Monday, October 19, 2009

The Health Benefits of Custom Orthotic Insoles

Your gait (i.e. your style or way of walking) is of critical importance to your overall health and well-being. Everyone has a distinct way of walking that is dictated by body structure and external forces such as footwear and terrain. Walking is not merely a leg and foot activity; it involves movements of just about every aspect of your body, from your swinging arms and shoulders to the slight pivot of the hip. For this reason, your gait will not only affect your weight-bearing joints (ankles, knees and hips), but it can also impact your shoulders, neck and back.

The average person walks more than 2500 steps each day. If you have an incorrect gait, you are subjecting your entire body, from your ankles to your neck, to repetitive, potentially-harmful movements that can result in structural damage and pain. Many people are surprised to learn that the pain in their shoulders or back is the result of how they walk. The easiest and most effective way to correct an incorrect gait is through custom orthotic insoles. The right insole will not only improve your posture, but it can also significantly decrease pain and discomfort.

How do you select an orthotic that is right for you? There are a lot of prefabricated orthotic insoles out there, but not all insoles are created equal. Most foot specialists agree each that custom orthotics will provide the greatest health benefits, especially when pain management is the primary concern. Foam is frequently used to create an impression of the foot. From that impression an orthotics specialist can create orthotic inserts that fit your unique feet perfectly. It never ceases to amaze me how many people find remarkable improvement when they find the right orthotic insole. If you are suffering from chronic joint, back, shoulder or hip pain, it is certainly worth exploring how you might benefit from a custom orthotic insert.

About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a wholesale medical supplier specializing in diabetic footwear including orthotic inserts. Please visit for more information.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Understanding and Treating Contractures

Contracture (also known as joint or muscle contracture) is the shortening of a muscle or tendon which results in moderate to severe restricted range of motion (ROM.) It is often found in the ankle-foot, hip, knee, elbow, and wrist- hand-finger areas of the body. A contracture can develop for many reasons, but the primary causes are stroke and prolonged immobilization such as bed rest. Stroke victims are particularly vulnerable as attacks are often followed by significant muscle weakness and spastic muscle contractions. Contracture can also be caused by neurological complications, birth defect, deformity, and burn scarring.

The principal symptom of contracture is loss of normal movement which can impede daily activities. It can also be quite painful and cause the skin to breakdown. For these reasons, it is critical to prevent contracture when possible and proactively treat contracture when diagnosed. Thankfully, proper contracture management can significantly improve the afflicted individual’s quality of life.

Contracture treatments vary and depend on the individual’s unique situation. Joint immobilization and stretching can help in some situations. In others, pre-fabricated contracture management devices and physical therapy may be required. Stroke victims can particularly benefit from the use of orthotics such as braces or splints. When selecting a contracture management orthotic, it is important to make sure that the device is both comfortable and user-friendly. Many of today’s devices are engineered so that they can be easily adjusted for a custom fit or disassembled for washing. Soft cushioning and a comfortable fit will help to prevent skin damage, a common complication of contracture treatment. The contracture management device should also offer sturdy hinges that support the full range of motion. In some instances heat therapy can be used in conjunction with a splint or brace as it allows for greater elasticity in the soft tissues. Occasionally surgical intervention is required, but for the majority of patients, contracture management devices are a less invasive and more convenient option. Those with a predisposition towards contractures, such as individuals with palsy, may also benefit from preventative measures such as strategic stretching, muscle engagement, and the use of orthotic devices such as braces or splints.

To find out more about contracture treatment options, speak to your physician or orthopedic specialist/surgeon.

Note: This information is not intended to supplement or replace advice from a medical professional, or to diagnose or treat any condition.

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of orthopedic medical products including a wide selection of braces and supports. To find a quality hinged knee brace, wrist brace, lumbar brace or other quality brace, please visit

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Diabetic Foot Care

Approximately one fifth of diabetics are hospitalized for foot problems. There are many unfortunate factors that contribute to this. Diabetics endure an increased build up of calluses which can thicken and break, leading to ulcers. Poor circulation impairs the diabetic’s ability to fight infection and heal. To further complicate this, diabetics frequently experience nerve damage which can diminish sensation; they may not even realize an injury has occurred. Even simple injuries such as minor cuts and scratches can become infected when they go unnoticed. In severe situations, these infections may require antibiotics, hospitalization, and even amputation. For this reason, it is of critical importance that diabetics practice rigorous foot care. The following is a recommended list of care procedures that will help keep diabetic feet healthy.

  • Never ignore foot irritation of any kind.
  • Wash your feet every day with warm water but do not soak them. Test the water heat with your elbow to ensure you do not burn your feet.
  • If the skin on your feet is dry, use lotion, but be careful not to put lotion between your toes as the area can breed bacteria.
  • After washing your feet, file calluses and corns down gently with an emery board.
  • Trim your toenails once a week (or as needed) after you shower. Shape the nail around the toes, careful not to cut too short. File the edges to prevent snagging and tearing.
  • Check your feet every day for sores, blisters, cuts, redness, irritation, calluses or other issues. If you cannot reach your feet, use a mirror or have a trusted friend or family member check for you.
  • Always wear shoes or slippers. Never walk around bare foot.
  • Choosing the right diabetic footwear is critical as most diabetic foot ailments are the direct result of poor fitting shoes. You should always wear shoes that fit correctly. They should not be too tight or allow your foot to slide around. High heels and pointed toes should be avoided whenever possible. Breathable fabrics such as leather and canvas along with mesh vents help to prevent bacteria-friendly environments. Always use stocking or socks which help to stave off blisters. There are even special seamless socks for diabetics which further minimize the potential for irritation.
  • Again – it’s worth repeating - never ignore foot irritation of any kind. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any issues. Warning signs include swelling, pain in your legs, cracks (especially around the heel), corns or calluses that bleed, nail issues, open sores, changes in color of the skin, and changes in skin temperature.
  • Even if injury free, visit your doctor for an annual foot check-up or as recommended by a medical professional.

Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition, or be taken as medical advice. For more information related to your unique situation, please speak with your personal physician.

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a wholesale distributor of comfort footwear offering a wide selection of shoes for diabetics as well as custom made orthotics. Please visit for more information.