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Why Do I Have Foot Pain When I Wear My Summer Flip-Flops/Sandals?

Finally it is summertime and warm enough to wear my array of flip-flops and sandals! Ah, the Sun, the fun and the rays but, why do my darned feet hurt so bad? In reality, flip-flops and sandals offer nothing in the way of foot support. They offer no arch support, heel cushioning or shock absorption. In fact if you look at them, most are just a flat piece of sponge with some flimsy straps to keep them attached to your feet. If you’ve invested in a higher in sandal (Teva, Chaco, Keen, Salomen, Reef, etc.), they still might not be giving you the necessary stability you need.

Wearing flip-flops and sandals forces the wearer to scrunch his or her toes to grip the device at the wrong time in the gait cycle. This action shortens the natural stride and forces the foot, hip, and knee muscles to work harder, which can result in other muscles shutting down. For example, hammer toes, a condition in which the toes are bent in a claw-like position, are the result of years of compensation from the small foot muscles. The lack of arch support in most flip-flops and sandals can cause for magnify conditions such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, metatarsalgia and other maladies up the kinetic chain (ankle, shin, knee, hip and even the low back).

Dr. Joel Brooke, DPM, podiatrists on the medical staff of Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano states, “When wearing your summer flip-flops or sandals, the first sign is usually a sharp or slight burning sensation which one typically ‘blows-off.’ Advancing, it can turn into a dull, aching, fatigue-like pain which can eventually radiate up your leg affecting all of the tissues and joints of your leg.”

He continues, “…a flip-flop or a sandal which is well constructed by medical practitioner, that provides good arch support, good cushion and shock absorption in the forefoot, can prevent or even mitigate the above problems.”

The Foot Mechanic™ is the only company who can provide you with a truly “movement-based” orthotic flip-flop or sandal. For more information, please click on the following link to learn more about The Foot Mechanic’s™ array of custom flip-flop and sandal options: The Foot Mechanic/flip-flop and sandals.

Dr. Brett Purdom, DPT, ATC, CSCS
TheFootMechanic.com

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When Should I Replace my Orthotics?

When should you replace your orthotics? Not to answer a question with a question but, why do you think they need replacing? The Foot Mechanic’s™ orthotics are milled out of a highly durable sheet of polypropylene. I jokingly tell our clients that, “they will find your orthotics in a landfill long past when we are gone!” The reason I say this is because the orthotic itself, meaning the polypropylene shell, will not lose its integrity. However, if it is only a matter of the top-cover breaking down, this is a very easy fix. We would need to take your orthotics in and simply replace that top cover.

If it is a function of the bottom wearing down, this can alter the biomechanical function of your orthotics. The question then becomes “why” is this occurring? More so, if you are experiencing a recurrence of your original symptoms or experiencing different areas of pain, it might be time for a reevaluation.

Typically, The Foot Mechanic™ advocates its’ clients be re-evaluated about every three years. This is not because the orthotic will break down, but rather your feet will change over time. Although you might have worn orthotics religiously, your foot structure and function will continue to break down as a function of time, pressure and volume of every step you have taken over that time span. The Foot Mechanic™ saves all of your evaluation data in a database so we may compare your old data to that which we obtain during your re-evaluation. If there is a significant enough difference, The Foot Mechanic™ will make you a replacement set(s) of orthotics at a “returning client” discount.

