My Blog

Posts for category: Footwear

By Dr. Jeffrey Frederick
June 09, 2014
Category: Footwear
Tags: Footwear   exercise  

Proper Shoes Protect your Feet while you’re Biking.Cycling is a great exercise for all ages. Naturally, biking comes with some basic safety gear—helmets. This simple protective piece has been responsible for saving countless lives by protecting the head during accidents. That’s why the Lids for Kids event, taking place June 14 in Berkley, MI, is so valuable for young bikers. It provides them with a free helmet and basic safety information. Of course, your head isn’t the only part of you that needs protection when biking. Cycling and your feet are linked, too.

Cycling is a wonderful activity for your lower limbs. It doesn’t have the hard impacts that running does, but still works your feet and ankles. You have to push through your arch and the ball of the foot to move the pedals forward. However, like any other sport, it does have some risk for foot injuries. Since usually only the ball of the foot is on the pedal, the pressure you exert isn’t evenly dispersed through your lower limbs. This can allow you to develop tendonitis, metatarsalgia, shin splints, and pinched nerves.

Wearing the proper shoes can make a significant difference in your foot comfort. Most people forget about their shoes, even though they are an important part of normal biking equipment. You need a pair with stiff soles that won’t collapse through the arch when you pedal. This controls the stress on the foot when you push down. Make sure your footwear has sufficient padding through the forefoot, too, to minimize the pressure there.

Don’t underestimate the connection between cycling and your feet. You want your lower limbs to stay comfortable when you ride. If you notice foot pain when you bike, don’t ignore it. Contact NorthPointe Foot & Ankle, where we can take care of your lower limbs. Call (248) 545-0100 or use our online contact form to reach us.

Photo Credit: arztsamui via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Dr. Jeffrey Frederick
July 05, 2013
Category: Footwear

Gel InsertsI am sure you have heard the commercials by now which advertise happy people who appear light on their feet, cleaning the house or walking briskly in wearing a business suit and dress shoes, all the while with a large toothy smile.  Gel inserts seem to be the new craze in terms of over-the-counter shoe inserts, but what is the big deal?  Are these inserts “better” than the older bulky models?

First, let’s talk about the main types of over-the-counter (or non-prescription) shoe inserts.  It is important to note up front that these inserts are not true “orthotics” as they are not made to alter the biomechanics of the foot.  Instead they function to provide extra support, cushion, or less the friction between the foot and the shoe.  Store bought inserts can either be accommodative, which means they mold to the shape of the foot and are made from foam or gel, or supportive, which tend to be more rigid and made from plastic. 

The two types serve different purposes as well.  Accommodative inserts serve to provide comfort and can be used for conditions like decreased fat pad at the ball of the foot or heel, or to reduce shear forces pressure points such as with painful corns or calluses.  Supportive inserts can be used for heel or arch pain as they function to lift the arch of the foot, thereby relieving stress at the insertion of the plantar fascia. 

Store-bought inserts are not a bad option for mild cases of common foot complaints.  Most inserts cost less than $10, which can be a good start for a minor problem.  The more expensive models for dress shoes tend to differ only slightly than the more economical types, so choose a basic pair first.  However, for a thorough foot exam, which includes taking into account the biomechanical function and structure of the feet, be sure to see your podiatrist. 

Thank you for visiting our website!  Please continue to learn more about your foot care needs by reading other informative articles and by visiting our helpful links.  NorthPointe Foot & Ankle is located in Berkley, MI and has been serving people around the Southfield, Berkley, Ferndale, and Royal Oak area for over 30 years.  Request an appointment via our website or call our office at (248) 545-0100.

Photo used with permission from Microsoft.

By Dr. Jeffrey Frederick
June 18, 2013
Category: Footwear
Tags: sandals   heel pain   blisters   flip-flops   warts   athlete's foot   sprains  


SandalsThe American Podiatric Medical Association has compiled a list of “approved” sandals that carry the APMA’s Seal of Acceptance – these sandals are designated as those that are shown to allow for the most normal foot function and promote quality health.  The list includes 197 different sandals or flip-flops!  Check out their website for more specific information and links to the companies that sell these products.

