Foot Pain

Foot Pain

If you’ve experienced foot pain, you know it can affect your mobility, gait and overall comfort. For some, it can even be debilitating. Comfort Plus is committed to helping you find custom solutions to reduce pain and improve foot function.

Learn more about the most common foot issues we address, then schedule an appointment today and take the first step toward pain relief.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles Tendonitis causes inflammation and degeneration of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is the large tendon located in the back of the leg that inserts into the heel. The pain caused by Achilles tendonitis can develop gradually without a history of trauma. The pain can be a shooting pain, burning pain, or even an extremely piercing pain. Achilles tendonitis should not be left untreated due to the danger that the tendon can become weak and ruptured.

Achilles Tendonitis is aggravated by activities that repeatedly stress the tendon, causing inflammation. In some cases, even prolonged periods of standing can cause symptoms. It is a common problem often experienced by athletes, particularly distance runners. Achilles Tendonitis is a difficult injury to treat in athletes due to their high level of activity and reluctance to stop or slow down their training.

Individuals who suffer from Achilles tendonitis often complain that their first steps out of bed in the morning are extremely painful. Another common complaint is pain after steps are taken after long periods of sitting. This pain often lessens with activity.

Causes of Achilles Tendonitis

There are several factors that can cause Achilles tendonitis. The most common cause is over-pronation. Over-pronation occurs in the walking process, when the arch collapses upon weight bearing, adding stress on the Achilles tendon.

Other factors that lead to Achilles tendonitis are improper shoe selection, inadequate stretching prior to engaging in athletics, a short Achilles tendon, direct trauma (injury) to the tendon, and heel bone deformity.

Treatment and Prevention of Achilles Tendonitis

Athletes, particularly runners, should incorporate a thorough stretching program to properly warm-up the muscles. They should decrease the distance of their walk or run, apply ice after the activity and avoid any uphill climbs. Athletes should use an orthotic device, heel cup, or heel cradle for extra support.

A heel cup or heel cradle elevates the heel to reduce stress and pressure on the Achilles tendon. The device should be made with lightweight, shock absorbing materials. An orthotic device can be used to control over-pronation, support the longitudinal arch, and reduce stress on the Achilles tendon. If the problem persists, consult your foot doctor.

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Arch Pain

Arch pain (often referred to as arch strain) refers to an inflammation and/or burning sensation at the arch of the foot.

Causes of Arch Strain

There are many different factors that can cause arch pain. A structural imbalance or an injury to the foot can often be the direct cause. However, most frequently the cause is a common condition called plantar fasciitis.

The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue located along the bottom surface of the foot, that runs from the heel to the forefoot. Plantar fasciitis is caused by excessive stretching of the plantar fascia, usually due to over-pronation (flat feet).

Treatment and Prevention

This is a common foot condition that can be easily treated. If you suffer from arch pain avoid high-heeled shoes whenever possible. Try to choose footwear with a reasonable heel, soft leather uppers, shock absorbing soles and removable foot insoles. When the arch pain is pronation related (flat feet), an orthotic designed with a medial heel post and proper arch support is recommended for treating the pain. This type of orthotic will control over-pronation, support the arch and provide the necessary relief. If the problem persists, consult your foot doctor.

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>Bunions/Bunionettes

Bunions, referred to in the medical community as Hallux Valgus, are one of the most common forefoot problems. A bunion is a prominent bump on the inside of the foot around the big toe joint. This bump is actually a bone protruding towards the inside of the foot. With the continued movement of the big toe towards the smaller toes, it is common to find the big toe resting under or over the second toe. This causes a common forefoot condition called overlapping toes. Some of the symptoms of bunions include inflammation, swelling, and soreness on the side surface of the big toe. The discomfort commonly causes a patient to walk improperly.

Another type of bunion which some individuals experience is called a Tailor’s Bunion, also known as a Bunionette. This forms on the outside of the foot towards the joint at the little toe. It is a smaller bump that forms due to the little toe moving inwards, towards the big toe.

