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Lower Back Pain

 

Overview

Lower back is a prevalent complaint in modern western culture, and most people simply put up with the daily discomfort that this condition causes.
Symptoms: The most common symptoms include pain and tightness in the lower back muscles which worsens after standing or sitting for long periods of time.
Causes: Poor body posture and over-pronation of the feet are the two most common causes of lower back pain.
Treatment: The primary treatments for this type of pain are orthotics to improve body posture and correct over-pronation of the feet. The use of orthotics should include regular exercise and stretching.

Symptoms

The most frequently reported type of back pain occurs in the lower area of the back, which is also referred to as the lumbar-sacral area. A dull ache is the number symptom reported, followed by a feeling of tightness and/or fatigue in that area, particularly after significant periods of time spent have been spent sitting or standing.

What are the Causes of Lower Back Pain?

There are several causes of lower back pain but the most common cause of all is poor posture. This problem has become endemic in modern culture and poor posture occurs not only while we are standing but while we are watching television, working on the computer, and even sitting down for a meal. Poor posture is one of those things that will worsen over time, and it can be somewhat difficult to correct as most of us are not aware that we are not sitting, standing, or moving about incorrectly.

A frequent—and frequently overlooked—problem is the level of functioning that may or may not be occurring in the feet. If the feet over or under pronate it will throw the entire body out of balance and cause postural problems. When over-pronation occurs it causes the legs to turn inwards and the pelvis to tilt forward, which in turn throws the hips out of alignment and increases the curvature of the spine.

This creates excessive and chronic tension to develop in the muscles of the lower, which causes poor posture and constant pain. As unlikely as it may seem, anyone who suffers from lower back pain should have their feet and gait examined for issues such as over-pronation.

Treatment

A study that was recently published in the United States concluded that the way people walk is often the cause of chronic lower back pain and 68% of those who suffer from this type of pain reported significant improvements after being fitted for insoles.

Dr Foot insoles correct over-pronation of the feet, which prevents the resulting ‘turning in’ of the legs and corresponding pelvic tilt that causes so many postural problems to develop. The correction of over-pronation in the feet, and the resulting postural corrections, releases the tension being held in lower back muscles, which then reduces or eliminates the resulting pain, tightness, and fatigue usually found in this area of the body.

View Products to treat Over Pronation and Back Pain

Aside from the use of insoles daily stretching and strengthening exercises are to be recommended, even if it is a regular, brisk walk around the neighbourhood followed by a stretching of the calf and hamstring muscles. For a more in-depth exercises and stretching regime please contact your healthcare provider.
Lower back pain is not a ‘normal’ part of adulthood, and there are several treatment options to reduce the pain.

Guide to Heel Pain, Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis

 

Overview

Symptoms: Typical symptoms include heel pain that is most pronounced upon waking.

Causes: Plantar Fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. This condition occurs when the plantar fascia becomes inflamed. Irritation and inflammation of the plantar fascia often occurs as a result of over-pronation of one or both feet.

Treatment: Effective front-line treatment includes stretching exercises and the use of special insoles.

Symptoms

Heel pain and heel spurs that occur due to plantar fasciitis often cause acute discomfort first thing in the morning when the patient initially gets out of bed. This type of pain is often described as ‘sharp’ and ‘stabbing’, and it is usually felt at the bottom of the heel bone, though it can develop at the front of the heel bone as well.

The level of discomfort experienced by each person is unique, though most people find that the pain is worse after extended periods of inactivity (sleeping through the night, after sitting down for a long time, etc.). Most sufferers find that this initial discomfort subsides once they get up and begin moving around. While the sharp pain subsides after the muscles of the foot ‘warm up’ it is typically replaced with a dull, aching pain.

Why Exactly Does It Hurt?

Heel pain and heel spurs are usually caused by plantar fasciitis, which is a painful condition causes by inflammation of the plantar fascia.

