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Posts for tag: shoe inserts

Limb length discrepancy. You may think you know what it is just based on the name, but there is more to this condition than meets the eye. Would it surprise you if I said up to 95% of the population may have a difference in leg length?1 For most people, the difference is not enough to interfere with healthy motion and so it goes unnoticed. For others, there are simple podiatric solutions for getting you back on even ground.

 

The two major types of LLD are structural and functional. Structural LLD occurs when there is a measurable difference in the corresponding bones of each leg, either femur, fibula, or tibia, creating an uneven gait. Patients may be born with this structural abnormality or it could result from bone trauma or hip and knee replacements.

 

READ MORE: Joint Replacements and LLD

 

 

Functional LLD occurs when the bones are of equal length, but a muscular or functional imbalance in the feet, legs, hips, or back causes an apparent difference in length. Often this presents alongside structural LLD cases. Differences in functional length can also occur from an unnatural curvature of the spine pulling one hip higher than the other.

 

Humans aren’t made symmetrically, but differences of 5mm or less (about 1/4 of an inch) rarely bother people enough to seek treatment and many of them will not notice at all. Differences over 5mm can cause uneven gait, making it difficult to exercise. Foot complications such as tendonitis and plantar fasciitis may develop from the strain of improper function. All of this will result in leg, hip, and back pain.

 

Luckily, most cases of LLD can be solved with shoe lifts, either placed in the shoe under the heel or mounted directly to the shoe sole. Your degree of discrepancy will determine which solution is right for you. There’s no reason to live life with the pain of LLD. Talk to your podiatrist today to keep you healthy and active.

During the month of August, we looked at different types of insoles and orthotics. The company Digitsole has been looking at insoles and orthotics for years and they’ve been doing it in a very different way. While pedometers and fitbits can tell you your heart rate and keep track of your pace and stats, they are missing a key element of running that every podiatrist worries about: your stride.

The Digitsole Run Profiler is an insert for your running shoe that packs big technology and function. A thin, rechargeable lithium polymer battery powers the insole and a single charge can last for up to ten hours of activity. It features an anti-bacterial material, arch support, and specific flex zones designed to move better with your foot.

The technology inside the Run Profiler is even more impressive. There are tons of running apps out there that can measure distance, steps, elevation, pace, splits, etc. But this is the first of its kind that can actually interpret what your feet would say to you if they could talk. First, the Run Profiler tracks and measures the 3D movement of your foot in real time. Next the Run Profiler analyzes your gait to show you how to expend less energy with each stride and make your running more efficient. Run Profiler can also detect fatigue and warn you so that you can reduce your risk of injury. But how do we get all this data? The insole features built in Bluetooth that connects to the app on your phone and a coach gives you this advice as it is happening.

The technology packed into this small space is incredible and it could change the way we run and protect us from injury. Currently available only in Europe, the insole retails for 99 Euros (about $112 USD). I don’t know about you, but that seems like a small investment to make for the health of my feet.

For more information on the Digitsole Run Profiler, visit http://www.digitsole.com/run-profiler/

Throughout August, we have talked about different types of orthotics, but let’s concentrate today just a little on over-the-counter insoles, which are so readily available you can pick them up with your weekly groceries. First of all, it’s important to know that there is a subtle difference between insoles and orthotics. Orthotics are generally made of a stiff material and are designed to support the foot. Insoles are designed primarily for cushion and offer limited support while adding comfort instead. Over-the-counter insoles are often advertized as orthotics when they really aren’t. This is what leads to a lot of confusion and debate within the medical community.

On one side of the debate, the affordability and ease associated with acquiring OTC insoles makes them a great choice for those who want support or cushion, but can’t dig very far into their wallet. On the other side of the debate, many people are being taken in by the kiosk signs advertizing a “custom fit”, which is not at all custom. Buying something OTC that claims to be custom is a game of chance. Sometimes the OTC insole will provide exactly what you need and sometimes it may end up doing more damage than good.