Causes of Bunions

Bunions are a common problem experienced mostly by women. The deformity can develop from an abnormality in foot function, or arthritis, but is more commonly caused by wearing improper fitting footwear. Tight, narrow dress shoes with a constrictive toe box (toe area) can cause the foot to begin to take the shape of the shoe, leading to the formation of a bunion. Women who have bunions normally wear dress shoes that are too small for their feet. Their toes are squeezed together in their shoes causing the first metatarsal bone to protrude on the side of the foot.

It is important for men and women to realize that wearing dress shoes and boots, which are tapered in the toe area, can cause the bunion to worsen to the point where surgery is necessary.

Treatment and Prevention of Bunions

In the early stages of the formation of a bunion, soaking feet in warm water can provide temporary relief. The best way to alleviate the pain associated with bunions is to wear properly fitting shoes. Shoes designed with a high, wide toe box (toe area) are recommended for people suffering from forefoot disorders, such as bunions. Shoes with rocker soles will unload pressure to the bunion area. Orthotics are also recommended for this condition to provide extra comfort, support, and protection.

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>Calluses

Calluses formation is an accumulation of dead skin cells that harden and thicken over an area of the foot. This callus formation is our bodies defense mechanism to protect the foot against excessive pressure and friction. Calluses are normally found on the ball-of-the-foot, the heel, and/or the inside of the big toe.

Some calluses have a deep -eated core known as a nucleation. This particular type of callus can be especially painful to pressure. This condition is often referred to as Intractable Plantar Keratosis.

Cause of Calluses

Calluses develop due to excessive pressure at a specific area of the foot. Some common causes of callus formation are high-heeled dress shoes, shoes that are too small, obesity, abnormalities in the gait cycle (walking motion), flat feet, high arched feet, bony prominences, and the loss of the fat pad on the bottom of the foot.

Callus Treatment and Prevention

Many people try to alleviate the pain caused by calluses by cutting or trimming them with a razor blade or knife. This is not the way to properly treat calluses. This is very dangerous and can worsen the condition resulting in unnecessary injuries. Diabetics especially should never try this type of treatment.

In order to relieve the excessive pressure that leads to callus formation, weight should be redistributed equally with the use of an orthotic. An effective orthotic transfers pressure away from the “hot spots” or high pressured areas to allow the callus to heal. The orthotic should be made with materials that absorb shock and shear (friction) forces. Women should also steer away from wearing high-heeled shoes. If the problem persists, consult your foot doctor.

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>Over-Pronation/Flat Feet

Over-pronation, or flat feet, is a common biomechanical problem that occurs in the walking process when a person’s arch collapses upon weight bearing. This motion can cause extreme stress or inflammation on the plantar fascia, possibly causing severe discomfort and leading to other foot problems.

Causes of Over-Pronation

Over-pronation is very prominent in people who have flexible, flat feet. The framework of the foot begins to collapse, causing the foot to flatten and adding additional stress to other parts of the foot. Therefore, over-pronation can often lead to a case of Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Spurs, Metatarsalgia, Post-tib Tendonitis and/or Bunions.

There are many causes of flat feet. Obesity, pregnancy or repetitive pounding on a hard surface can weaken the arch leading to over-pronation. People with flat feet often do not experience discomfort immediately, and some never suffer from any discomfort at all. However, when symptoms develop and become painful, walking becomes awkward and causes increased strain on the feet and calves.

Treatment and Prevention of Over-Pronation

Over-Pronation can be treated conservatively (non-surgical treatments) with over-the-counter orthotics. These orthotics should be designed with appropriate arch support and medial rearfoot posting to prevent the over-pronation.

Footwear should also be examined to ensure there is a proper fit. Footwear with a firm heel counter is often recommended for extra support and stability. Improper fitting footwear can lead to additional problems of the foot.

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>Hammer Toes

A hammer toe is a toe that is contracted at the PIP joint (middle joint in the toe) and can lead to severe pressure and pain. Ligaments and tendons that have tightened cause the toe’s joints to curl downwards. Hammer toes may occur in any toe, except the big toe. There is often discomfort at the top part of the toe that is rubbing against the shoe.

