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Foot Health Blog

Find expert articles from physical therapists and podiatrists to help understand, diagnose, and treat different foot health issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, flat feet, and more.
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The risks of self-diagnosis
Foot painThe Risks of Self-DiagnosisWhat do you do when your foot hurts? Here's something you should never do: Trust Dr. Google. Read on to learn more about the risks of self-diagnosis for foot conditions. Why Is Self-Diagnosis So Popular? One evening, you notice your foot has been hurting lately. At the end of each day, it's swollen, tender, and painful to walk on. What would be your first course of action? For many of us, it's Dr. Google. You know the drill - you unlock your phone and use an online symptom checker to find out what happened. Maybe you type in "arch pain" and "swelling" in the search box. And you get a diagnosis. Now that you know exactly what's wrong with you, you can meet with a doctor and tell him what tests to run and what meds to prescribe. You save time, money, and effort. Simple, right? Perhaps not. How Accurate Is Self-Diagnosis? Self-diagnosis may seem straightforward, but it's often incorrect. In fact, research published in the Medical Journal of Australia found that self-diagnosis tools and symptom checkers are only accurate about 36% of the time. With no regulation or control over the content in those websites, you're more likely to get a wrong diagnosis than a right one. But that's only the beginning. Collecting inaccurate information about your injury puts you on a path to further damage. This was clearly shown in a study published in the European Spine Journal reviewing how MRIs affected people's course of treatment. The information or incorrect diagnosis leads to fear and anxiety. Patients are convinced they need to use specific treatments or take specific medication, as that's what they read online. However, these same treatments or drugs may worsen their injuries and even cause new damage. Rather than trust the expertise and knowledge of their doctor, they opt for unproven, even dangerous options. In many cases, these same patients will be forced to revisit the doctor's office soon - to treat the effect of those self-administered treatments they insisted on. Conclusion We all have that urge to trust ourselves (or the information we read) more than real professionals - but it's important to remember that doctors studied for many, many years to help us get better. Not only that, but they constantly keep studying, reading new research, and visiting professional conferences to keep themselves up-to-date. S,o next time your feet hurt, step in a FeetKit impression box and leave the diagnosis to our expert podiatrists. That may just be what makes all the difference.
Super shoes
Foot exercises Super Shoes: What Are They and How Do They Work?We've got an interesting one for you! This article will discuss the question of whether "super shoes," the hi-tech running shoes, can actually help you break speed records and stay healthier as you run. What Purpose Do Running Shoes Really Serve? Running is hard on your feet, and ill-fitted support can do even more harm. Just think of how much stress your feet go through when you run. Every time you cut corners or take longer strides with too much force, all that impact is transferred through the soles of your feet. A lot of people use running shoes to absorb shock and prevent damage. And it's true - running shoes have come a long way from their initial design. The first running shoes were made of rubber and leather and were created to protect the feet as you run. Fast forward to today, and many different shoe companies claim their hi-tech kicks can make you faster and help you stay healthier as you run. But, is this really true for everyone? Can Super Shoes Really Make You Run Faster? These unique shoes - often called "super shoes" - have a unique structure meant to help your feet perform better. A carbon fiber plate makes the middle part of the foot stiffer, thus helping people run better. A recent study found that 87% of participants performed better with a sturdy plate like that in their shoes! But, that's not all. The unique structure and stiffness levels in "super shoes" minimize your energy loss as you run, which means you're using that feedback from the ground to propel you forward. You're using less energy with each step, and your feet will push off better than ever before. For example, a study done by researchers Nigg & Stefanyshyn took a deeper look into this question. They gave 17 different runners shoes in varying degrees of stiffness. They found that the more stiff the shoe was, the faster the runners were! While that does sound like a great solution, it's hard to count on a shoe to give you that specific support you need. That's because each person has a different foot structure and running pattern. What works for one person might not work as well for another. There's actually no way to know for certain what type of support you need without the right equipment and professional knowledge. Effectiveness of Custom Orthotics for Runners Runners can't afford to ignore their foot health. That means looking for suitable materials and support to prevent injuries, speed up recovery time, and make you run faster. A great way to solve this is by using custom orthotics. They go into any shoe and give you the exact level of stiffness and energy return you need to break speed records without compromising your health. Plus, you'll be getting lots of added benefits, like moisture-wicking fabric and breathable EVA foam to keep your feet comfortable as you run. This combination of good shoes and custom orthotics is ideal for getting that edge you need and maximizing your performance when you train. And, the best part is that you can transfer custom orthotics like Upsteps between your athletic shoes to enjoy the various benefits of each without having to choose. Happy running!
