May Articles 2013

Flip-flops and Feet

Flip-flops are some of the most comfortable and convenient kinds of shoes there are. They let you freely move your toes, aren't constrictive, and allow your feet to breathe. They can also be worn with almost any attire, and match most clothing styles. Unfortunately, wearing flip-flops can also be very dangerous. These sorts of shoes can harm your feet in more ways than you may think.

Although they are comfortable, constant flip-flop use can lead to problems with the ankles, hips, and lower back if worn on a long-term basis. This is because people walk much differently in flip-flops than they do in other shoes like sneakers. Their natural gait is being forced to change, throwing the body off and causing stress to different parts of the body. Flip-flops can also lead to problems in the arches of your feet, and pain in the balls of your feet. There is little to no support provided by flip-flops, so some parts of the foot undergo much more stress than normal.

Flip-flops can cause more obvious short term problems as well, like ankle sprains and frequent blisters. Because these shoes are relatively weak and can easily bend while walking, wearers are far more likely to trip and hurt their ankles. Flip-flops can also cause bad blisters, because their straps are constantly rubbing up against the foot. Additionally, someone wearing flip-flops is more prone to infections, due to the openness of the shoe. It very easy to scrape and cut your foot when wearing flip-flops because they offer little protection for the foot. If left untreated and uncovered, these same cuts can get dirtied and infected as flip-flops wearers walk around.

In order to avoid this, make sure to get a pair of flip-flops that will keep your feet as safe as possible. When looking to purchase flip-flops, you should check that the actual sole is sturdy and firm. The flip-flops are too floppy if the sole droops and wiggles a great deal when lifted off the floor. These will offer very little support, and may lead to other problems like tripping.

If you only purchase flip-flops made of high quality, sturdy materials, you won't have to worry about this. Although they will cost a little more, flip-flops made of these materials will last longer, and will protect your feet more so than a cheap pair of flip-flops. Also, make sure to buy from a reliable brand name. You can often find relatively cheap shoes from these companies, and once you have bought them you know they will last.

You can still wear your favorite flip-flops, just avoid wearing them every day of the week, or for extended periods of time. It is also recommended that you replace flip-flops every three or four months, in order to be sure that they provide maximum protection to your feet.


Foot Rehabilitation for Athletes

It is hard to think of a sport in which the ankle and foot are completely safe from injury. Even simple activities such as darts and pool can cause injuries to the foot. When an athlete does suffer from a foot injury, he needs to find a way to get back on his feet right away. Immediate results may be desired, but they are not always possible.

Severe injuries require special attention. When the foot or the ankle gets injured, muscles surrounding the bones can weaken or atrophy through disuse. While the bones will heal on their own, it takes a more concentrated effort for an athlete to regain full use of his feet and ankles. A doctor may recommend that a person go through a course of physical therapy. The course of physical therapy treatment uses simple, repetitive isometric exercises. The use of the exercises will cause the body to rebuild the muscles and tendons in the area over time and restore the full range of movement.

When selecting ankle and foot rehabilitation services, an athlete needs to find a licensed sports therapist (other physical therapists work with more generalized conditions, and while these kinds of physical therapists are dedicated to their job, they do not necessarily understand the special demands of the athlete). A good sports therapist will take their time with a patient, and make sure that he or she understands the problem and the options available for treatment.As long as the doctor expects a person to return to the sport which he enjoys, the sports physical therapist will recommend the exact exercises a person needs to get back in the game.

Although the professional athlete needs a trained sports therapist, an amateur athlete or the weekend player can benefit from foot rehabilitation services for athletes as well. An ankle or foot injury does not have to cause a person go give up the game he loves entirely, so long as he or she seeks out a sports therapist.

Physical therapy can not always perfectly heal certain injuries, but it will more quickly and effectively help the afflicted person get better.  Less severe injuries may only take a person out of his favorite sport just for a little while, if he or she sees a sports therapist. As long as the doctor the athlete sees thinks a full recovery is possible, it is worth it to check out ankle and foot rehabilitation services.


Facts to Know About Achilles Tendon Injuries

The Achilles tendon, the strongest tendon in the human body, connects the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. This tendon facilitates all of our movement, from walking to running and everything in between. Injuries to the Achilles tendon are not only incredible painful, but extremely debilitating because of our large reliance on this one tendon. Injuries to the Achilles tendon prevent walking and running, and even standing up straight can be hard to do.

Achilles tendonitis and ruptures of the Achilles tendon are the two most common problems affecting this area. Tendonitis is the milder of the two injuries, despite still being a serious problem. It usually involves chronic symptoms such as inflammation, dull to severe pain, increased blood flow to the tendon, a thickening of the tendon, and slower movement time. Tendonitis can be diagnosed with an MRI and is very treatable.

Achilles ruptures are a more complicated injury and by far the most painful of the two. These occur when the tendon completely snaps or rips, causing a rupture. You will immediately know when you’ve experienced an Achilles tendon rupture because the effects are incredibly painful and devastating as soon as the injury occurs. It will leave you completely immobile and often times, surgery needs to be done to fix it. On top of this, recovery time can take up to a year depending on the severity.

While an injury is not completely preventable, there are some preventative measures you can take to reduce the chance of one occurring. Stretching out the tendon become exercise or physical activity is the most important tip. You can also help strengthen the tendon itself with a variety of exercises including calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses.

Despite these tips, many athletes continue to suffer Achilles tendon injuries, often due to overuse or excessive activity. Properly stretching and strength training this area is key, but it is also important to wear the right shoes, ones that fit correctly and provide ankle support. It is also recommended by many athletes and professionals to work out on a cushioned mat to relieve the pressure on the heels and ankles. A healthy diet also goes a long way to having a strong and healthy Achilles tendon.

Because of the severity of the injury, and the large amount of dependence we have on the Achilles tendon, if you are experiencing any sort of injury in this area, seek professional medical help immediately. Further damage to this area can be crippling and debilitating, so seeking help immediately is of the utmost importance.


Orthoses

Orthoses are devices used to correct physical impairments that are caused by scoliosis, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, or foot deformities. Orthopedic devices control, guide, limit or immobilize body segments. They assist in movement; reduce weight bearing forces and aid in rehabilitation from fractures. They also correct the shape and function of the body.

Orthoses include ankle foot orthosis, thoracolumbosacral orthosis, knee orthosis and wrist hand orthosis. When orthoses were first made, plaster of Paris molds were made of the patient and then materials like plastic, elastic, metal or a combination of those materials. Now braces for participants in contact sports are made from neoprene to allow movement but reduce the range of movement.

Different Types of Braces

The Boston Brace
       -Used to assist patients who suffer from scoliosis.
The Charleston Bending Brace
       -This is worn only at night, the design of this brace is built to correct the curve of the scoliosis.
The Milwaukee Brace
        -Used for mid-back curves. This brace consists of a plastic pelvic girdle and a neck ring. This brace is rarely used but patients with a curve very high in the spine can benefit from wearing it.
       -A knee orthosis is a brace worn to given the knee strength. Ostero arthritiscan cause significant pain, knee braces allow a person to remain active.

Orthoses have changed over the decades as new material and technology have advanced. The materials used for the actual orthotic devices have evolved and help to stop pain and give patients the ability to move pain free.

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