Hammer toes are classified based on the mobility of the toe joints. There are two types – flexible and rigid. In a flexible hammer toe, the joint has the ability to move. This type of hammer toe can be straightened manually. A rigid hammer toe does not have that same ability to move. Movement is very limited and can be extremely painful. This sometimes causes foot movement to become restricted leading to extra stress at the ball-of-the-foot, and possibly causing pain and the development of corns and calluses. Follow this link to learn more about hammer toe products.

Causes of Hammer Toes

Hammer toes result from a muscle imbalance which causes the ligaments and tendons to become unnaturally tight. This results in the joint curling downwards. Arthritis can also lead to many different forefoot deformities, including hammer toes.

Treatment and Prevention of Hammer Toes

Changing the type of footwear worn is a very important step in the treatment of hammer toes. When choosing a shoe, make sure the toe box (toe area) is high and broad, and can accommodate the hammer toes. A shoe with a high, broad toe box will provide enough room in the forefoot area so that there is less friction against the toes.

Other conservative treatments include using forefoot products designed to relieve hammer toes, such as hammer toe crests and hammer toe splints. These devices will help hold down the hammer toe and provide relief to the forefoot. Gel toe shields and gel toe caps are also recommended to eliminate friction between the shoe and the toe, while providing comfort and lubrication. If the problem persists, consult your foot doctor.

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>Heel Pain

Heel pain is a common condition in which weight bearing on the heel causes extreme discomfort.

Causes of Heel Pain

There are two different categories of heel pain. The first is caused by an over-use repetitive stress. Over-use repetitive stress refers to a soreness resulting from too much impact on a specific area of the foot. This condition, often referred to as “heel pain syndrome”, can be caused from shoes with heels that are too low, a thinned out fat pad in the heel area, or from a sudden increase in activity.

Plantar fasciitis, a very common diagnosis of heel pain, is usually caused from a biomechanical problem, such as over-pronation (flat feet). The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom surface of the foot, from the heel through the midfoot and into the forefoot. Over-pronation can cause the plantar fascia to be excessively stretched and inflamed, resulting in pain in the heel and arch areas of the foot. Often the pain will be most intense first thing in the morning or after a prolonged period of rest. The pain will gradually subside as the day progresses.

Treatment and Prevention of Heel Pain

To properly treat heel pain, you must absorb shock, provide cushioning and elevate the heel to transfer pressure. This can be accomplished with a heel cup, visco heel cradle, or an orthotic designed with materials that will absorb shock and shear forces.

When the condition is pronation related (usually plantar fasciitis), an orthotic with medial posting and good arch support will control the pronation and prevent the inflammation of the plantar fascia. Footwear selection is also an important criterion when treating heel pain. Shoes with a firm heel counter, good arch support, and appropriate heel height will be the ideal choice. If the problem persists, consult your foot doctor.

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>Heel Spurs

The heel bone is the largest bone in the foot and absorbs the most amount of shock and pressure. A heel spur develops as an abnormal growth of the heel bone. Calcium deposits form when the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel area, causing a bony protrusion, or heel spur to develop. The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue located along the bottom surface of the foot that runs from the heel to the forefoot. Heel spurs can cause extreme pain in the rearfoot, especially while standing or walking.

Causes of Heel Spurs

Heel spurs develop as an abnormal growth in the heel bone due to calcium deposits that form when the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel. This stretching of the plantar fascia is usually the result of over-pronation (flat feet), but people with unusually high arches (pes cavus) can also develop heel spurs. Women have a significantly higher incidence of heel spurs due to the types of footwear often worn on a regular basis.

Treatment and Prevention of Heel Spurs

The key for the proper treatment of heel spurs is determining what is causing the excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. When the cause is over-pronation (flat feet), an orthotic with rearfoot posting and longitudinal arch support is an effective device to reduce over-pronation and allow the condition to heal.

Other common treatments include stretching exercises, losing weight, wearing shoes that have a cushioned heel that absorbs shock, and elevating the heel with the use of a heel cradle, heel cup, or orthotic. Heel cradles and heel cups provide extra comfort and cushion to the heel and reduce the amount of shock and shear forces experienced from everyday activities. If the problem persists, consult your foot doctor.

