All Orthotics Are Not Created Equally

Orthotics are prescribed for several painful conditions, but not all orthotics and inserts are created equally. Over-the-counter inserts that can be purchased at most athletic stores and drug stores can be helpful to a degree, but they soon lose their effectiveness or cause other issues. Today, Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists is discussing some of the differences between store-bought orthotics and those that are prescribed by a podiatrist.

How do you know if you need orthotics?
You may benefit from orthotics if you have:

  • Feet with high arches or flat feet;
  • Painful, aching ankles or feet after standing for long periods of time;
  • Pain in your hips, back or knees;
  • Foot problems like bunions, plantar fasciitis, etc.

What Are Custom Orthotics?

Orthotics are custom-made shoe inserts that are used to treat a wide variety of ankle and foot conditions and increase overall comfort. They help people walk, run, and stand more comfortably.

Prescription orthotics are crafted after being custom-molded to your feet by hand with a plaster casting to produce duplicate shells of the feet. These molds help the podiatrist create your custom-fit orthotics.

While our ankles and feet change over time, custom orthotics seldom change. If you have – or had – custom orthotics, your prescription may need to be changed to fit your changing ankles and feet as you age. They can be altered to fit practically any shoe or activity.

Orthotic insoles are prescribed for people of all ages and activities for any number of conditions. While OTC inserts may be designed for your shoe size, they are not tailored to fit your foot or treat your existing condition.

The reason there is such a difference in price between the two types has to do with the durability and quality of the materials used, together with the customized molding process. They may cost more, but they last longer and are much more effective.

If you suffer from chronic foot, heel, or toe pain that you think may be related to how your feet are supported as you walk and run, contact the office of Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists to schedule a consultation. Call our office today at (425) 455-0936 to book your visit or schedule an appointment online.

Men’s Health Month: 5 Healthy Feet Tips For Men

June is National Men’s Health month. And while men aren’t typically too concerned with the feel, smell or look of their feet, when summer rolls around, that often changes.  Today Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists is sharing five easy ways that men can make their feet feel and look better.

  1. Change your socks each day. Feet tend to sweat during the day, so it’s important to change your socks at least once or twice a day to prevent excessive moisture.
  2. Wash your feet using soap and water. Wash your feet daily using soap and water to prevent or control athlete’s foot. This is a common condition for men who typically wear shoes that don’t breathe well.
  3. Dry your feet thoroughly. When finished washing your feet, always remember to dry the areas between the toes. If you apply lotion, don’t put it between the toes because it can cause tissue breakdown and ulceration.
  4. Cut toenails properly. Sterilize your toenail clipper with rubbing alcohol and make a few small cuts. Don’t attempt to cut the whole nail at once and don’t dig at the corners.  Just cut straight across, leaving the nails a bit long. Cutting them too short can leave the nail plate vulnerable to additional weakening, infection or lead to an ingrown toenail. It’s important to cut nails when they are dry because wet nails can bend or tear when they are too soft.
  5. Don’t be tempted to perform ‘bathroom surgery.’ Men typically take a more hands-on approach to manage a nonthreatening foot issue. Therefore, they are more likely to engage in ‘bathroom surgery.’ But instead of attempting to remove areas of your flesh, treat calluses using a pumice stone or put padding in your shoe.

In some cases, toenail fungus can be treated by removing part of the nail or by applying an over-the-counter anti-fungal medication exclusively for nails. If you have blisters, leave them alone. If one should tear, clean the area with soap and water, keep the skin flap in place, and apply an antibiotic ointment and a clean bandage.

If you want your feet to be the happy and healthy this summer – and show them off proudly – contact the office of Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists today at (425) 455-0936 to book an appointment or schedule it online.

Don’t Ignore Toenail Fungus – It’s Contagious!

The condition known as toenail fungus is considered to be contagious. The fungus that causes this infection typically thrives in moist, warm environments. Today, Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists is sharing information regarding this common – but potentially dangerous – condition.

The places where the fungal bacteria thrive include locker rooms, shower room floors, and adjacent areas. With proper footwear, the probability of contracting toenail fungus may be decreased.

This infection can also develop if a patient’s toenails are wet for extended periods of time, sometimes due to wearing sweaty shoes for successive days. Signs of toenail fungus may include the nail thickening, and the color changing to a green, brown, or yellow.

Studies have revealed that when early treatment is initiated, damage to the nail may be reduced. If you think you might have a case of toenail fungus, it’s important that you consult with a podiatrist who can advise you regarding proper treatment options. When left untreated, toenail fungus can spread to skin, fingernails, or other toenails.

Symptoms of Toenail Fungus:

  • Oddly-shaped or warped nails;
  • Yellowish color on nails;
  • Separated/loose nail;
  • Buildup nail fragments lodged under the nail;
  • Broken, brittle or thickened nail.

Treatment for Toenail Fungus

If self-care tactics and over-the-counter medications do not improve your fungus, your podiatrist may opt for prescription medication. Even if you find relief from your symptoms, you can still have a repeat infection down the road.

Prevention of Toenail Fungus

In order to avoid getting toenail fungus in the future, always make sure to wash your feet with soap and water then dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes.

When cutting your toenails, trim them straight across instead of in a rounded shape. It is important that you don’t attempt to cover up discolored nails with polish because it will prevent your nail from being able to breathe.

In some instances, a surgical procedure may be needed to remove the toenail fungus. You’ll need to consult with your podiatrist regarding the best treatment options for your situation.

Because it is considered to be contagious, if you suspect you have toenail fungus, seek treatment immediately. Contact the office of Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists at (425) 455-0936 to book an appointment or schedule an appointment online so we can discuss your treatment options.