Recovering from a foot injury?
Foot painExpert Tips for Faster Recovery From Foot InjuriesThere's a lot of waiting involved, and we know that can be frustrating. Use these golden tips from our expert podiatrists to rehabilitate your feet and keep them healthy! Tip 1. Alternate Hot & Cold Compresses If your foot is swollen or painful, alternating between icing and warming can help reduce swelling, numb pain, and keep away inflammation. Just be careful not to overdo it, as that could lead to frostbites or burns. To cool down, you can use an icepack, some ice cubes in a ziplock bag wrapped in a towel, or that bag of frozen baby carrots from the back of your freezer. To warm up, use a warm water bottle, a heating pad, or a microwavable pillow. Tip 2. Do (The Right Kind Of) Exercise Therapeutic exercises can help you with all sorts of foot and ankle injuries. There are a lot of exercises online, but if they're not suitable for your specific injury, they may actually induce more damage. Consult your doctor or physical therapist to find the most up-to-date methods for rehabilitating your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Tip 3. Get Support When your doctor says it's OK to start walking regularly again, wear supportive shoes to ensure your foot is stable and prevent repeated injuries. Athletic footwear is a great option - it's designed to hold feet steady and absorb shock. If sneakers aren't your thing, go for flat-soled shoes that feel snug (but not tight), have a thick enough sole, and don't wobble. Ready to try these tips & tricks? Tell us how it went!
Metatarsalgia: Diagnosis, Pain Relief, and Best Orthotics
Foot painMetatarsalgia: Diagnosis, Pain Relief, and Best OrthoticsThe metatarsals are the five long bones situated below each of the five toes and extending to your ankle. They make up the middle portion of the foot. The metatarsophalangeal joint is the attachment of the metatarsal bones to the phalanges (toes). What Is Metatarsalgia? Metatarsalgia is the pain in the first half of your foot, known as the ball of the foot or the forefoot. Can Metatarsalgia Go Away on Its Own? Metatarsalgia is a condition that needs to be treated as it is not self-healing. As such, it won't go away on its own without any conservative management. Common causes of metatarsalgia include: InflammationAge-related degenerative changesHigh impact activitiesUse of improper footwearUse of improper orthotics in playing certain sportsShort Achilles tendonOvertraining, leading to overuse injuriesHigh foot archesExcessive foot pronation (ankles rolling inward with medial arch drop)Stress fracturesProminent metatarsal head Aggravating factors for metatarsalgia can be any of the following: Inadequate balance between rest and activityAdded load on the metatarsophalangeal jointsIgnoring the initial pain levelsOverdoing certain activitiesNot following a healthcare practitioner's advice Suspending weight-bearing activities until pain subsides is essential in the recovery to avoid further increases in inflammation and pain. It generally takes about 6 to 8 weeks to improve post undergoing proper conservative treatment with physical therapy and orthotics. Best Treatments for Metatarsalgia Some of the best and most popular treatments for metatarsalgia include: Conservative treatment with physiotherapy This can include stretching and strengthening exercises to relax the muscles and lower the chance of reoccurrences. Electrotherapeutic modalities These can be ultrasounds or interferential therapy that can reduce pain in the acute stages. Icing and elevating the feet Doing so on the painful areas for 7- 10 mins three times a day in the initial stages could reduce pain and swelling. Self-massage This can be performed by gently moving the pad of your thumb in a circular motion on the painful areas for 5-7 minutes. Or, as an alternative, an ice massage can be utilized by rolling a frozen water bottle under your feet to help reduce pain and relax the intrinsic foot muscles. Using metatarsal orthotics Metatarsal pads are made from different materials such as rubber, silicone, or polyurethane. They help reduce the pressure under the painful metatarsal heads by spreading it to a larger area and improving the foot's function. As for the best metatarsal shoe inserts, Upstep insoles for metatarsalgia are highly recommended and beneficial in helping to reduce discomfort from metatarsalgia. Every case of metatarsalgia is unique due to the different underlying causes and individual foot biomechanics. Hence, Upstep's custom orthotics are specifically designed to meet your particular need and reduce the destructive forces that are the reason for the problem. They help support the treatment of metatarsalgia by assisting in a long-term solution to improve and maintain day-to-day activities of living, from work to sports, in a healthy manner. Should You Get Insoles for Metatarsalgia? It is essential to get yourself a custom-made orthotic insole to completely heal from metatarsalgia and prevent it from reoccurring. They are designed to help your body maintain its ideal position, taking away the tension from the joints, allowing freedom of movement, increasing the foot's range of motion, reducing fatigue, and preventing any future injuries that may happen. At the end of the day, there's no reason you shouldn't get custom insoles for metatarsalgia.