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>Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is a general term used to denote a painful foot condition in the metatarsal region of the foot (the area just before the toes, more commonly referred to as the ball-of-the-foot). This is a common foot disorder that can affect the bones and joints at the ball-of-the-foot. Metatarsalgia (ball-of-foot-pain) is often located under the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th metatarsal heads, or more isolated at the first metatarsal head (near the big toe).

Causes of Metatarsalgia

With this condition one or more of the metatarsal heads become painful and/or inflamed, usually due to excessive pressure over a long period of time. It is common to experience acute, recurrent, or chronic pain with this common foot condition. Ball-of-foot pain is often caused from improper fitting footwear, most frequently in women’s dress shoes and other restrictive footwear. Footwear with a narrow toe box (toe area) causes the ball-of-foot area to be forced into a minimal amount of space. This can inhibit the walking process and lead to extreme discomfort in the forefoot.

Other factors can cause excessive pressure in the ball-of-foot area that can result in metatarsalgia. These include shoes with heels that are too high or participating in high impact activities without proper footwear and/or orthotics. Also, as we get older, the fat pad in our foot tends to thin out, making us much more susceptible to pain in the ball-of-the-foot.

Treatment and Prevention of Metatarsalgia

The first step in treating metatarsalgia is to determine the cause of the pain. If improper fitting footwear is the cause of the pain, the footwear must be changed. Footwear designed with a high, wide toe box (toe area) and a rocker sole are ideal for treating metatarsalgia. The high, wide toe box allows the foot to spread out while the rocker sole reduces stress on the ball-of-the-foot.

Unloading pressure to the ball-of-the-foot can be accomplished with a variety of footcare products. Orthotics designed to relieve ball-of-foot pain usually feature a metatarsal pad. The orthotic is constructed with the pad placed behind the ball-of-the-foot to relieve pressure and redistribute weight from the painful area to more tolerant areas. Other products often recommended include gel metatarsal cushions and metatarsal bandages. When these products are used with proper footwear, you should experience significant relief. If problem persists, consult your foot doctor.

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>Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s Neuroma is a common foot problem associated with pain, swelling and/or an inflammation of a nerve, usually at the ball-of-the-foot between the 3rd and 4th toes. Symptoms of this condition include sharp pain, burning, and even a lack of feeling in the affected area. Morton’s Neuroma may also cause numbness, tingling, or cramping in the forefoot.

Causes of Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s Neuroma is a foot condition caused from an abnormal function of the foot that leads to bones squeezing a nerve usually between the 3rd and 4th metatarsal heads. Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma often occur during or after you have been placing significant pressure on the forefoot area, while walking, standing, jumping, or sprinting. This condition can also be caused from footwear selection. Footwear with pointed toes and/or high heels can often lead to a neuroma. Constricting shoes can pinch the nerve between the toes, causing discomfort and extreme pain.

Treatment and Prevention of Morton’s Neuroma

The first step in treating Morton’s Neuroma is to select proper footwear. Footwear with a high and wide toe box (toe area) is ideal for treating and relieving the pain. The next step in treatment is to use an orthotic designed with a metatarsal pad. This pad is located behind the ball-of-the-foot to unload pressure, and relieve the pain caused by the neuroma. If problem persists, consult your foot doctor.

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>Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation caused by excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue which runs along the bottom surface of the foot, attaching at the bottom of the heel bone and extending to the forefoot. When the plantar fascia is excessively stretched, this can cause plantar fasciitis, which can also lead to heel pain, arch pain, and heel spurs.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis often leads to heel pain, heel spurs, and/or arch pain. The excessive stretching of the plantar fascia that leads to the inflammation and discomfort can be caused by the following:

  • Over-pronation (flat feet) which results in the arch collapsing upon weight bearing
  • A foot with an unusually high arch
  • A sudden increase in physical activity
  • Excessive weight on the foot, usually attributed to obesity or pregnancy
  • Improperly fitting footwear

Over-pronation (flat feet) is the leading cause of plantar fasciitis. Over-pronation occurs in the walking process, when a person’s arch collapses upon weight bearing, causing the plantar fascia to be stretched away from the heel bone.