The plantar fascia is fibrous band of tissue that runs through the arch of the foot, connecting the toes to the heel bone. When it is healthy the fascia is both supple and strong, but if it is exposed to excessive pressures for extended periods of time—such as sub-par mechanics of the foot, excess body weight, or the aging process in general—it may cause micro-tears to develop in the tissue. This leads to inflammation of plantar tissues and the development of plantar fasciitis.

The plantar fascia becomes tighter and begins to ‘shorten’ during periods of inactivity, and when an abrupt introduction of body weight is applied to the tendon it rapidly stretches in order to ‘lengthen out’ again. The micro-tears that develop as a result of this ‘stretching out’ are responsible for the stabbing pain that occurs in sufferers of PF when they first get out of bed in the morning and begin to walk.

This abrupt stretching and ‘flattening out’ of the plantar fascia means that there is constant pressure being applied to the heel bone, and this constant pulling often leads to the development of a hard growth on the heel, which is referred to as a heel spur.

What Causes Over-Stretching of Plantar Fascia to Occur?

The type of over-stretching that often leads to the development of plantar fasciitis may occur for a number of reasons. Some of the risk factors include:

• Over-pronation in one foot or both feet
• Standing or walking on hard surfaces for extended periods of time
• Being overweight or pregnant
• Regular, intense physical activity such as running and/or playing sports
• Being 50 years of age and older
• Having tight calf muscles

Conservative Treatments

Treatment of heel pain and plantar fasciitis often begins at home, as there many affordable and accessible treatment options that can be tried before consulting a doctor or podiatrist. The following suggestions have proven successful in the conservative treatment of heel pain and PF, particularly when undertaken immediately after symptoms first present. Early intervention makes these options more effective and gives results much sooner than if the condition is allowed to deteriorate.

Rest / Reduce Activity Levels

It is important to remove as much body weight (and therefore pressure) from the plantar fascia as possible so that it has time to heal. This means taking a rest period from intense physical activity levels and walking and standing as little as possible. Running, playing sports, and walking for extended periods of time should be avoided.

Anti-Inflammatory Medication

Over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin or ibuprofen reduce inflammation in the fascial tissues and provide relief of pain symptoms. Anti-inflammatory drugs are not a cure-all however, and should be used in a broader treatment context.

Cold Therapy

The liberal use of ice packs often reduces inflammation and pain symptoms as well. Applying an ice pack to the heel for 5 minutes on, 1 minute off is often an effective treatment. Care should be taken to make sure that the skin is not damaged by prolonged or direct exposure to ice (ice or ice cubes should be placed in a plastic bag and wrapped in a thin towel or cloth before being applied to the skin).

Specialized Exercises

While some physical activities should be avoided others should be embraced. Heel pain and plantar fasciitis are often caused by tight calf muscles and/or a tight Achilles tendon, which negatively impacts the gait cycle and places excessive strain on the plantar fascia. By stretching out tight muscles and developing flexibility in the feet and legs excessive pressures, and therefore pain, is usually reduced.

Foot Support Through the Use of Insoles

Insoles are one of the primary recommendations made by doctors and podiatrists as part of an effective treatment plan for heel pain and plantar fasciitis. While a large part of treating this condition is the reduction of inflammation and pain management insoles also address the underlying problem, which is absolutely essential for positive results.

Faulty biomechanics of the foot are one of the primary causes of heel pain and several products, such as Dr Foot Insoles, have been created by podiatrists to address these problems through proper arch support and the correction of these faulty mechanics. This type of correction reduces the pressure placed on the plantar fascia which in turn reduces the level of inflammation, effectively allowing the irritated tissues to heal on its own. Dr Foot Insoles are used by doctors, chiropodists, podiatrists, and physiotherapists throughout the UK and are a proven, reliable product responsible for reducing heel pain in thousands of patients.

View Insoles for Heel Pain

Medical Treatment

When heel pain and plantar fasciitis do not respond positively to conservative treatments medical intervention may be required. These are the most common forms of medical treatment used to treat stubborn cases of heel pain and PF.