What Conditions Are Custom Orthotics Prescribed For?
OrthoticsWhat Conditions Are Custom Orthotics Prescribed For?If you think of the feet as the foundation of the body, it's clear to see why conditions originating there can impact a number of other places in the body. Something as minor as low arches can lead to serious conditions such as arthritis. Thankfully, the invention of custom insoles that fit into regular shoes and force your feet to operate in a particular way (orthotics) has meant that some of these detrimental conditions can have a better chance of being treated. If you think you might need custom orthotics over generic insoles, read this article to determine the types of conditions that custom orthotics, like Upstep, can be used to treat. Incorrect Arches There are essentially three different types of incorrect arch development that can lead to many different secondary conditions and chronic pain that can be mediated with the use of certain orthotics. High arches put extra stress on the other foot muscles and can lead to knee pain and shin splints.Low arches or flat feet can cause anything from pain in the ankles and heels to total changes in your gait.Arches that roll inward negate the foot's natural cushioning and can lead to excessive pain in the feet and back. Foot Deformities With the feet receiving so much stress throughout the course of any given day, they can be subject to the development of a number of different deformities that can have varying benefits from the use of orthotics. Bunions form at the base of the big toe and can be extremely painful or even lead to further foot deformities, such as hammer toes.Heel Spurs are extra bits of bone that grow at the base of the heel and can cause inflammation. Stress-Induced Foot Conditions Aside from potentially causing external deformities, excessive stress can also lead to a number of inflamed or painful conditions that may benefit from the use of custom orthotics. Injuries are the most commonly treated foot conditions and can vary in severity and healing time, which can be aided to different extents with custom orthotics.Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia (the thick band of tissue that runs under your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes) and causes varying degrees of foot pain. Upstep provides custom orthotics to treat plantar fasciitis. Bursitis is the inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that surround your joints and can lead to pain and swelling. » Curious about custom orthotics? Browse Upstep's range of custom orthotics to get started Should You Get Custom Orthotics? If you experience any kind of pain throughout your feet, legs, and back, its cause might be rooted in foot issues. Consulting with a foot doctor (podiatrist) can give you more insight into a diagnosis and treatment plan. At Upstep, the team of podiatrists assist in diagnosing your foot pain and are also available to answer any questions you have - at no additional cost. Although orthotics aren't a universal answer, they can assist in the treatment with regular use. Upstep has excellent reviews of customers who have reduced their foot pain and have noticed other ailments subsided too. » Any questions? Please visit Upstep's website for additional information
How Do Custom and Pre-Made Foot Orthotic Insoles Differ?
OrthoticsHow Do Custom and Pre-Made Foot Orthotic Insoles Differ?Depending on the severity of your foot condition, you may need to invest in a pair of orthotics, but not all people will necessarily need a tailor-made pair of custom ones. If you're thinking about getting a pair, here are some key differences between custom and pre-made orthotics that should help you decide: The One-Size Fits All Approach The most significant disadvantage to pre-made orthotics is the fact that they are designed without any consideration or thought to your specific feet, which is a problem as everyone's feet are different. This doesn't take into account the subtle intricacies that make your foot condition different from someone else with the same condition, which means that they can never be a perfect fit, only a general design for a general purpose. Custom orthotics, on the other hand, are made to an identical mold of your feet to combat a specific set of circumstances. The Cost of Orthotics Although pre-made orthotics aren't necessarily cheap, they are relatively inexpensive in comparison to custom orthotics, which can cost hundreds of dollars. Even though you can still find more expensive pre-made orthotics constructed of high-quality materials, you don't have to pay for the difficult labor involved in designing and manufacturing a unique set of orthotics that would only work for you. Usability With Shoes Since custom orthotics are designed to the exact specifications of your feet, you have more room to use them in multiple pairs of similar shoes. You may have some difficulty doing this with pre-made orthotics as they are designed to cover a wider range of conditions and thus only resemble your foot. Unfortunately, this limits the number of shoes that are compatible per pair. Should You Buy Pre-made or Custom Orthotics? A question like this can only really be answered by a registered podiatrist, but if you have a serious condition that needs maximum support, you will simply never get the same benefit from a pair of pre-made orthotics that you would from a pair of custom ones. However, if all you're requiring is a little extra cushioning or support to ease some mild pain during certain activities, you might be okay saving yourself some extra cash by opting for a set of pre-made ones.