With Plantar Fasciitis, the bottom of your foot usually hurts near the inside of the foot where the heel and arch meet. The pain is often acute either first thing in the morning or after a long rest, because while resting the plantar fascia contracts back to its original shape. As the day progresses and the plantar fascia continues to be stretched, the pain often subsides.

Treatment and Prevention of Plantar Fasciitis

The key for the proper treatment of plantar fasciitis is determining what is causing the excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. When the cause is over-pronation (flat feet), an orthotic with rearfoot posting and longitudinal arch support is an effective device to reduce the over-pronation and allow the condition to heel.

If you have usually high arches, which can also lead to plantar fasciitis, cushion the heel, absorb shock and wear proper footwear that will accommodate and comfort the foot.

Other common treatments include stretching exercises, plantar fasciitis night splints, wearing shoes that have a cushioned heel to absorb shock, and elevating the heel with the use of a heel cradle or heel cup. Heel cradles and heel cups provide extra comfort, cushion the heel, and reduce the amount of shock and shear forces placed during everyday activities.

Every time your foot strikes the ground, the plantar fascia is stretched. You can reduce the strain and stress on the plantar fascia by following these simple instructions: Avoid running on hard or uneven ground, lose any excess weight, and wear shoes and orthotics that support your arch to prevent over-stretching of the plantar fascia. If problem persists, consult your foot doctor.

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>Post-Tib Tendonitis

Post-Tib Tendonitis is a strain place on the posterior tibial tendon. The posterior tibial tendon runs along the inside of the ankle and the foot. When there is post-tibial tendon disfunction, the tendon does not function to hold up the arch, resulting in flat feet. This can lead to heel pain, arch pain, plantar fasciitis and/or heel spurs. With post-tib tendonitis, pain will be more severe upon weight bearing, especially while walking or running.

Causes of Post-Tib Tendonitis

Post-Tib Tendonitis occurs when the muscle is overused and the tendon (soft tissue) that connects the muscle to your bone is strained. Years of over-pronation (flat feet) can also lead to posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. If you keep overusing the muscle, damage to the tendon builds up and tendonitis develops. At first the pain or swelling may come and go quickly, but eventually the problem may become more permanent.

Treatment and Prevention of Post-Tib Tendonitis

To treat pot-tib tendonitis, you can reduce your symptoms by limiting activity to control the pain and swelling. Stay off your feet a few days, then slowly increase your activity. Rest allows the tissues in your foot to heal.

Conservative treatments (non-surgical treatments) include wearing a foot orthotic with rearfoot posting and longitudinal arch support, to reduce strain on the post tibial tendon reduce strain on the post tibial tendon prevent excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. The orthotic should also be designed with materials to comfort the foot and absorb shock.

Listed below are tips to prevent Post-Tib Tendonitis from reoccurring:

  • Wear the shoes that provide cushioning, support and shock absorption.
  • Use orthotics with sufficient arch support that are constructed from shock absorbing, cushioning materials.
  • Vary exercise routines. The variety will keep one set of muscles from being under continuous stress.

If the problem persists, consult your foot doctor.

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>Sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis is a common ailment that affects the forefoot, typically in young people who engage in physical activity like running or dancing. Its most common symptom is pain in the ball-of-the-foot, especially on the medial or inner side. The term is a general description for any irritation of the sesamoid bones, which are tiny bones within the tendons that run to the big toe. Like the kneecap, the sesamoids function as a pulley, increasing the leverage of the tendons controlling the toe. Every time you push off against the toe the sesamoids are involved, and eventually they can become irritated, even fractured. Because the bones are actually within the tendons, sesamoiditis is really a kind of tendinitis – the tendons around the bones become inflamed as well.

Causes of Sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis typically can be distinguished from other forefoot conditions by its gradual onset. The pain usually begins as a mild ache and increases gradually as the aggravating activity is continued. It may build to an intense throbbing. In most cases there is little or no bruising or redness. One of the major causes of sesamoiditis is increased activity. You’ve probably stepped up your activity level lately, which has forced you to put more pressure on the balls of your feet. Speed work, hill work, or even increased mileage can cause this. If you have a bony foot, you simply may not have enough fat on your foot to protect your tender sesamoids. Also, if you have a high arched foot, you will naturally run on the balls-of-your-feet, adding even more pressure.