Cortisone-Steroid Injections

Cortisone steroid injections are a potent anti-inflammatory that are injected directly into irritated tissues. The pain may briefly intensify after the shot is given but this is generally followed by an immediate relief of symptoms. There may be discomfort from the shot itself and the pain relief is temporary, so these injections must also be used in a broader treatment plan, as they will not cure the underlying condition that caused the problem in the first place.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Treatment

Shockwave therapy uses sound waves to treat heel pain and plantar fasciitis. The positive effects are not always immediately apparent and this process may have to be undertaken for several months in order to be completely effective. It has nonetheless grown in popularity as a treatment option, particularly amongst patients who might otherwise be facing surgery to treat stubborn cases of heel pain.

Surgery

Surgery is used a last resort for stubborn cases that have not responded to conservative treatments or medical treatments, and it is reserved for severe cases only. Surgery generally entails release of the plantar fascia made through an incision in the foot, and bone spurs are usually removed at the same time.

Shin Splints (Shin Pain) Insoles

 

‘Shin Splints’ is a rather vague term that refers to pain in the front of the lower leg, otherwise known as the shin area. Both the front and the inside section of the area may be become inflamed and tender.

Symptoms

Shin splints can cause a variety of symptoms to occur but the most common complaints are a ‘stabbing’ sensation along the shin bone and/or tenderness and tightness that worsens after physical activities such as running or walking for long distances or long periods of time.

The pain and inflammation caused by shin splints usually improves with rest, and because this condition generally strikes people who are new to running or walking the frequency of flare-ups typically diminishes over time. This is not true, however, when shin pain occurs due to over-training or excessive physical activity, though this occurs less frequently.
Causes

Shin splints develop when there is excessive stretching of the muscles and tendons that run along the tibia and fibula, which make up the shin bone.

Shin pain usually occurs from excessive use, either by people who have been sedentary and have recently increased their level of physical activity, or by people who train competitively and tend to over-train at times. Shin splints that occur as a result of competitive over-training are usually found in athletes; runners in particular.

Over-pronation of one or both feet increases the risk for developing shin pain, as excessive ‘rolling inward’ of the foot and ankle during the foot-strike phase of the gait cycle causes internal tibial rotation, which places increased pressure on the muscles and limbs in the lower leg.

Treatment and Prevention

Once shin splints have developed the best treatment option you can choose is rest. It’s also a good idea to treat yourself to a deep tissue massage, stretch the calf muscles after working out, and apply ice immediately after physical activities have ended.

Preventing shin splints from developing or reoccurring is crucial if you are susceptible to this condition and wish to live pain-free. If you take up a new activity, such as running, or wish to intensify your level of physical activity it’s important to slowly build up to a new level.

Proper foot wear is also crucial when it comes to maintain lower limb health and preventing shin pain; properly cushioning the foot reduces the force of impact during the landing phase of the gait cycle, it will increase stability in the foot as well.

Insoles are also extremely useful for the prevention of shin splints as they minimize over-pronation and the resulting strain that is placed on the muscles of the lower leg (the calf muscles in particular). Dr Foot insoles have been specially designed by a podiatrist to improve biomechanical alignment and reduce discomfort due to over-pronation and shin pain caused by shin splints.

View Insoles to treat Shin Pain

Knee Pain Associated with Chondromalacia and Patello-Femoral Syndrome

 

Overview

Knee pain is a very common complaint, and this isn’t surprising given how complex this are of the body is. While there are many, many causes and types of knee pain this articles addresses chondromalacia of the patella, or patello-femoral syndrome.

Symptoms: Typical symptoms include pain at the front of the knee (in the joint) that may occasionally be accompanied by a sensation of ‘crunching’ or ‘clicking’.

Causes: The most common cause is wear and tear of the soft cartilage, which can occur due to age or intense, repetitive motions. Over-pronation is also frequently the cause of both knee pain and general wear and tear of the knee joint.

