Using the arch supporting flip flops

Foot supports are a effective intervention used by podiatry practitioners to take care of a variety of foot problems. All of the clinical experiences and scientific evidence is that they are quite useful. Nevertheless, one trouble with them is that they have to be worn in footwear. That is certainly a lifestyle option, but at times the choices and the climate do not really accommodate the use of the proper shoes which foot orthotics could be worn in.

One query that you see asked frequently is that are those flip flops which have an arch support built into them, can they be used rather than foot orthotics. There are a number of brands out there of flip flops which have different amounts of arch support built into them.

Could they be as good as foot orthotics?

Probably not. The support which is included in them is just like what you would get from a mass produced foot orthoses or one of the common over-the-counter type of foot supports. That is fine if you have a typical arch shape. However, that is not good if you don’t. Foot orthotics usually are designed to be unique to your foot type.

Should you use them?

There’s no harm in using these and they absolutely can be used as an adjunct to foot orthotics when you’re not wearing shoes. As if they can be utilized as an alternative, you would need to discuss that with your foot doctor.

I do keep hearing about the Archies online, but I haven’t tried them as they are from Australia. Apparently loads of podiatry clinics in Australia retail them.

Dealing with Chilblains

Chilblains are a relatively common problem when the weather is colder. They are a painful and itchy reaction of the small blood vessels in the toes to the changes in temperature. They results in a painful red patch, that later becomes a dark blue color if they become chronic. They have recently been getting some extra publicity in the mass media due to them being more common in those infected with coronovirus, getting the name, COVID toes.

Chilblains are a seasonal problem and occur in all countries in which the climate gets cold enough to cause the reaction in the skin. An episode of PodChatLive had a deep look at the problem of chilblains:

The best way to deal with chilblains is to prevent them by keeping the feet warm. If a chilblain does develop then it needs to be kept warm and the protected to prevent the skin from breaking down. There are various chilblain creams that can be used to help to stimulate the circulation.

Helping Severs Disease

Severs disease or calcaneal apophysitis is a prevalent condition of the heel bone in developing children. At the rear of the heel bone is a growth area that most of the development of the heel bone occurs at and this problem is an overuse injury of that growing area. It is more prevalent in children which are active, are overweight and are taller. The common signs of Severs disease is soreness at the back and sides of the heel bone, particularly after activity. Severs disease is regarded as a self limiting disorder, because the child will always at some point grow out of it when growth of the heel pain stops and the developing area of cartilage inside the bone combines with the rest of the heel bone. That doesn’t indicate it shouldn’t be treated and may not be helped before that growth ceases.

This episode from PodChatLive was a comprehensive discussion into the issue of Sever’s disease/Calcaneal apophysitis:

A great way to handle this problem can be managing the child’s and parent’s expectations as well as way of life to maintain the signs and symptoms under control. The strains must be controlled via modifying and limiting activity levels. This could be difficult and could require some negotiation with the child. If the discomfort is severe after sports activity, then ice can be used to help reduce that. Often a cushioned heel insert might help protect the heel. Long term the prospects is good as they will outgrow this by the mid-teenage years.

Can a plantar plate injury heal on its own?

This is a question that is often asked and does not have a clear or obvious answer. Everyone is looking for easy and natural ways to treat any condition and a plantar plate injury is no exception. The plantar plate is a strong ligament under the joints in the forefoot that can sometimes get strained due to overuse. Occasionally a small tear develops in that plantar plate ligament.

The typical symptom is pain under the ball of the foot that starts as an ache that gets progressively worse. It is typically much more painful on palpation or poking it. Also the affected toe does tend to be in a more dorsiflexed position.

So, can it heal by itself?

A common treatment (strapping or taping) holds the toe in a plantarflexed position so that it can heal. Is that healing on its own? It could be considered that or is the taping seen as a treatment so that its not healing on its own? Or is this just semantics?

In reality they probably can not heal on there own. They can healing with the strapping and maybe a stiffer soled shoe given time. If those types of treatments do not help, then a surgical repair of the tear in the plantar plate is probably warranted.