Treatment and Prevention of Sesamoiditis

Treatment for sesamoiditis is almost always noninvasive. Minor cases call for a strict period of rest, along with the use of a modified shoe or a shoe pad to reduce pressure on the affected area. This may be accomplished by placing a metatarsal pad away from the joint so that it redistributes the pressure of weight bearing to other parts of the forefoot. In addition, the big toe may be bound with tape or athletic strapping to immobilize the joint as much as possible and allow for healing to occur. It is recommended to decrease or stop activity for a while. This will give your sesamoids time to heal. You should apply ice to the area for 10 to 15 minutes after exercise, or after any activity that aggravates the area. As with icing, anti-inflammatories will help the swelling go down so healing can begin. While the injury is healing, women should wear flat shoes on a daily basis. If home remedies do not work, see your doctor for a correct diagnosis.

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>The Diabetic Foot

About Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious disease that can develop from the lack of insulin production in the body or due to the inability of the body’s insulin to perform its normal everyday functions. Insulin is a substance produced from the pancreas gland that helps process the food we eat and turn it into energy.

Diabetes affects approximately 16 million Americans and is classified into 2 different types: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is usually associated with juvenile diabetes and is often linked through heredity. Type 2, commonly referred to as adult-onset diabetes, is characterized by elevated blood sugars, often by people who are overweight or have not attended to their diet properly.

There are often many complications associated with diabetes. Diabetes disrupts the vascular system, affecting many areas of the body such as the eyes, kidneys, legs, and feet. People with diabetes should pay special attention their feet.

The Diabetic Foot

Neuropathy

Of the sixteen million Americans with diabetes, 25% will develop foot problems related to the disease. Diabetic foot conditions develop from a combination of causes including poor circulation and neuropathy. Diabetic Neuropathy can cause insensitivity or a loss of ability to feel pain, heat, and cold. Diabetics suffering from neuropathy can develop minor cuts, scrapes, blisters, or pressure sores that they may not be aware of due to the insensitivity. If these minor injuries are left untreated, complications may result and lead to ulceration and possibly even amputation. Neuropathy can also cause deformities such as Bunions, Hammer Toes, and Charcot Feet.

It is very important for diabetics to take the necessary precautions to prevent all foot related injuries. Due to the consequences of neuropathy, daily observation of the feet is critical. When a diabetic patient takes the necessary preventive footcare measures, it reduces the risks of serious foot conditions.

Poor Circulation

Diabetes often leads to peripheral vascular disease which inhibits a person’s blood circulation. With this condition, there is a narrowing of the arteries that frequently leads to significantly decreased circulation in the lower part of the legs and the feet. Poor circulation contributes to diabetic foot problems by reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrition supplied to the skin and other tissue, therefore causing injuries to heal poorly. Poor circulation can also lead to swelling and dryness of the foot. Preventing foot complications is more critical for the diabetic patient since poor circulation impairs the healing process, and can lead to ulcers, infection, and other serious foot conditions.

Treatment and Prevention

Diabetic shoes, footwear and orthotics play an important role in diabetic footcare. Orthotics designed with Plastazote foam, the #1 material for protecting the insensitive diabetic foot, are usually recommended. Plastazote is a material designed to accommodate pressure “hot spots” by conforming to heat and pressure. By customizing to the foot, Plastazote provides the comfort and protection needed in diabetic footcare. Footwear constructed with Plastazote is also recommended frequently for the diabetic patient. Diabetic Footwear should also provide the following protective benefits:

  • High, wide toe box (high and wide space in the toe area)
  • Removable insoles for fitting flexibility and the option to insert orthotics if necessary.
  • Rocker Soles: These soles are designed to reduce pressure in the areas of the foot most susceptible to pain, most notably the ball-of-the-foot.
  • Firm Heel Counters for support and stability.

If you are a diabetic, you should be particularly alert to any problems you may be having with your feet. It is very important for diabetics with neuropathy to take necessary precautions to prevent injury and keep their feet healthy. If you have diabetes and are experiencing a foot problem, immediately consult with your foot doctor.

