Footwear for Deformities
Foot deformities can be present at birth or can be acquired as you age. In either case, if you have a foot deformity, finding comfortable footwear can be difficult. However, there are options available.
Custom-made shoes can be tailored to your specific foot deformity to help reduce pain and prevent injury. Plaster casts and strappings can be used on your feet to correct deformities.
Learn more about these options for dealing with foot deformities:
When you suffer from a foot deformity, it can be difficult to walk in shoes. Most shoes are not designed to accommodate bunions, hammertoes, diabetic feet, and arthritic feet. In some cases, shoes can be modified to relieve pressure on the feet and absorb shock. When deformities become severe, the best way to relieve pain is to invest in a pair of custom-made shoes.
Who can benefit from custom-made shoes?
Custom-made shoes combine function, protection, accommodation, and aesthetics. They can help:
- Relieve pressure on the skin
- Absorb shock
- Redistribute weight
- Encourage movement
- Decrease the risk of ulceration in diabetic patients
Factors that make custom-made shoes necessary
So when it is best to invest in a custom-made shoe rather than a ready-made shoe? Several factors can help determine when a custom-made shoe is necessary:
- Type of foot deformity: People with forefoot conditions can accommodate their deformity with in-depth footwear; severe midfoot and heel deformities are best treated with custom-made shoes.
- Foot size: When there is a significant size differential between feet (more than a few sizes), it is better to invest in a custom-made shoe rather than splitting pairs of shoes. Custom shoes can be designed to hide internal lifts and accommodate edema.
- Treatment history: If you have already tried unsuccessfully to treat a foot deformity with in-depth shoes or orthotics, a podiatrist will usually recommend investing in custom-made shoes.
- Sensation: Individuals with advanced stages of neuropathy are always best suited for custom-made shoes. They can significantly reduce the risk of developing skin ulcers.
If you are suffering from a foot deformity and cannot find comfort in store-bought shoes, visit your podiatrist to get fitted for custom-made shoes.
Plaster Casts and Strappings
Congenital and acquired foot deformities have a multitude of treatment options. When possible, most physicians will recommend starting with conservative methods; it is best to avoid surgical treatment of foot deformities in both children and adults until necessary.
Two non-surgical options for the treatment of foot deformities like hammertoe, clubfoot, flat feet, pes cavus, and plantar fasciitis include plaster casts and foot strappings.
Clubfoot is a type of foot deformity present at birth. The appearance of clubfoot is unmistakable; the foot is turned inward or downward.
Treatment of clubfoot should begin right away following birth. In the last few decades, one of the most successful methods of treatment for clubfoot has been the Ponsetti method, which involves both stretching the feet and multiple plaster castings. Plaster casting is now used on virtually all children with clubfoot as soon as possible after birth. A doctor will gently manipulate the clubfoot and then place it in a cast that stretches from the toes to the upper thigh. Casts are changed at weekly or semi-weekly intervals until the deformity is corrected. Every new cast brings the foot closer to normal.
Acquired foot deformities like plantar fasciitis and heel spurs can be extremely uncomfortable if left untreated. In some cases, something as simple as foot strapping can reverse the symptoms of these painful deformities.
Foot strapping is commonly used by athletes to help lift foot arches and relieve some of the tension on the plantar fascia ligaments.
Foot strapping can help:
- Aid in the healing of the foot following injury.
- Improve foot biomechanics.
- Reduce painful symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
- Reduce the chances of injury during athletics.
Foot strapping along the ball of the feet and the heel can help restrict the amount of stretching in the feet and prevent tearing of the plantar fascia. The success of foot strapping depends on the severity of injury. Talk to a podiatrist to find out if foot strapping can help reduce your symptoms.
To get fitted for custom-made shoes or to find out if plaster casts or strappings can help correct your foot deformity, schedule an appointment with a skilled podiatrist.