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Pronation Problems 

For individuals over the age of 2 years old, walking is not something given much thought (unless things are going terribly wrong!). This means the odds are strong you’re unfamiliar with a particular biomechanical process your foot goes through with every step called pronation. This biomechanical motion is needed so your feet can handle stressful forces. Sometimes, though, problems arise when the pronation is performed in an abnormal fashion.

Pronation ProblemsYour feet endure a tremendous amount of force every time you walk throughout the day. The force of impact on the landing foot when you take a step is equal to roughly 1 ½ times your bodyweight (and that jumps up to 3 to 4 times when running!). If you take the time to do the math, that means your feet have a total amount of several hundred tons of force placed upon them every day! 

To help accommodate this amount of daily force, your feet utilize a rolling motion known as pronation that starts when the heel strikes the ground. The foot continues to roll—as the foot arches flatten—throughout the ground portion of the step, all the way through the final push from the toes. This biomechanical process helps distribute forces in an equitable manner.

That being said, there are variances in how everyone pronates, and this can be the source of problems.

Your individual arch style plays a major role in how you pronate. Basically, if you have a moderate, “normal” arch, your pronation style is also moderate. Individuals with low arches have a tendency to overpronate and those with high arches do the opposite (supinate).

  • Overpronation. When the rolling motion is excessive, it is said that an individual overpronates. If this is your pronation style, you can observe heavy wear on the inside edges of your shoes, especially in the front and back areas.
  • Supination. Whereas someone who overpronates has an excessive rolling motion, the opposite is true for one who supinates. This means that the feet roll less than the optimal fifteen percent we find in a neutral style. The wear pattern on your shoes will be greatest on the outside edges.

Common issues experienced by those who overpronate include Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, calluses, and bunions. This pronation style also can lead to pain in the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and even the back. When the foot rotates excessively, it forces the other lower body parts to move in an unnatural fashion.

Individuals who supinate often experience plantar fasciitis, iliotibial band syndrome, and Achilles tendinitis. Also, due to the increased amount of force placed upon bones in the feet and ankles, stress fractures are more common for those with this biomechanical abnormality.

No matter if you overpronate, supinate, or pronate normally, problems can (and do!) develop in lower limbs. If you develop a foot or ankle problem, contact Foot & Ankle Clinic of the Virginias so we can create a treatment plan to effectively resolve it for you. Call us today at (800) 456-8637 to request your appointment!

Custom Orthotics vs. Insoles 

One of the top options we have to help our patients overcome painful conditions is orthotic therapy. This particular treatment uses versatile devices to address many different types of lower limb issues. Given that orthotics are inserted into the patient’s shoes, it is a common misconception that custom orthotics and insoles (or “inserts”) are the same thing. This is simply not the case, though!

In this context, insoles refer to non-prescription inserts purchased at retail stores or over-the-counter at pharmacies. These shoe inserts may provide extra cushioning or arch support, but are not intended to actually treat foot and ankle problems. Custom Orthotics Versus Insoles

Conversely, orthotics are prescribed medical devices customized for a specific patient and used to correct biomechanical issues and provide additional support for the entire foot. These medical devices are crafted to precisely match the contours of a patient’s unique foot. And are used to treat a wide range of medical issues as diverse as bunions, cavus foot (high, rigid foot arches), hammertoe, metatarsalgia (forefoot pain), and plantar fasciitis.

In addition to medical conditions, orthotics can be used to regulate pronation patterns. Pronation is a completely natural, biomechanical process feet go through with every step. Essentially, this process takes place during the ground portion of each step and consists of an inwards rolling motion. For a foot with a normal arch height, this inwards roll is about fifteen percent. An important purpose of pronation is to properly distribute the incredible amount of force placed upon the landing foot (roughly one-and-a-half times your bodyweight when walking and as much as three times when running!).

Not everyone’s pronation pattern is the same, and this can be dependent upon unique foot structure. For some people—particularly those who have flat feet—pronation is excessive (overpronation). For others—mostly those who have excessively high foot arches—the pronation is not as much as it should be (supination).