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>Footcare & Diabetes

Diabetic Footcare

Proper footcare is especially critical for diabetics because they are prone to foot problems such as:

  • Loss of feeling in their feet
  • Changes in the shape of their feet
  • Foot ulcers or sores that do not heal

Simple daily footcare can prevent serious problems. According to the National Institute of Health, the following are simple everyday steps that will help prevent serious complications from diabetes:

Take Care of Your Diabetes

Make healthy lifestyle choices to keep your blood sugar close to normal. Work with your health care team to create a diabetes plan that fits your lifestyle characteristics.

Check Your Feet Every Day

You may have foot problems that you may not be aware of. Check your feet for cuts, sores, red spots, swelling, or infected toenails. Checking your feet should become part of your daily routine. If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, use a plastic mirror to help. You can also ask a family member to help you.

Important Reminder Be sure to call your doctor immediately if a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot does not heal after one day.

Wash Your Feet Every Day

Wash your feet in warm, NOT HOT, water. Do not soak your feet because your skin will get dry. Before bathing or showering, test the water to make sure it is not too hot. You should use a thermometer or your elbow. Dry your feet well. Be sure to dry between your toes. Use talcum powder to keep the skin dry between the toes.

Keep the Skin Soft and Smooth

Rub a thin coat of skin lotion or creme on the tops and bottoms of the feet. Do not put lotion between your toes, because this might cause infection.

Trim your Toenails Each Week or When Needed

Trim your toenails with clippers after you wash and dry your feet. Trim the toenails straight across and smooth them with an emery board or nail file. DO NOT cut into the corners of the nail or rip off hangnails. If you’re nails are thick or yellowed, D NOT cut your own nails, have a foot doctor trim them.

Wear Shoes and Socks at All Times

Wear shoes and socks at all times. Do not walk barefoot, not even indoors. It is extremely easy to step on something and hurt your feet. Always wear seamless socks, stockings, and nylons with your shoes to help avoid the possibility of blisters and sores developing. Be sure to choose seamless socks that are made of materials that wick moisture away from your feet and absorb shock and shear. Socks made of these materials help keep your feet dry. Always check the insides of your shoes before putting them on. Make sure the lining is smooth and there are no foreign objects in the shoe, such as pebbles. Wear shoes that fit will and protect your feet.

Protect Your Feet from Hot and Cold

Always wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Put sunscreen on the tops of your feet for protection from the sun. Keep your feet away from radiators or open fires. DO NOT use hot water bottle or heating pads on your feet. If your feet are cold, wear seamless socks at night. Lined boots are good to keep your feet warm in the winter. Choose socks carefully. DO NOT wear socks with seams or bumpy areas. Choose padded socks to protect your feet and make walking more comfortable. In cold weather, check your feet often to keep your feet warm avoid frostbite.

Keep the Blood Flowing to Your Feet

Put your feet up when you are sitting. Wiggle your toes for 5 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day. Move your ankles up and down and in and out to improve blood flow in your feet and legs.

  • DO NOT cross your legs for long periods of time.
  • DO NOT wear tight socks, elastic, or rubber bands, or garters around your legs.
  • DO NOT wear restrictive footwear or foot products. Foot products that can cut off circulation to the feet, such as products with elastic, should not be worn by diabetics.
  • DO NOT smoke. Smoking reduces blood flow to your feet.
  • If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, work with your health care team to lower it.

Be More Active

Ask your doctor to plan an exercise program that is right for you. Walking, dancing, swimming, and bicycling are good forms of exercise that are easy on the feet. Avoid all activities that are hard on the feet, such as running and jumping.

Always include a short warm-up or cool-down period. Wear protective walking or athletic shoes that fit well and offer good support.

Communicate with Your Doctor

Ask your doctor to check the sense of feeling and pulses in your feet at least once a year. Ask your doctor to tell you immediately if you have serious foot problems.

Ask your doctor for proper footcare tips. Ask your doctor for the name of your local podiatrist.

Rx Form for Therapeutic Footwear

Download the therapeutic footwear form »

Schedule an appointment to get fitted for diabetic shoes and orthotics.