Wide Foot Facts

Living the Good Life with Wide Feet!

Category: Arthritis

Osteo, Gouty and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis is generally characterized by the inflammation of the cartilage and lining of the body’s joints. Each foot has 33 joints which can become affected by the disease causing redness, warmth, pain and swelling. There are many causes of arthritis including heredity, bacterial and viral infections, prescription and illegal drugs, traumatic injuries, and bowel disorders such as ileitis and colitis.
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculo-skeletal and Skin Diseases, reports about 40 million Americans suffer from arthritis and that by the year 2020, that number will go to 60 million. Both men and women over 50 are most susceptible to become affected by the disease.
Although there are many different types of arthritis, the most common is osteoarthritis. This condition causes extreme strain and the wearing away of cartilage in the joints of the foot. Pain and swelling gets progressively worse when upright and stiffness usually occurs after rest.
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most crippling form of the disease and effects people of all ages. There is no known cause for this condition and it is known to develop at any age. Those suffering from RA often develop severe forefoot problems such as claw toes, bunions and hammer toes. In some cases severe deformities of the joints with associated fatigue of the entire body can occur.
Gouty Arthritis
Gout is another form of arthritis caused from excess uric acid crystals collecting in and around the joints. The big toe joint is commonly the focal point due to the stress and pressure it experiences during walking and other weight bearing activities, leading to severe pain.
Traditional, non-surgical treatment, includes proper footwear, orthotics, or forefoot supports. Footwear offering high and wide space in the toe area, removable insoles for flexibility and rocker soles can reduce stress and pain at the ball-of-the-foot. Arthritic footwear should always accommodate swelling of the foot. read more

Fun and Interesting Foot Facts

3 out of 4 people in the US experience serious foot problems but only a small percentage is born with foot problems.
Each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles. A quarter of all the bones in your body are in your feet.
Walking is the best exercise for your feet, contributing to general health by improving circulation.
Conditions like arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can have their initial symptoms in the feet – so foot ailments can be your first sign of more serious medical problems.
Women have about four times as many foot problems as men. Doctors generally blame high heels for the difference.
Your two feet have about 250,000 sweat glands and can excrete as much as a cup of moisture per day.
Neglect and a lack of proper care, including ill fitting shoes, bring on foot problems.
If you put on weight, the bone and ligament structure of your feet might change. Get your shoe size rechecked to make sure you are buying shoes that are best for your feet.
Approximately 65% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nerve damage, which in severe forms can create the need for lower limb amputations. Approximately 56,000 people a year lose a foot or leg to diabetes.
Walking barefoot can cause plantar warts. The virus enters through a cut.
Your two feet may be different sizes and the ball of the foot is twice as wide as the heel. Be sure to get shoes that fit.
About 5% of Americans have toenail problems in a given year.
The average person takes about 9,000 steps a day. That means that by 70 most people would have walked around the earth 4 times! read more

Ingrown Toenails

This very painful condition known to doctors as onychocryptosis, is a fairly common foot problem. When you wear shoes that don’t fit well, the shoes pressing down on the sides of the nail, they curl into the skin on one or both sides of a nail. The skin grows over the edges of the nail and the nail grows into the skin. If you cut your nails too short, you are inviting the nail corner to grow into the skin. It is the natural tendency, when the edge of the nail starts to grow in, to cut down at an angle at the nail edge, to relieve the pain. This does relieve the pain temporarily, but it also can start a downward spiral, training the nail to become more and more ingrown.
Ingrown toenails develop for many reasons. In some cases the condition is congenital, such as toenails that simply are too large. People, who have diseases like arthritis, are prone to ingrown toenails. Sometimes stubbing your toe or having your toe stepped on can cause a piece of the nail to be jammed into the skin. However, the most common cause is cutting your toenails incorrectly, causing them to re-grow into the skin.
When it first starts to occur, you may just need to soak your foot in warm, soapy water for several times each day. Pull back the skin from the nail gently to allow the nail to grow out unimpeded. If your skin around the nail is red, painful or swollen an infection may be present. Untreated, the nail can go under the skin, causing a more severe infection. In either case, the infection needs to be cured with sterile instruments and antibiotics.
If you suspect infection, consult your doctor. Often the doctor can trim or remove the infected nail with a minor in-office surgical procedure. He or she can remove the offending portion of the nail or overgrown skin with a scalpel and treat the infection. Unless, the problem is congenital, the best way to prevent ingrown toenails is to protect the feet from trauma and wear shoes with adequate room for the toes. read more

