CNY Orthopedic Sports Medicine, PC: ItHurts: Foot/Ankle

Body Zone: Foot/Ankle: How Badly Are You Hurt?

I have been told that special shoes are required for a baby's foot so that they develop correctly. What type of shoes should I purchase for my child who is just beginning to walk?
There has been considerable discussion and controversy regarding this topic over the years. A generation ago, most infancts were seen in the familiar white, high-top, leather, laced shoe. Although this is a very good shoe, it is not necessary for the proper development of an infant's foot. Any well-made shoe that gives protection, support, and allows enough room for the foot is a good choice. No special shoe considerations are necessary before an infant begins to walk.

Some women's shoes have very narrow toes and high heels. Does this type of shoe cause problems for women's feet?
One of the major causes of foot problems in women is the importance that society places on fashion. The narrow toes and raised heels of most women's shoes place significant stress on the foot, toes, and ankle, and alter the mechanics of walking. This can contribute to a number of foot problems. In societies where women routinely do not wear shoes, the incidence of foot problems is dramatically reduced.

I have weak ankles and feel like I walk on the sides of my feet. I don't want to have surgery at this time. What can I do to prevent this problem and avoid surgery?
Instability of the ankle, or the inability to keep the foot from rolling inward or outward while walking is not uncommon. Whether a result of trauma or inherent laxity of the ligament, many people have weak ankles. The use of high top, lace-up shoes significantly helps with this condition, as can the use of an ankle brace that may also lace up, or that contains stabilizers within the brace. Most of these products can be worn inside of most shoes.

What are flat feet? How are they treated, and do they lead to arthritis?
The condition of flat feet is know as pes planus, and refers to a loss of the arch on the bottom of the foot. The most common form of this condition is referred to as flexible pes planus and can be effectively treated with shoe modification or orthotics. The less common form of rigid pes planus is the result of other underlying muscular conditions and does not respond to shoe modification. The condition of flexible pes planus is not a direct cause of arthritis of the foot.

Diabetics are always told to take special care of their feet. Why is this?
The disease of diabetes decreases the ciruclation, and the nerve function, of the feet. With decreased sensation, injury from improper shoes or from stepping on a sharp object is more prone to occur. With decreased circulation to the foot, the body has a decreased ability to heal the injury, so that a minor abrasion or injury can develop into a seriuos or chronic condition.

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