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    Should Runners Use Orthotics?

    Last updated 6 days ago

    With the recent trend of minimalist running shoes—and barefoot running among more extreme athletes—the question of whether or not orthotics are beneficial for runners arises. Orthotics are inserts for the shoes that can correct a pronated feet, and they may be helpful for runners who have these issues. However, runners often rely on orthotics when they are not truly needed, leading to a higher risk of injuries and poor running form. This article will take a closer look at the debate about orthotics for runners at all skill levels.

    Over-utilizing orthotics

    Running can lead to an over-exaggeration of pronation, which will appear if a physician performs a gait examination. Orthotics may be prescribed, but the issue might be better corrected through changes in running style. Exaggerated pronation tends to be the result of heel striking the pavement. Hitting the pavement with the forefoot can be a more natural and efficient way to reduce pain and injuries after a long run.

    Conditions requiring correction

    Orthotics keep the foot in a more natural position when it is prone to the inward roll of pronation. If you have one of the three main types of pronation (overpronation, neutral pronation, or supination) regardless of whether you are walking or running, you might need orthotics to correct the issue. Otherwise, you may need to consider altering your running posture to minimize the impact on your feet.

    Changing running form

    The shock of hitting the pavement with your foot is more effectively absorbed when the entire motion of striking first with the forefoot and then lowering the heel is carried out. Changing your gait to achieve this motion may take significant time, so you should not look to make this transition too soon before a race.

    To learn if orthotics are the solution for your running-related foot pain, connect with Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics in the Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia areas. You can schedule a consultation with us on our website or by calling (717) 253-9130.

    Common Causes of Foot Pain

    Last updated 13 days ago

    Foot pain may be a troubling problem, because it can prevent you from enjoying even the simplest daily activities. Typically foot pain is diagnosed based on which part of the foot is aching—the arch, the heel, or the ball of the foot. Below you will get a look at some of the most likely culprits behind foot pain to help you understand some possible treatments.

    Plantar fasciitis

    Plantar fasciitis occurs when the band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes becomes inflamed due to overstretching or stressful impacts. The pulling of this tissue can generate severe pain in the heel, which may be worse after periods of walking or standing.

    Heel spurs

    When heel pain leads to limping or abnormal gait, it may be caused by heel spurs, which are abnormal growths of the heel bone. Similar but temporary pain may be caused by stone bruises, which form when you step on a sharp rock or hard object. Heel spurs are likely to accompany plantar fasciitis, but neither condition actually causes the other.

    Morton’s neuroma

    Small parts of the foot may cause hugely amplified symptoms like numbness, forefoot pain, and strange sensations throughout the foot and ankle. Morton’s neuroma is one example of this pattern in which the nerve at the base of the toes is irritated by thickened tissue surrounding it. High heels and tight shoes put individuals at a higher risk for this condition, making it more likely to occur in women.

    Flat feet

    Flat feet or fallen arches cam lead to arch pain and serious issues with gait that could lead to significant injuries. Orthotics are the most common solution for flat feet, as they keep the arches in a more neutral position during everyday movements.

    Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics can help you identify the cause of your foot pain and move forward with the right solution for your needs. Call (717) 253-9130 or visit us online to learn more about the custom orthotics and preventive therapies we provide in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

    Don't Miss Our Limb Loss Education Day!

    Last updated 17 days ago

    Join us on Saturday, September 13th for our Limb Loss Education Day!

    Benefits of Functional Electrical Stimulation

    Last updated 21 days ago

    Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is a system that transmits electrical pulses to muscles affected by paralysis or general weakness. FES can significantly improve the function of those muscles. This offers a new opportunity for individuals who have suffered from traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, or an incomplete spinal cord injury that results in muscle paralysis or weakness.

    Quite often, these individuals are diagnosed with foot drop, a debilitating condition in which a person cannot properly lift up the foot and must drag it on the ground while walking. This causes great difficulty completing everyday tasks. With FES, the patient can attach a small device to the affected leg to stimulate the muscles. The use of the FES device often results in dramatic improvements in a person’s walking bilities and significantly enhances independence.

    Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics is a leader in helping patients regain their independence through state-of-the-art technology, such as FES systems. Those in the Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. areas can call (717) 253-9130 or visit our website to explore our custom prosthetics and orthotics.

    Prosthetic and Orthotic Options Following Foot Amputation

    Last updated 28 days ago

    Partial foot amputations are particularly common among diabetics. In fact, nearly a quarter of the millions of patients with diabetes in the U.S. will suffer a serious foot ulcer at some point, which has the potential to lead to foot amputation. Prosthetic specialists can create custom prosthetics or orthotics to suit the particular needs of each amputee. Since the goal of amputation is to preserve as much viable tissue as possible, amputees will have varying levels of tissue loss. For example, one person might only lose a toe, while another loses a significant portion of the foot. For both of these types of amputees, there are prosthetic and orthotic options.

    Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO)

    An ankle foot orthosis is a commonly used device for partial foot amputees. This L-shaped device is applied to the foot, ankle, and leg to provide support and normalize gait patterns. Sometimes, an AFO may be combined with a toe filler, such as when a patient has had a toe amputation. One of the goals of wearing an AFO is to redistribute weight pressure to reduce the risk of additional trauma to the amputation site. Ideally, an AFO will help a patient avoid the need for a secondary amputation. There are different types of AFOs, such as those made from plastic that allow for a small degree of ankle movement. The traditional type of AFO is made with a metal frame and leather straps.

    Partial Foot Prosthetic

    For some patients, a prosthetic expert may recommend a partial foot prosthetic. These devices can be custom fabricated to match the remaining, natural foot and to perfectly fit the remaining tissue. This silicone prosthetic fits over the remaining tissue, much like a slipper. A partial foot prosthetic provides resistance for toe-off and supports the stability of the ankle.

    Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics provides custom prosthetics with diabetic-friendly interfaces for those with partial foot amputation. Our custom-made products suit multiple foot amputation levels. Residents of Philadelphia and beyond can contact a prosthetic specialist at (717) 253-9130 or visit us online to browse our orthotics options.

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