Sandals can still be stylish while at the same time provide support.  Depending on your footcare needs, many different models are available and can be found for specific foot problems.  For example, for hyperhydrosis (or feet that sweat too much), avoid leather and instead try a sandal made from nylon, spenco, or rubber.  For arch or heel pain, look for a sandal with a sturdy heel and adequate arch fill, like Birkenstocks or Chacos.  People with diabetes should steer clear of open-toed sandals and instead look for a clog style with mesh upper for a lighter summer shoe. 

Suggestions:

  • Do shop for a flip-flop made of high-quality, soft leather. Leather minimizes the potential for blisters and other types of irritation.
  • Do gently bend the flip-flop from end to end, ensuring it bends at the ball of the foot. Shoes of any kind should never fold in half.
  • Do ensure that your foot doesn't hang off of the edge of the flip-flop.
  • Do wear a sturdy pair of flip-flops when walking around a public pool, at the beach, in hotel rooms and in locker room areas. Walking barefoot can expose foot soles to plantar warts and athlete's foot.


Cautions:

  • Don't re-wear flip-flops year after year. Inspect older pairs for wear. If they show signs of severe wear, discard them.
  • Don't ignore irritation between toes, where the toe thong fits. This can lead to blisters and possible infections.
  • Don't wear flip-flops while walking long distances. Even the sturdiest flip-flops offer little in terms of shock absorption and arch support.
  • Don't do yard work while wearing flip-flops. Always wear a shoe that fully protects feet when doing outside activities such as mowing the lawn or using a weed-eater.
  • Don't play sports in flip-flops. This practice can lead to twisting of the foot or ankle, as well as sprains and breaks.

For that rare person who has absolutely NO foot problems or pain with their feet, those $2 rubber flips flops are all yours…for now!

Thank you for visiting our website!  Please continue to learn more about your foot care needs by reading other informative articles and by visiting our helpful links.  NorthPointe Foot & Ankle is located in Berkley, MI and has been serving people around the Southfield, Berkley, Ferndale, and Royal Oak area for over 30 years.  Request an appointment via our website or call our office at (248) 545-0100.

Photo used with permission from Microsoft

By Dr. Jeffrey Frederick
March 21, 2013
Category: Footwear
Tags: exercise   balance   Injury   high heels   workout classes  


The latest workout craze may seem like a better way to get an injury rather than to lose a few pounds, but workout centers across the country have started to advertise high-heel themed workout classes.  In the classes participants are encouraged to wear high heels to the class, which consists of exercises tailored to improve balance and stability while walking in heels.  Can this be a good idea?

One class, called “Heel Hop”, seeks to target muscles that support the body and allow for fluid movements when wearing high heels and even includes high-kicking in different directions.  The workouts supposedly focus on core abdominal strength by encouraging proper posture. The Crunch Fitness chain of gyms offers “Stiletto Strength”, which dedicates a special portion of the class to an aerobic runway style parade as each participant strolls across the room individually. 

Some may wonder, after spending so much money on cute high heels, then why not wear them with confidence?  The truth is, if you require a specialized workout class to maintain adequate balance to walk in heels, then heels may not be for you.  Also, many foot and ankle ailments can be exacerbated by heels, which place unnatural stress on the metatarsal heads and other soft tissues of the forefoot. 

Of course, many experts—and common sense—warn that wearing high heels for extended periods can increase the risk of injury. Recently a study at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, and the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, found that high-heel wearers experienced "alterations in muscle-tendon architecture," which led to fatigue and strain.  When heels are worn, the calf muscles in the leg tighten and can become contracted over time, leading to an equinus deformity.  The biggest concern, however, is low back and hip pain due to increased load and stress to these areas.  Do your whole body a favor – ditch the heels and slip on some comfy athletic shoes instead.

Thank you for visiting our website!  Please continue to learn more about your foot care needs by reading other informative articles and by visiting our helpful links.  NorthPointe Foot & Ankle is located in Berkley, MI and has been serving people around the Southfield, Berkley, Ferndale, and Royal Oak area for over 30 years.  Request an appointment via our website or call our office at (248) 545-0100.