Overall, Podiatrists will be on both sides of the fence. We at the FAAWC carry many styles of OTC insoles and can help you get the closest fit to your needs if custom orthotics aren’t necessary. We do however encourage you to book a visit with us for an evaluation before you head to your local superstore to pick up a pair. Just as we talked about accommodative versus functional orthotics, there are so many factors to consider when choosing an OTC insole that having your podiatrist there to lead you can be invaluable. At the very least, talk to your podiatrist about your needs and make the best choice for you. Just remember, knowledge is power and the more you know about your feet and what they need, the better your decision making power will be.

Having a joint replacement is a very big deal and deciding to pull the trigger is not a decision to take lightly. Each year over 600,000 knee replacements and 350,000 hip replacements are performed in the United States. The majority of these procedures are wildly successful and give new life back to people who were struggling with chronic pain and limited mobility. However, many people don’t know that a joint replacement may leave you with uneven limbs. In fact, uneven limb length accounted for almost 5% of all complications from these surgeries.

A difference in limb length, whether caused by complications from surgery or from simple genetics, of merely 5mm (1/4”) can cause serious complications for everyday life including back pain and lower extremity pain. In fact, there are so many possible complications from unequal limb length that they are hard to classify and usually overlooked as a potential cause. If you have Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD) then easy relief is possible to get from your local podiatrist.

The Foot and Ankle Wellness Center offers full or partial shoe lifts to help alleviate symptoms from LLD. First, you should come in for a consultation with your podiatrist. They will take the time to measure your legs accurately. After that, you can make the decision together as to what type of lift is best for your situation. In most cases, just bring in the shoes you wear the most and our experienced technicians will add the lift directly to them. Don’t live with LLD! Make your life better and alleviate your symptoms with a simple foot lift. Call and make your appointment today! 

Whenever we talk about heel height we always seem to talk about women. But let’s take some time to concentrate on men instead. Men’s heel heights are not a normal topic of conversation. Most men don’t even think about the height of their shoes when they buy them, but just like women’s shoes, men’s shoes come in a variety of heights too.

Many men complain about arch pain, heel pain, and other common conditions. One possible cause of these conditions could be that their shoes are too flat. Many athletic shoes and popular casual shoes like converse are completely flat and offer no support for the heel. This can be a major problem and contribute to many foot ailments. I would imagine that most men don’t even think about the height of their shoes. And I’m sure that quite a few men don’t even know the proper terms for the different styles of shoes offered to them.

If you want something with a very low heel that will give some support to the heel, you should go for a loafer or moccasin type shoe. These shoes are generally worn casually, but can be worn with a business suit if they match appropriately. The moccasin will be the flatter of the two and the heel is not truly noticeable. For a loafer, there will be a distinct heel, albeit a very short one. These styles provide minimum support, but can still be more beneficial than a flat running shoe.

 

For styles with distinct heels of .5” to 1.5”, you want to aim for an oxford type shoe.  There are many sub-styles of oxford shoes, but the average oxford will have about a 1” heel height with a good cushioned footbed and lots of support. Dress boots will also have a short to medium heel and provide good support.

And then of course we have elevator shoes. Every man on the shorter side of average has probably looked into elevator shoes at least once. These shoes can add 2” to 5” to a man’s height almost invisibly. True elevator shoes are built specifically for the purpose of lifting the heel and generally add a small platform under the sole to compensate for the additional heel height. Heel lifts are also available as an option and can be placed in almost any shoe to raise the height. In addition to making men appear taller, these lifts can be very helpful in adding much needed support to an otherwise heel-less shoe. However, you must make sure that the rest of your foot is supported properly. Heel lifts will put additional pressure on the balls and toes of the foot, which many men are not used to. A full sized insert that provides cushioning is ideal.

Hopefully by now, any man reading this has at least looked down at the shoes he is wearing to start contemplating his heel height. If not, take a short look in your closet when you get home and see if you are getting the support you need. Talk to your podiatrist about your options and the best height for your foot type. We are always here to help.