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.
Your Sweaty Feet Could be Hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating. Plantar hyperhidrosis is when people experience excessive sweating of the feet. Men are often more likely than women to develop this issue. The good news is that if your podiatrist determines that you have plantar hyperhidrosis there are ways to several ways to treat it.
Your Hyperhidrosis May Be Secondary
Okay, so what does this mean exactly? This means that you may have an underlying condition that could have brought about hyperhidrosis. So by finding and treating the underlying cause we can often alleviate hyperhidrosis. Secondary hyperhidrosis may be caused by:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Intense stress
- Certain prescription medications such as antidepressants
- Tuberculosis and other infections
As is the way for treating most health conditions, your podiatrist will often recommend certain lifestyle changes and simple treatment options first to see if these are effective enough against excessive sweatiness. Only if these treatment options don’t work will your podiatrist turn to more aggressive options. Conservative options include:
- Applying deodorant or antiperspirant to your feet
- Applying antifungal powder to the feet
- Making sure not to wear the same shoes two days in a row
- Choosing breathable shoes (shoes made from leather or canvas)
- Wearing moisture-wicking socks
While a podiatrist can recommend a variety of options to help you manage your sweaty feet, there are instances where you may need to turn to a foot and ankle specialist for more aggressive treatment. One way that a podiatrist treats sweaty feet is with iontophoresis, a painless device that passes mild electrical currents through the feet to temporarily stop sweat glands from producing sweat. Along with iontophoresis, a podiatrist may also recommend Botox injections, which can also temporarily stop excessive sweating for anywhere from 6-9 months.
If you are dealing with sweaty feet and it’s impacting your daily routine or making you uncomfortable, a podiatrist can evaluate your issue and figure out how to get your sweating under control.
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
Non-Surgical Care for Bone Spurs
Most podiatrists attempt non-surgical care before turning to any operating on a bone spur. These simple steps help to minimize pain and relieve suffering. Typically, they'll start by suggesting over-the-counter pain medication or prescribing high-dose medicines of this type. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium can all help to cut back on this kind of bone spur pain.
However, they may also suggest icing the area, prescribe regular massage visits, or even provide specialized shoes or footwear that support the bone spur and minimize your pain. The extra padding helps to keep the spur from rubbing up against the shoe and worsening. Sometimes, they may also prescribe a weight-loss routine, including a specialized diet and controlled exercise routines to help decrease foot pressure.
Most of the time, these treatments help to minimize pain and keeps you on your feet. Typically, they rarely cause any serious complications and can be worked around in your day-to-day life. But, unfortunately, there are instances in which a bone spur could be more than a minor nuisance. In these situations, surgery is necessary to ensure that you recover fully from this problem.
Does your bone spur press on your nerves and limit your range of motion? If so, you're not alone. Many people experience this kind of struggle and need surgery to recovery. Surgeons start by checking the extent of your bone spur and seeing how it impacts your foot and leg and your mobility.
Then, they'll carefully come up with a surgical plan that removes the spur and keeps your body safe. This procedure requires carefully opening up the skin around the spur and surgically cutting it away from the foot. A short recovery period will follow, one that helps to ensure your foot fully recovers before you put excess weight on it.
Find Help Today
If you think you have a bone spur and want to get help, reach out to a local podiatrist today to learn more. They'll work with you to find a treatment plan that makes sense. Catching it early enough should minimize your need for surgery. With this type of help, you can regain a pain-free life and transition back to the everyday experiences that your bone spur has robbed from you.
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.
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