Treatment: Common treatments for knee pain associated with chondromalacia and patello-femoral syndrome include rest, ice therapy, physiotherapy, and the use of insoles.
Symptoms

Chondromalacia is the most common complaint when it comes to chronic pain, and it can develop in one or both knees. It refers to any type of general pain that has developed between the patella (knee cap) and the underlying femur (thigh bone). Chondromalacia of the patella usually strikes at the front of the knee, causing pain and tenderness in the entire area.

Pain is most acute when standing up after being seated for an extended period of time or when climbing stairs or ascending a steep slope, such as a hill. It is this type of knee pain that often causes a grinding or crunching sensation to occur.

Causes of Knee Pain Associated with Chondromalacia and Patello-Femoral Syndrome

While there may other factors or reasons that this type of pain has developed the most common cause is wear and tear associated with overuse and/or the aging process. Runners, rugby players, and football players are susceptible to this type of knee pain.

The cartilage found beneath the knee cap (patella) may soften with time and usage, and this can cause areas of damage that may be small but no less painful for their minimal size. When this occurs the knee cap may rub against the underlying femur (thigh bone) instead of gliding over it. This type of rubbing occurs every time there is motion, and the erosion can be either partial or complete.

A common underlying cause of knee pain is over-pronation of the feet. This can develop because the knees are the area of the body that joins the upper and lower and leg and it was designed for flexion and extension. When the knee is used for rotation along with its intended purposes this can cause imbalances, pressure points, and wear and tear to occur over time.

Treatment

The proper use of insoles goes a long way in correcting sub-par functioning of the lower limbs, and Dr Foot insoles minimizes over-pronation of the feet from occurring, which in turn prevents excessive rotation of the knee and the resulting wear and tear on the joint.

View Insoles to treat Knee Pain

The use of insoles is crucial, and augmenting this type of treatment with proper rest and cold therapy often provides excellent results in the treatment of for knee pain associated with chondromalacia and patello-femoral syndrome.

About Metatarsalgia (Pain in the Ball of the Foot)

 

Overview:

Metatarsalgia is the Latin name (and medical term) used to indicate pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot. It’s a very common condition that may occur for a variety of reasons but generally it is related to the style of shoe being worn or inferior functioning of the feet.
In order to pursue appropriate treatment the cause of the pain will have to be determined.

Symptoms: Typical symptoms include a sharp and/or burning pain in the ball of the foot that may be most acute around the second, third, or fourth toes. In some cases calluses may begin to form at these pressure points as well, and many people feel that there is a pebble or lump in their shoe or sock when walking.

Causes: Footwear is one of the most causes of metatarsalgia; wearing high heels is one of the most common causes of this condition. When ball of the foot pain occurs when regular footwear is worn it is generally due to over-pronation.

Treatment: One of the most effective treatments for metatarsalgia—aside from changing shoes—is the use of special dr foot insoles to support and/or re-align the metatarsal bones.

High Heels and Ball of the Foot Pain

When you examine the structure of high heel shoes it’s little wonder that they cause so many problems for the feet; the elevated heel forces the weight of the body forward, and a large amount of weight must be supported by a relatively small area of the body.

Metatarsalgia often develops because of excessive pressure being placed on both the metarsal bones of the foot as well as the surrounding tissues, especially when high heels are used for walking in for an extended period time. This type of shoe structure also causes pain in the area of the Achilles tendon in the back of the heel, which often develops in tandem with tight calf muscles. The Achilles tendon may become tender to the touch and a callus may develop in the ball of the foot; pain often occurs while walking or running, especially during the ‘pushing off’ phase of each step.

Because the feet are one of the most complex areas of the body excessive pressure on the ball of the foot will affect the functioning of the entire foot, and aside from having pain in the metatarsal region high heels often cause problems in the arch and heel as well.

If both the metatarsals of the foot and the Achilles tendon are adversely affected by this type of shoe the entire foot may develop an uncomfortable burning pain and/or shooting pains and inflammation. It often happens that the pain develops gradually over time. It should not be ignored however, as foot pain often becomes chronic and cause serious secondary issues (such as ruptured tendons) to occur.