Overpronation and supination are problematic because they result in an unequitable distribution of force loads. When gait issues like these are present, certain areas in the lower limbs end up enduring more pressure than what they are intended to absorb, and that can cause problems.

Whereas insoles bought over-the-counter may be able to provide some additional support, they are not customized to take into account your actual arch height and pronation pattern. Custom orthotics, however, can be prescribed to work with your unique foot structure and address any gait abnormalities.

Generally speaking, orthotics are either functional or accommodative. If we need to treat your pronation problems, we are going to use functional orthotics constructed from sturdy materials that will restrict abnormal motion. Accommodative orthotic devices are softer and can be prescribed to provide additional cushioning for toes, feet, or ankles.

Custom orthotics might be part of the treatment plan we create to address foot pain or restore functionality, but we have many other nonsurgical options as well. If you are suffering from foot or ankle pain, contact Foot & Ankle Clinic of the Virginias. Our team is highly-skilled and experienced and we will work to create a treatment plan to take away your pain. Give us a call at (800) 456-8637 and request your appointment today!

Conditions Orthotics Treat

Orthotics are medical devices we can prescribe to address a range of foot and ankle problems that might be plaguing you or one of your loved ones. These devices are versatile and custom-fitted to work with your unique foot structure and gait. (Sure, you may have five toes, a foot, and an ankle just like most people, but all feet have unique variances!)

Custom orthotics—foot supports that fit inside your regular shoes—are often prescribed in response to foot or leg pain that occurs when you are active.  Here are a few typical conditions resulting from physical activity that may benefit from the use of these medical devices: Benefit from Orthotics

  • Heel pain caused by flat feet
  • Leg pain from shin splints
  • Arch pain from excessively high arches (cavus foot)
  • Forefoot pain (metatarsalgia)
  • Painful runner’s knee from the stress caused by overpronation

When you experience pain or discomfort in your knees from running, but aren’t sure where it is coming from, take a look at your feet. If you have either high arches or flat feet, and a majority of people have one or the other, the condition is going to affect your biomechanics when you run.

A pair of custom orthotics will help correct your biomechanics so that your feet go through a proper rolling motion with every step you take. In turn, this will have a positive impact on the rest of your body, including your knees, hips, and lower back.

In addition to correcting high or low arches, orthotics are used to treat a variety of other ailments, as well. If you have Morton’s neuroma, plantar fasciitis, or bunions, we can potentially treat these other conditions with the use of orthotics. Special orthotics are sometimes used to correct conditions wherein one leg is shorter than the other.

One of the major concerns with diabetic foot care is protecting the body against dangerous ulcers. We may prescribe orthotic devices—along with diabetic shoes—to offload pressure from specific areas, which can reduce the risk of ulceration.

Now, before you go out and purchase a pair of inserts over the counter, it is important to note that they are not customized to your specific body. A better move is coming in and seeing us at Foot & Ankle Clinic of the Virginias and having your feet measured for a custom fit.

It takes an expert to evaluate your feet and legs, your gait problems, and whether or not your particular condition will benefit from orthotics. You’ll find that expertise at Foot & Ankle Clinic of the Virginias. Call us toll-free today at (800) 456-8637 and we’ll help you find out whether these inserts can help your foot pain. We’re here to help you enjoy your life without pain by helping provide a sound and stable foundation for all your movement.

Why You Should Never Ignore a Foot Wound 

Foot and ankle issues have quite the range when it comes to degree of severity. Some issues are easily treated, whereas others can ultimately become life-threatening. On the “highly-severe” side of the scale is the matter of diabetic foot ulcers. As you understand what happens with untreated foot wounds, it’s very easy to see why you are best off doing everything you can to avoid them.