Dr. Brett Purdom, DPT, ATC, CSCS
The Foot Mechanic™
 www.thefootmechanic.com

Getting Back Into Shape Post Baby Could Be Causing Unexpected Pain And Fatique

Your shoes are laced, the baby is in the in the new running stroller and you are finally ready for your first walk/jog in an attempt to shed your extra baby weight. Ahh, how refreshing! Then, the next day it hits you: It may be foot pain, knee pain, hip pain, or back pain (or all of the previous) which causes an extra 15-30 minutes for you to get loosened up in order to face the world. It is easy to chalk this up to “being out of shape.” However, the old adage, “No Pain, No Gain” does not apply here. In fact, muscle soreness should abate within 48 hours after exercise. If it does not or worsens as you continue to exercise, you may be falling victim to a hormone called “relaxin.” Relaxin is a placental hormone which is released by a woman’s body in preparation for child birth. It is absolutely necessary as it causes ligamentous, muscle and tendon laxity which opens up the birth canal. If it were not for this hormone, the birth canal’s size would not accommodate the passage of the baby’s head during delivery. The underlying problem of relaxin is it is delivered through the blood as the fetus grows all the way through parturition (child birthing). So, besides creating space for the baby, it also softens the ligaments and tendons throughout all of the body’s weight-bearing joints. When looking exclusively at the foot, there are 26 bones and 106 ligaments which provide the foot with its arch structures and shock absorbing functions. As relaxin softens these 106 ligaments, it is not uncommon for women to complain that their shoe size has increased or their foot has “widened.” Additionally, complaints that their body and joints “don’t feel right,” or “are out-of-alignment” are common. It is important to address these aches and pains earlier, rather than later. The general rule in exercise physiology is it will take twice as long for these types of injuries to heal as from the time you first experience symptoms until the time you first start your intervention. If you have excessive arch breakdown (a.k.a pronation), a treadmill evaluation (biomechanical exam) can be done by The Foot Mechanic™. In many cases, an orthotic can be the answer. An orthotic is the device that replaces the liner in the bottom of your shoe and re-creates your normal arch thereby returning your foot back to its “normal” mechanics. When choosing  the proper orthotic, it is  important to avoid over-the-counter (a.k.a. retail) products as they are not custom to your feet.

Dr. Brett Purdom, DPT, ATC, CSCS
The Foot Mechanic™
 www.thefootmechanic.com

 

The most common overuse injuries in running and how to protect yourself from them: Plantar Fascitis

As you begin ramping up your running in preparation for an upcoming race, triathlon or just general fitness, it is also the season for overuse injuries. One such injury is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis results from the breakdown of your arch which stretches a tissue called the Long Plantar Ligament. Unfortunately, this ligament is not elastic and therefore does not stretch. Rather, this tissue undergoes micro-tearing. "Bow-string affect" causing Plantar FasciitisSymptoms can reveal themselves as general arch pain, bottom of the heel pain or a gradual achiness which does not go away. If the first step out of bed in the morning elicits extreme pain, you more than likely have plantar fasciitis. Regardless, it is extremely important that you address these symptoms sooner, rather than later. The general rule: it will take twice as long for these types of injuries to heal as from the time you first experience symptoms until the time you first start your treatment. Rest, ice, gentle stretching and a break from training are your early treatment interventions. If, in your opinion, you have excessive arch breakdown (a.k.a pronation), a treadmill evaluation (biomechanical exam) can be done by The Foot Mechanic™. In many cases, an orthotic can be the answer. An orthotic is a device that replaces the liner in the bottom of your shoe and re-creates your arch, thereby returning your foot back to its “normal” mechanics. When choosing the proper orthotic, it is important to avoid over-the-counter (a.ka. retail) products as they are not custom to your feet.

Dr. Brett Purdom, DPT, ATC, CSCS
The Foot Mechanic™
www.thefootmechanic.com

Plantar Fasciitis

Many people have heard the term plantar fasciitis yet are unsure as to what it really means. Simply put, the plantar fascia is the tissue on the bottom of the foot which connects your heel bone to the very front of the t toe bones and their associated tissues.The best analogy would be to take a bow and arrow and place the bow with the string side down on the ground. The bow would represent the arch of your foot while the string would represent your plantar fascia. Now imagine if you push the bow down, the ends would elongate and the string would stretch. Such is the relationship of the arch of your foot and the plantar fascia. However, as the string of a bow is very elastic, the plantar fascia is quite the opposite. It is a very stiff ligamentous-type tissue which resists all stretching. The result of the arch flattening with every step you take is continued stretching of the plantar fascia Over time, this “micro-trauma” to the plantar fascia results in inflammation, pain, tissue tearing and potential rupture.

                                                           – Dr. Brett Purdom, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS
                                                              The Foot Mechanic™

to read more about this topic or other of Dr. Purdom’s blogs, visit his website at http://www.thefootmechanic.com