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All Posts in Category: Health Basics

Everything you need to know about Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia band located underneath the foot’s arch and heel. The pain can be described as anything from a mild pain to “walking on glass”. Ouch! Why do we get plantar fasciitis and how can we treat and prevent it?
Plantar fasciitis can affect anyone and everyone. It develops when the foot’s arch drops repetitively as this causes the stretching and inflammation of the plantar fascia band underneath. People with high arches experience large degrees of foot drop when weight bearing so it’s no surprise that they may encounter plantar fasciitis in their lives. However, people with flat feet are not exempt from the condition! They are generally pronators, which means their feet roll inwards as they weight bear. This motion causes a lot of wear on the fascia band as well. In general, anyone who is overweight, on their feet for extended periods of time and/or wear safety shoes are especially prone to the condition regardless of their arch type. In fact plantar fasciitis affects over 10{3dc534e136eb622dd1136612636b8564640e26c795a336972932714fd61a8526} of the population!
Treatments for plantar fasciitis are limited. One option is to have cortisone injections into the heel however there are many risks to this method including infection, skin tone lightening and “cortisone flare ups” (rejection from the body resulting in more pain). There have even been individuals reporting that there was no beneficial difference in pain levels after taking the injection. A much safer, non-invasive treatment to plantar fasciitis is having a pair of custom made orthotics made. The orthotic insoles are molded to the foot’s arch, supporting it when weight bearing to prevent any significant arch collapse. Once the arch is supported, the body can repair the inflammation as well as prevent any further damage. Custom made orthotics are not only the doctor’s recommended solution for plantar fasciitis, but also a great device to prevent it from ever occurring! Book an appointment with your family physician today to see if custom made orthotics are right for you!
— Raymond Li, Certified Pedorthist
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Watch your back and shovel with care

(NC) Shoveling snow can be a pain in more ways than one. These tips from the Ontario Chiropractic Association will help to keep your back in top shape:

• Don’t let the snow pile up: If the weather report calls for several days of snow, frequent shoveling will allow you to move smaller amounts at once. It’s far less strenuous in the long run.

• Pick the right shovel: Use a lightweight pusher-type shovel. If you are using a metal one, spray it with Teflon first, so snow won’t stick to it.

• Push, don’t throw: Always push the snow to the side rather than throw it. That way you avoid lifting heavy loads, and also avoid the sudden twisting or turning movements.

• Bend your knees: As with any heavy object, you need to use the muscles in your knees, legs and arms to do the pushing and lifting, while keeping your back straight.

• Take a break: If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a rest. Shake out your arms and legs. Stop shoveling immediately if you feel chest pain or back pain. If you have back pain that is severe or that persists for more than a day after shoveling, see a chiropractor for help from a specialist trained in this field. If you have chest pain that is severe, see a doctor immediately.


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Your feet may be the cause of your sore back

(NC) Our feet take a lot of pounding no matter whether we stand all day at work, enjoy a daily run, spend hours volunteering, or care for small children. And even though feet can withstand a lot of demands, experts say we shouldn’t take them for granted. Our feet are composed of dozens of delicate bones and joints that can easily be injured by wearing ill-fitting shoes or because of the way we naturally walk.

“People often don’t realize there is something wrong with their feet because their feet don’t hurt,” says Alison Smith, a Canadian certified pedorthist. “Instead, they may complain about an aching lower back or sore knees. Many of my patients have been surprised to learn the pain in their back, hips or knees actually stems from their feet.”

Smith explains that many foot injuries are actually caused by footwear. As feet provide our base of support and take hours of pounding every day, she advises you should always wear supportive shoes that fit snuggly. Narrow, fashionable heels may look great, but they often pinch and cause you to unnaturally shift your weight forward. Loose, unsupportive, footwear can be equally damaging as it rubs and doesn’t provide the support your feet need.

Depending on your foot type, you may also require a foot orthotic. Foot orthotics, are simple devices that slip inside your everyday shoes, to prevent your feet from rolling inwards or outwards when you walk. Individuals whose feet naturally roll may experience pain in their feet, ankles, legs, knees, hips or back as a result of their improper mechanics.

If you have persistent unexplained pain in your hip, back, knees or feet speak to your doctor about a referral to a certified pedorthist. Your pedorthist will conduct a full assessment of your feet and lower limbs and carefully examine how you walk. They will also look closely at your everyday footwear and will discuss your daily routine and activities. Based on this assessment a treatment plan will be developed to ensure you remain mobile and pain free.


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Simplifying orthotics: Non-weight bearing vs weight bearing casting techniques

by Raymond Li. C ped (c), CK, PTS

An issue in the world of custom-made orthotics is non-weight bearing versus weight bearing casting techniques. Which is superior? What are the benefits of each? Why are there two methods? Let’s break it down in layman’s terms!

A casting technique is what a foot professional uses to make a mold or negative impression of your foot. From this measurement, a positive model can be made that should resemble the original foot as much as possible. The more accurate the positive model, the better the fit of the custom made orthotic that one can generate to accommodate the original foot.

So which is the better method: non-weight bearing or weight bearing casting? The answer is simple! If you are weight bearing while you are taking a measurement of your foot, your weight and way that you stand to distribute your weight will affect the shape of your foot’s natural arch. The positive model that you make from a weight bearing measurement will NOT resemble your original foot and therefore your custom made orthotic will NOT be made to cater to your foot.

Given this information, it would make sense that there is a Gold standard in which all foot professionals use non-weight bearing casting methods, right? Wrong! Even though every pedorthist, podiatrist, chiropodist is trained and tested using only non-weight bearing casting techniques, there are many unqualified individuals that use the easier less accurate weight bearing methods.

In conclusion, any patient interested in achieving the best custom-made orthotic should be doing their measurements in a non-weight bearing sub-talar neutral position. The construction of the orthotic should include the patient’s weight, activity levels and pathology as well but then we are starting to complicate an article that is trying to simplify things!”

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