If you don’t have diabetes, it is important to treat foot wounds, and not let them fester. Unless you have numbness caused by nondiabetic neuropathy (nerve damage), you will likely be able to tell when the wound has developed – that is, after all, one of the important responsibilities of your peripheral nerves.Dangers of Diabetic Foot Ulcers

In the event you cut or scrape a foot, it’s a good idea to clean the wound carefully, and then apply antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. As long as your body’s immune system isn’t compromised, your white blood cells will do everything they can to fight off any microorganisms (bacterial, fungal, or viral) that try to invade your body.

Major problems can develop, though, if you are diabetic and ignore a foot wound. Ignoring the wound doesn’t even have to be intentional; even if you aren’t aware of the problem, letting it go unaddressed can lead to a critical situation. Specifically, the continued breakdown of a wound can potentially result in a gangrenous condition.

When it comes to treating gangrene, the first thing you need to keep in mind is the fact there isn’t treatment for tissue that is already dead. For this reason, you should take every step possible to prevent it from happening to you in the first place. When preventative measures haven’t been taken and the problem already exists, it is absolutely crucial that steps are taken immediately to prevent the condition from progressing.

Treatment typically relies on a combination of surgery, antibiotics, and sometimes hyperbaric oxygen therapy to remove dead tissue and fight off any infection. In addition to removing dead tissue—this can include amputation in severe cases—surgical procedures may be used to repair diseased or damaged blood vessels. The intent of this is to promote blood flow to the affected area and save as much of the healthy tissue as possible, while also allowing for the possibility of a skin graft over the affected area.

Here at Foot & Ankle Clinic of the Virginias, we would rather you not have an untreated wound that leads to gangrene, and will gladly help you take steps to prevent this from happening in the first place.

Properly managing your diabetes can be instrumental in reducing your risk, as can giving up smoking and the use of all tobacco products. Losing weight and taking care of open wounds are other measures that will certainly help. Come see us at one of our seven offices and you will have an experienced, compassionate podiatrist assist you in creating a diabetic foot care plan to keep you safe. Call us toll-free today at (800) 456-8637 to request your appointment!

Orthotics are an Investment in Your Health

Our staff at Foot & Ankle Clinic of the Virginias wants you to be able to do your favorite activities, without having to endure foot or ankle pain. We probably aren’t going out too far on a limb to assume that you want this too! Fortunately, our medical specialists can provide care to resolve many problems that arise, and then offer solutions to prevent them from recurring. Blog Graphic TDonatelli 2017 08 01 Orthotics Are An Investment In Your Health

One valuable tool in both treating and preventing various medical issues for you may be a pair of custom orthotics. Before we go much further, it’s worth noting that we don’t prescribe orthotics to everyone who comes to see us. When we do, however, these devices can be quite effective. As a matter of fact, you can think about orthotics as being an investment in your health.

Many patients wonder if orthotics are really all that different than the shoe inserts sold at stores and nationwide pharmacy chains. Whereas off-the-shelf inserts may provide a certain degree of additional arch support and extra cushioning, they are not intended to actually correct medical conditions.

When we prescribe orthotic devices, they are used to address a problem you are experiencing. Further, these are customized to work with your unique foot structure and gait pattern, something a mass-produced insert is unable to do.

We understand that the upfront cost of orthotics, when compared to store-bought inserts, might seem like a lot, but this is where “investment” comes into play. Orthotics can address issues that, left untreated, will become bigger problems later. Offloading pressure on the front of the foot, for example, can prevent a bunion from worsening to the point that surgery becomes a necessary option. So not only will it cost you less in the long run (by not needing surgery), but there’s also the simple fact you are saving yourself from a lot of pain. Quality of life should always be a consideration, and orthotics can allow you to perform your favorite activities.

In addition to bunions, we can use orthotics to treat a variety of other ailments. If you have foot arches that are either too low or too high, are experiencing pain in the ball of your foot (metatarsalgia), or suffer from heel pain (plantar fasciitis), we may recommend orthotics as part of your treatment. If you are diabetic, we may prescribe orthotic devices to ensure equitable distribution of pressure (to prevent dangerous foot ulcers).

If you would like more information—or are experiencing foot pain and need to schedule an appointment for any of our seven offices—call us at (800) 456-8637 today. 

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