Orthotic Shoe Devices

Orthotic shoe devices are molded pieces of rubber, leather, metal, plastic, or other synthetic material that are inserted into a shoe. A foot pad or heel insert are considered an orthotic device, so is a custom molded, individually designed shoe insert or brace. Their purpose is to balance the foot in a neutral position, cushion the foot from excessive pounding and improving the overall function of the foot or ankle.
Custom-made orthotic devices may control pain if you have a specific problem, such as an unusual-shaped foot, or your foot rolls toward the arch (pronation). Custom-made orthotics are available by prescription. Insurance companies differ in how much of the cost they cover.
Some examples, are a wedge inserted into the inner side of the sole of a shoe can be used to help support a flatfoot, thus reducing the risk of tendinitis. An ankle-foot brace can help relieve the pain of rheumatoid arthritis in the heel or ankle. A heel flare can be used to increase support and help prevent ankle sprains. Heel cushions can help absorb impact and relieve stress on the heel and ankle when you walk or run.
Although custom orthoses are considerably more expensive than off-the-shelf devices, they last much longer and provide more support or correction. In some cases, however, an over-the-counter device can be just as effective, particularly when combined with a stretching and exercise program. Before investing in an expensive pair of custom-made orthotics, consider trying good-quality nonprescription orthotics. They can usually be found at drugstores, supermarkets, and sporting goods stores. You can test the effectiveness of several different devices without great expense, which may help you decide whether a more durable custom-made device would be helpful. read more

Surgery of the Foot

Based on the condition and the chronic nature of the disease, surgery can provide relief of pain and restore mobility in many cases. There have been various modifications and surgical enhancements regarding surgery of the foot. Your podiatric surgeon will determine which method is best suited for you.
There are certain conditions that are commonly relieved through surgical procedures. Most often are Arthritis, Joint Disease, Bunions, Ingrown toenails, Heel Spurs, Neuromas and many foot deformities. read more

Hallux Rigidus (Stiff Big Toe)

Hallux rigidus is a disorder of the joint located at the base of the big toe. It causes pain and stiffness in the big toe, and gets worse with time. Stiff Big Toe is actually a form of degenerative arthritis or wearing out of the cartilage. This joint is called the metatarsophalangeal, or MTP joint. It’s important because it has to bend every time you take a step. Since the most common site of arthritis in the foot, if the joint starts to stiffen, walking can become painful and difficult.
In the MTP joint, as in any joint, the ends of the bones are covered by a smooth articular cartilage. If wear-and-tear or injury damage the articular cartilage, the raw bone ends can rub together. A bone spur, or overgrowth, may develop on the top of the bone. This overgrowth can prevent the toe from bending as much as it needs to when you walk. The result is a stiff big toe, or hallux rigidus.
Because hallux rigidus is a progressive condition, the toe’s motion decreases as time goes on. In the beginning, with only minimal motion problems, the condition is called “hallux limitus.” But as the problem advances, the toe’s range of motion gradually decreases until it potentially reaches the end stage of “rigidus”— where the big toe becomes stiff, or what is sometimes called a “frozen joint.”
Hallux rigidus usually develops in adults between the ages of 30 and 60 years. No one knows why it appears in some people and not others. It may result from an injury to the toe that damages the articular cartilage or from differences in foot anatomy that increase stress on the joint.
If you find it difficult to bend your toe up and down or find that you are walking on the outside of your foot because of pain in the toe, see your doctor right away. Hallux rigidus is easier to treat when the condition is caught early. If you wait until you see a bony bump on the top of your foot, the bone spurs will have already developed and the condition will be more difficult to treat. read more

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