Foot News Blog

For decades, diabetics have been required to draw their own blood by way of sticking their finger tips, to check their blood sugar.  Combined with the need for insulin injections, diabetes is not a pleasant problem to have.  There is no cure, and management of diabetes is about chasing your blood sugar to determine how much medication is required to deal with the amount of sugar in the blood.

Recent research has been focused finding a more simple solution to the requirement of needle sticks to check blood sugar levels as well as delivery of insulin.  Insulin pumps have become more popular, and involve a small box, about the size of a deck of playing cards, attached to a belt or taped to the skin, with an indwelling needle inserted through the skin for a slow, constant delivery of insulin.  Other research involves an inhaled insulin, without much widespread acceptance.

Even more recently, a continuous blood sugar monitor can be worn to keep track of blood sugar levels, WITHOUT having to routinely stick yourself.  This small device is taped to the skin, and can be worn for up to a week, keeping regular measure of blood sugar level.

With each passing day, more and more research takes place in effort to make the management of diabetes easier.   It is for this reason, in addition to improved public awareness as to the adverse effects of diabetes on the feet, why amputation rates have dropped considerably over the past 10 years.  To avoid diabetes related foot problems, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is, FIRST and FOREMOST, the most important aspect!  If you have diabetes, an annual foot exam is recommended to catch problems EARLY.  Many diabetes related foot problems can be kept MINOR if caught early.  If you or someone you know has advanced diabetes, with or without diabetes related foot problems, give us a call.  Close monitoring of your foot health by Dr. Block and staff at the Bluegrass Foot Center is the BEST way to avoid problems, including those associated with diabetes!

Recent research by the Centers for Disease Control have revealed a significant decline in amputation rates among patients with diabetes.  The amputation rate of diabetic patients in the mid 1990s was 11 per 1,000 patients, and has declined to 4 per 1,000 patients.  Much of this improvement is owed to advances in detection of diabetes related problems, including peripheral neuropathy, peripheral artery disease, and foot deformities, such as Charcot foot.  Diabetic patients frequently develop foot related problems as a result of one or a combination of these problems.  For those in the Owensboro or TriState area, we are here to help!  Regular maintenance and routine foot exams are essential in preventing these diabetes related problems. 

For those diabetic patients without foot problems, an annual foot exam with Dr. Block is always a good way to identify potential problems when they first develop.  For any diabetes related foot problem, call the best source for footcare in the Owensboro area.   The best of foot health from Dr. Block!

Is My Running Shoe Any Good?

There’s Asics, Nike, New Balance, Reebok, Saucony, Brooks, Puma, and countless other brands, offering pronation control, Ultrasorb, Shock absorption, improved stability, gel heel insert, all with hundreds upon hundreds of different styles.  With thousands of thousands of running shoes available, it is difficult, if not impossible, to choose which shoe is right for you?  There are certain functional tests of a shoe that must be met to determine if it is of good quality.

I call it the twist, bend, squeeze test. Virtually all athletic shoes are manufactured outside of theUnited States. When the shoe is taken off of the manufacturing line, the rubber and glue is still hot. If placed in the box before adequately cooling, the heel counter (back of the heel) will not be level with the bottom of the shoe.

The FIRST test is to place the shoe on a flat surface, such as a shelf. The heel of the shoe should be perpendicular to the ground. If it is slanted one direction or another, this suggests the shoe was packaged before it had a chance to cool.  In addition, the heel counter should be rigid enough to resist pressure squeezing the sides together or pushing the back of the heel inward.  This stability of the heel counter further reduces the potential for injury, including ankle sprains.

The SECOND test is to TWIST the shoe. A good quality shoe should have a last (sole) that is of a sturdy enough material to resist twisting.  Tthe sole of all running shoes is made of some form of rubber, and some bend of the sole of the shoe is to be expected; but how MUCH the shoe twists is of key importance.  Shoes that easily twist, such as Keds, offer little, if any, stability. A sturdy midsole is necessary to prevent foot and ankle sprains.

The THIRD test is to BEND the shoe. If the shoe bends directly in the middle of the shoe, the stability provided is negligible.  Again, a more sturdy, rigid area of the middle of the shoe to resist bending is important to prevent twisting and turning of the foot inside the shoe, which could potentially lead to injury.

Finally, the front of the shoe should bend or crease exactly where the balls of the toes bend. This allows proper mechanics in pushing off of the balls of the toes. Some slight resistance to this bend should be present, however if the shoe bends in the wrong area, or bends excessively, chronic pain below the balls of the toes may result.

Limb lengths can vary between left and right, and a slight difference in limb length is quite common.  A number of factors can make the legs function as though they are different lengths.  A slight scoliosis (curvature of the spine), tilt of the pelvis, pathology of the hips, and difference in length of the two legs can all create a scenario of the foot and legs functioning differently.  A slight scoliosis is quite common, and more commonly in females, and may result in tilt of the pelvis.  One easy way to determine if the legs are equal in length is to look at the legs from the back.  Without clothes, the crease of the buttocks should be parallel.  When you get out of the shower, take a hand mirror, and standing as straight as possible, look and see if the lower buttocks looks parallel.  If they aren't you could have a limb length inequality.

A functional limb length inequality sometimes may warrant more investigation, such as hip or back x-rays, neurologic testing, MRI, or other diagnostic studies.  If no other significant problem is identified, a heel lift can be placed under the lower side, to elevate this leg, evening out the back.  This may relieve low back and hip pain, often associated with limb length inequality.  In addition, various types of foot pain can develop as a result of this inequality as well.  If you have low back pain or problems, hip pain, or chronic pain in one foot, evaluation of your limb length may reveal a possible cause.  For more information or a thorough evaluation, give us a call! 

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