Why and When Should You Use Custom Orthotics?
OrthoticsWhy and When Should You Use Custom Orthotics?Although there are some foot conditions that can be excruciatingly painful, the existence and effects of others can go unnoticed. The treatment of many foot conditions can be aided with the use of custom orthotics or over-the-counter (OTC) insoles, but how do you go about figuring out if they're something you need? Unfortunately, only a registered podiatrist can make the final decision, but here are some factors that can help you decide why and when you should use custom orthotics. » How do you choose which custom orthotics to wear? Upstep offers a range of custom orthotics that can relieve pain from being on your feet all day or from high intensity activities Excessive Pain or Discomfort If you have mild pain or inflammation in the feet, legs, or back, there's a good chance it will go away with time. However, if the pain persists or even worsens, the problem may be rooted in the feet and requires treatment. The less severe conditions can sometimes be treated with the use of pre-made insoles, as you might only need some extra cushioning in your shoes, but more serious conditions will need orthotics tailored to your specific feet. Keep in mind that not all foot conditions will cause foot problems. Some could even lead to shin splints or lower back pain without an obvious cause. When Should You Wear Your Custom Orthotics? Since custom orthotics are there to right persistent errors in your feet, they should be worn for as long as possible. However, a new pair of orthotics may be uncomfortable to wear at first. If this is the case, you might just need to get used to them. Give yourself a few weeks at first, starting with only a few minutes of wearing them in between long rests, gradually building up until you wear them constantly. If, after a month, you still aren't used to wearing them all the time, they might need to be adjusted by your podiatrist. » Still unsure whether custom orthotics are for you? Read the custom orthotics product review for everyday activities A Final Thought: Are Custom Orthotics Permanent? This depends on the condition, really. Some individuals may have enough success at reshaping their feet and strengthening certain muscles to reduce the time spent wearing them dramatically. In contrast, others with more serious conditions may have to wear orthotics around the clock. If your issues are minor to nonexistent, you don't need to jump the gun and see a podiatrist as your condition may go away on its own. If it's something persistent and painful, then consider booking an appointment as a podiatrist can give you more info through that and further regular checkups.
How to Tell if You Need Orthotics
OrthoticsHow to Tell if You Need OrthoticsNot everyone needs orthotics, but most people can benefit from them. Orthotics help redistribute pressure, correct your gait, improve your posture, cushion sensitive parts of the foot, absorb shock, and reduce foot pain. A podiatrist can tell you if you need insoles, but there are a number of conditions that might require custom orthotics moulded to your feet. Conditions That May Require Custom Orthotics Foot Pain or Swelling Foot or heel pain is often a sign of other problems, such as plantar fasciitis. Orthotics can provide cushioning and support to reduce foot pain. Lower Limb Injuries Lower limb injuries can affect how we move, and our alignment, which can be improved using custom orthotics. Flat Feet or High Arches People with very high arches or none at all (flat feet) don't get the support they need from regular shoes. Orthotics can give your arches the support they need. Situations That May Benefit From Custom Orthotics Regularly Spending Long Hours on Your Feet Insoles can help relieve the stress placed on the plantar fascia, a ligament across the bottom of your foot. Extensive hours on your feet can injure the plantar fascia and cause a painful condition known as plantar fasciitis. Feeling Unstable on Your Feet Flat feet or collapsed arches can cause a great deal of pain and leave you feeling unbalanced. Inserts can help with balance problems related to flat feet. Shoes With Uneven Wear and Tear If the soles of your shoes are wearing down more on one side than on the other, your foot may be rolling inwards (pronation) or turning outwards (supination). If one shoe is more worn than the other, your legs might not be the same length. Insoles can redistribute pressure and restore equilibrium between your feet. Should You Get Orthotics? If you recognize yourself in any of the above descriptions, you might need orthotics. And even if your feet are fine, you could still benefit from the extra support and comfort custom orthotics provide. Consult with the experts at Upstep and they can help you decide if orthotics are right for you.
