom Orthotics?
Custom orthotics are specially-made devices designed to support and comfort your feet. Prescription orthotics are crafted for you and no one else. They match the contours of your feet precisely and are designed for the way you move. Orthotics are only manufactured after a podiatrist has conducted a complete evaluation of your feet, ankles, and legs, so the orthotic can accommodate your unique foot structure and pathology.
Prescription orthotics are divided into two categories:
- Functional orthotics are designed to control abnormal motion. They may be used to treat foot pain caused by abnormal motion; they can also be used to treat injuries such as shin splints or tendinitis. Functional orthotics are usually crafted of a semi-rigid material such as plastic or graphite.
- Accommodative orthotics are softer and meant to provide additional cushioning and support. They can be used to treat diabetic foot ulcers, painful calluses on the bottom of the foot, and other uncomfortable conditions.
Podiatrists use orthotics to treat foot problems such as plantar fasciitis, bursitis, tendinitis, diabetic foot ulcers, and foot, ankle, and heel pain. Clinical research studies have shown that podiatrist-prescribed foot orthotics decrease foot pain and improve function.
Orthotics typically cost more than shoe inserts purchased in a retail store, but the additional cost is usually well worth it. Unlike shoe inserts, orthotics are molded to fit each individual foot, so you can be sure that your orthotics fit and do what they're supposed to do. Prescription orthotics are also made of top-notch materials and last many years when cared for properly. Insurance often helps pay for prescription orthotics.
When to Visit a Podiatrist
If you are simply looking for extra cushioning or support, you may wish to try an over-the-counter shoe insert first. If you have serious pain or discomfort, however, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist. He or she will assess your overall health and look for any other contributing factors. Today's podiatrists are specially trained to evaluate the biomechanics of the lower extremity.
Your podiatrist will examine your feet and how you walk. He or she will listen carefully to your complaints and concerns and assess the movement and function of your lower extremities. Some also use advanced technology to see how your feet function when walking or running.
The information gathered during the exam will help your podiatrist determine if shoe inserts might be helpful or if you need prescription orthotics. If orthotics are needed, your podiatrist will capture a three-dimensional image of each foot. Those images, as well as any measurements obtained by your podiatrist, are used to create a set of unique foot supports that will improve your foot movement and lead to more comfort and mobility. Your podiatrist might also suggest additional treatments to improve the comfort and function of your feet. Any questions please contact The Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M.
As the Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, we know that to have healthy feet, you must have a healthy body. Your feet do a lot of work for your body, and they need the proper nutrition to keep it up! Some foot issues can be directly linked to diet. There are two essential nutrients that your body needs at any age: calcium and vitamin D.
These nutrients work hand-in-hand to build and maintain strong bones. Calcium keeps the bones fortified, and vitamin D helps your body absorb that necessary calcium. Bones become brittle and can easily be fractured with an insufficient amount of either nutrient.
Nutrition is important at any age.
Starting children on a healthy, calcium-rich diet early is key to helping them grow strong in the future. Poor childhood diet could lead to complications later in life, including weaker bones. Good sources of calcium come from milk, yogurt, almonds, cereals fortified with calcium, eggs, white beans, kale, and black-eyed peas. Many non-dairy kinds of milk such as almond, soy, hemp, and cashew are fortified with double the calcium than dairy. Even through adulthood and into the golden years of 65 and older, your body needs at least 700mg of calcium a day.
Get some sun!
Although you can get vitamin D through many fortified foods or supplements, such as cod liver oil, it can be tough to get your daily recommended amount. For most people, sunlight is the best way to get this essential vitamin. Sunlight converts cholesterol to vitamin D in your body. This means all you need to do is spend some time outside on a nice sunny day!
Ensuring that you have proper levels of all necessary nutrients in your body will ensure your feet will stay strong and healthy to carry you through the day. If you need help planning a healthy diet for a healthy body and healthy feet, contact us at 734-522-7676.
If you are suffering from heel pain, it could be a result of plantar fasciitis, which is the leading cause of heel pain. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the band on the bottom of the foot that connects the toes to the heel, called the plantar fascia, becomes inflamed. This commonly occurs in those who have problems with their arches, such as flat feet or overpronation. Common plantar fasciitis symptoms include pain in the bottom of the heel or the arch of the foot, pain that increases over time, pain that is worse when getting up in the morning, and swelling on the bottom of the heel. If you believe that you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, it is important to visit a podiatrist. A podiatrist will be able to provide a proper diagnosis and treatment method that may include medicine, taping/strapping, orthotics, casts, therapy, or surgery.
Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that is often caused by a strain injury. If you are experiencing heel pain or symptoms of plantar fasciitis contact The Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M. We can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. When this ligament becomes inflamed, plantar fasciitis is the result. If you have plantar fasciitis you will have a stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. As the day progresses and you walk around more, this pain will start to disappear, but it will return after long periods of standing or sitting.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
- Excessive running
- Having high arches in your feet
- Other foot issues such as flat feet
- Pregnancy (due to the sudden weight gain)
- Being on your feet very often
There are some risk factors that may make you more likely to develop plantar fasciitis compared to others. The condition most commonly affects adults between the ages of 40 and 60. It also tends to affect people who are obese because the extra pounds result in extra stress being placed on the plantar fascia.
- Take good care of your feet – Wear shoes that have good arch support and heel cushioning.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- If you are a runner, alternate running with other sports that won’t cause heel pain
There are a variety of treatment options available for plantar fasciitis along with the pain that accompanies it. Additionally, physical therapy is a very important component in the treatment process. It is important that you meet with your podiatrist to determine which treatment option is best for you.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our office located in Livonia, MI. at 734-522-7676. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.
We’ve all stubbed our toe, perhaps on a piece of furniture or a doorframe. Typically, the pain is severe at first but subsides after a few minutes. Sometimes, however, the injury is more serious. If a toe is broken, the pain will often become more severe over time. Symptoms of a broken toe can include swelling around the toe and foot, bruising or discoloration, a change in the shape of the toe, difficulty moving the toe, pain when walking or putting weight on the injured toe, a loss of sensation in the toe or foot, or a visible bone poking into the skin. If you suspect that you may have broken your toe, it is recommended that you see a podiatrist as soon as possible.
A broken toe can be very painful and lead to complications if not properly fixed. If you have any concerns about your feet contact the Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M.
What to Know About a Broken Toe
Although most people try to avoid foot trauma such as banging, stubbing, or dropping heavy objects on their feet, the unfortunate fact is that it is a common occurrence. Given the fact that toes are positioned in front of the feet, they typically sustain the brunt of such trauma. When trauma occurs to a toe, the result can be a painful break (fracture).
Symptoms of a Broken Toe
- Throbbing pain
- Bruising on the skin and toenail
- The inability to move the toe
- Toe appears crooked or disfigured
- Tingling or numbness in the toe
Generally, it is best to stay off of the injured toe with the affected foot elevated.
Severe toe fractures may be treated with a splint, cast, and in some cases, minor surgery. Due to its position and the pressure it endures with daily activity, future complications can occur if the big toe is not properly treated.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact our Livonia office at 734-5225-7676. We have the diagnostic and treatment technologies for your foot and ankle needs.
Ankle pain can have a variety of causes. One of the most common causes of ankle pain is injury from physical activity. Sprains and fractures can occur while exercising, playing a sport, or even walking if the ankle is rolled, turned or twisted awkwardly. Another common cause of ankle pain is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the type of arthritis usually associated with aging and wears away the cartilage on the ends of your bones and leads to joint damage and pain. Wearing shoes with inadequate support or a poor fit, standing or walking for prolonged periods of time, exercising excessively, or being overweight can result in ankle pain as well. If you are experiencing persistent ankle pain, it is recommended that you consult with a podiatrist.
Ankle pain can have many different causes and the pain may potentially be serious. If you have ankle pain, consult with The Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.
Ankle pain is any condition that causes pain in the ankle. Due to the fact that the ankle consists of tendons, muscles, bones, and ligaments, ankle pain can come from a number of different conditions.
The most common causes of ankle pain include:
- Types of arthritis (rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, and gout)
- Ankle sprains
- Broken ankles
- Achilles tendinitis
- Achilles tendon rupture
- Stress fractures
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome
- Plantar fasciitis
Symptoms of ankle injury vary based upon the condition. Pain may include general pain and discomfort, swelling, aching, redness, bruising, burning or stabbing sensations, and/or loss of sensation.
Due to the wide variety of potential causes of ankle pain, podiatrists will utilize a number of different methods to properly diagnose ankle pain. This can include asking for personal and family medical histories and of any recent injuries. Further diagnosis may include sensation tests, a physical examination, and potentially x-rays or other imaging tests.
Just as the range of causes varies widely, so do treatments. Some more common treatments are rest, ice packs, keeping pressure off the foot, orthotics and braces, medication for inflammation and pain, and surgery.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Livonia, MI. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.