Wearing high heels forces approximately 80% of a person’s body weight to push into the front of the foot, which freezes the foot into a flexed position for long periods of time and which can eventually cause the surrounding ligaments to become weak and unsupportive. Excessive friction often occurs due to this pressure, aggravating the skin on the underside of the foot, which can cause calluses to develop.

Treatment for Foot Pain Caused by High Heels

Despite the painful consequences of wearing high heel shoes the majority of women are not willing to give up fashion for foot health. Fortunately, there are solutions for this type of discomfort. One of the surest ways to improve foot comfort is to use an insert such as the Dr Foot High Heel Comfort insole, which corrects biomechanical imbalances by providing superior support to arches and metatarsal bones of the feet.

These particular insoles ensure an even distribution of bodyweight throughout the entire foot, which relieves the excessive pressure that would otherwise be forced onto the forefoot alone. Dr Foot insoles significantly reduce the amount of pain and the unpleasant sensations usually associated with wearing high heels, even while standing or walking for long periods of time. In fact, when wearing Dr Foot insoles women often report that they feel as though they are wearing a low heeled shoe or flat shoes rather than high heels.

Dr Foot insoles were created by podiatrists in the UK and are sold across Europe, North America and Australia.

View Dr Foot Insoles to treat Ball of Foot Pain

Normal Shoes and Ball of the Foot Pain

Although most cases of metatarsalgia are related to wearing of high heels it’s entirely possible to develop foot pain while wearing normal, flat shoes, and men can develop this type of pain just as easily as women can.

The reasons for this type of metatarsalgia are varied, and may occur due to intense physical activities such as running, though it may also occur after walking or standing for long periods of time, especially if stiff and/or unsupportive footwear is being worn. This makes police officers, military personnel, farmers, and teachers more susceptible to developing this type of pain. Obesity, and even being somewhat overweight, is also common causes as this places even more pressure on the feet.

The most likely culprit outside of wearing high heels, however, is a biomechanical problem of the feet called over-pronation, which is often frequently referred as excessive pronation. Although pronation of the feet is entirely natural, problems occur when the inward rolling of the ankles is too deep or lasts for too long a time, which interferes with rest of the walking/mobility process.

Our feet are complex; they’re made up of 26 bones and are mobilized by a complex web of muscle tissue and ligaments. The arch of the foot is actually the product of 2 separate arches: the longitudinal arch that runs the length of the foot from heel to toe, and the transverse arch, which runs horizontally across the foot.

In the middle of all of this are five metatarsal bones that begin in the middle of the foot and end in the toes. When over-pronation occurs the longitudinal arch collapses to an excessive degree and the ankle joint rolls inward, uncontrolled, with every foot strike. This places excessive pressure on the metatarsal bones, which can then lead to a collapse of the transverse arch. All of this rolling and collapsing can weaken the structure of the forefoot, and it also frequently causes pain and inflammation to develop in the joints of the metatarsal bones.

 

 

Treatment for Ball of the Foot Pain in Normal Shoes

In the early stages of treatment for ball of the foot pain walking and standing for long periods of time should be kept to a minimum as much as possible. Supportive shoes should be worn at all times and going barefoot should be avoided. Cold therapy will also help to reduce pain levels and inflammation. If calluses have already developed care should be taken in removing them, either through home remedies (such as foot soaking and calluses) or through a professional treatment.

Additionally, shoe insoles are an extremely effective way to protect, support, and cushion the foot, but more importantly they will also correct biomechanical functioning of the feet and minimize the degree to which the foot (or feet) can over-pronate.

Dr Foot insoles provide exceptional support to the arches of the feet; they also re-align the feet and ankles and thereby reduce over-pronation and the resulting pain. By minimizing over-pronation Dr Foot insoles dramatically reduce the amount of pressure placed on the ball of the foot, thereby relieving the inflammation and discomfort caused by metatarsalgia.

View Insoles to treat Ball of Foot Pain

Care should be taken when purchasing insoles—most insoles found at the pharmacy or department stores do not provide metatarsal support and are therefore neither appropriate nor effective when treating metatarsalgia.