Different Types of Custom Orthotics
OrthoticsDifferent Types of Custom OrthoticsOrthotics are special heel or shoe inserts prescribed by a doctor to treat foot, leg, hip, or back problems and relieve any pain and discomfort that arises. These orthotic devices tend to provide more cushion and support than a shoe can. Orthotics come in various sizes and shapes and include shoe inserts, arch supports, footpads, ankle braces, and all other similar items. » Unsure how to navigate the different types of orthotics? Browse Upstep's range of custom orthotics to get started The Difference Between Insoles and Orthotics Both insoles and orthotics are useful in treating foot problems, and people often use the terms interchangeably. However, there is a slight difference between the two as they work differently for different individuals based on their specific needs. Quite simply, one can say insoles form a subset of orthotics. They are foam inserts placed in your shoe to cushion the foot and support the arch. Orthotics are above and beyond that and include insoles, toe pads, braces, and arch supports that are used to address different foot conditions. Again, it may be important to point out that while insoles are generic and can be purchased over the counter, orthotics are generally custom-made and designed to fit the foot. Again, while insoles can last up to 6 months, orthotics can last for five years. Different Types of Orthotics All custom orthotics differ from generic insoles in that they are designed to optimize your specific foot's function. While some offer mostly protection, other types of orthotics offer protection and functional control. Thus, depending on the foot problem, there are different types of custom orthotics. Generally, there are 3 different types of orthotics, all made from different materials, and they are: 1. Functional (Rigid) Custom Orthotics Functional orthotics are made from hard materials such as carbon fiber or plastic. Consequently, they are long-lasting, durable, and tend not to change shape. Functional orthotics provide additional support to the foot and are specifically designed to control the motion of foot joints below the ankle joint and improve foot and ankle mobility. They are ideal for managing foot conditions such as: ArthritisHallux limitus/rigidus (inflamed, sore, and stiff toe joints)Pes Plano valgus (collapsing arches/flat feet)Cavus foot (high arches)Limb-length discrepanciesBunion deformitiesPlantar fasciitisNeuromasNeuromuscular conditionsAnd more Some orthotics address specific medical issues like complex foot deformities, imbalance, or back problems. These medically prescribed orthotics are sometimes combined with orthopedic footplates or foot and ankle braces. 2. Accommodative Custom Orthotics Accommodative orthotics are made up of soft and well-cushioned materials. They reduce the impact of standing and walking, reduce shear forces on the sole, and redistribute and balance weight across the foot. They are effective in managing the following conditions: Diabetic woundsArthritisDeformed feet. They are also ideal for minor complaints or to correct functional issues. 3. Semi-rigid Custom Orthotics Semi-rigid orthotics allow you to enjoy the best of both worlds as they are made from both soft and rigid materials. Its composite structure makes for better balance and can help relieve pressure and absorb shock. Semi-rigid orthotics are often recommended for foot issues caused by arthritis or diabetes. They are used to treat flatfoot and in-toeing or out-toeing disorders in children. Athletes also use them to prevent pain, especially during training or competition. Other Types of Custom Orthotics Children's Orthotics These provide biomechanical support. They also help restore the natural walking pattern by treating foot deformities and stabilizing the foot from an early age. They can be changed regularly as the child grows. Sport-Related Orthotics These aim to meet specific sport-related needs. In some cases, they optimize the biomechanical alignment of the body and improve sports performance, while in others, they help prevent injury. They can also improve energy transfer between the body and the foot. Athletes involved in edge-control and multidirectional sports, like skiing and skating, often use special custom orthotics. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Orthotics These one-size-fits-all orthotics may help you with minor conditions. However, they can also worsen the situation as they are not designed for your specific needs. » Still not convinced orthotics can help you? Read the review for standing and walking insoles What Type of Orthotics Do You Need? From posterior tibial tendonitis to plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, flat feet, and more, the choice of orthotic will depend on the exact condition and the way the foot has been affected. Invariably, the kind of orthotics you need is a function of your foot issue, and how much improvement may have resulted from other treatments. Consult with the experts at Upstep to determine the best type of orthotics based on your foot issues, lifestyle, and personal needs.