Courtesy Texoma Foot & Ankle Specialists, PA
There is a common children’s song that refers to two men who built a house. The first of the two is a wise man who built his house upon the rock. The second man is a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. When the rains came down and the floods came up the house built upon the sand collapsed while the house built upon the rock withstood the tempest and remained standing. This song underpins the importance of a good foundation. Our bodies are similar to a building in that regard. Our feet are our foundation.
It is not uncommon for feet to acquire deformity over time. Deformity may occur as a result of genetics or injury. This could be caused by faulty biomechanics and exacerbated by inappropriate shoe gear. Regardless of the cause of the deformity, when these deformities arise they may create uneven forces resulting in undue strain on joints, ligaments, and tendons. This may lead to pain and further loss of architectural integrity of the feet. Deformity in the foundation of our body can result in rotational and angular stresses on bones and joints further upstream such as knees, hips, and the back.
There are several options available to try to address the problem. The first of which would be a custom foot orthotics. At first glance they simply appear to be arch supports, but there is much more to them than that. There are many different modifications that can be done depending on the specific needs of the individual that can be of benefit. Alterations to the depth of the heel cup, a medial flange, forefoot and rearfoot posting and intrinsic padding are just a few examples. Orthotics can be accommodative for rigid, non-adaptable deformities or functional for more reducible deformities. The technique in obtaining an appropriate mold of the foot may vary depending on the type and desired function of the orthotic. By definition an orthotic is meant to go within a closed shoe. Although there are sandals made to accommodate orthotics, the greatest benefit is gained when coupled with structurally supportive shoes or boots.
Should orthotics be insufficient or inappropriate for a particular deformity, bracing options are available. Braces in general are bulkier and more substantial than orthotics. Some braces fit within the shoe, some are affixed to the shoe, and others may take the place of a shoe entirely. This depends largely on the amount of work needed and the amount of support that it needs to do provide. In the event that orthotics and bracing are inadequate, there may be surgical options available as well.
Many deformities of the foot tend towards getting progressively worse. They also tend to become more rigid in nature. Generally speaking, the more rigid the deformity the less amenable it is to orthotics and bracing. Consequently, anyone experiencing foot problems should have their feet examined professionally for an assessment as to whether intervention is needed and what that intervention might be. If caught early, progression of the deformity may be halted. It is also much easier to correct a deformity earlier than later, if necessary.
Our feet are our foundation and cannot be replaced. It is important to maintain and preserve the feet we have. There are no aftermarket replacement parts.
Call Texoma Foot & Ankle Specialists at 903-463-1000 to schedule a private consultation.