Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Treatment for Severe Flat Feet in Children

Flat feet (also known as “prenated foot” or “fallen arches”) is a condition where one or both feet do not display a normal arch when standing, walking or running. In infancy, all children appear to be flat footed because of a soft fat pad on the foot. Over time, however, that fat pad dissipates and you will be able to discern a clear arch when the child stands. With flat-footed children the foot may appear normal when sitting, but once weight is applied to the foot, it will roll forward at the ankle creating the appearance of a flat or fallen arch.

Flat feet are usually painless and nonthreatening. Unfortunately, in severe cases, a prenated foot condition may lead to pain or aching in the ankle and foot. If your child complains that they are experiencing foot or ankle pain, it is important that they see a foot specialist to discern the root cause. The doctor can determine if fallen arches are the culprit, rather than more serious hip or knee issues. In some rare cases, flat feet may actually be the result of fused foot bones. A simple X-ray can help determine if that is the case. In some cases, the child may benefit from the use of a custom orthotic insole or heel cup that will resituate the foot and alleviate discomfort. Surgery is not a common treatment for children with flat feet, nor is activity avoidance. Most flat-footed children live very normal lives, playing sports and running just as children with normal arches. Treatment is really focused on alleviating pain, and not permanently correcting the arch itself.

When looking for orthotic inserts to treat your child’s foot pain, look for quality which will deliver longer-lasting comfort. Custom orthotic insoles are generally the best choice. You want an insole that will cushion the foot, absorb shock, and transfer to many of the child’s shoes for a consistently comfortable fit. There are a number of different insole styles available depending on your child’s needs. Consult with your doctor to determine what type of support the child requires.

About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a leading orthotic device supplier specializing in diabetic footwear including shoes and socks for diabetics as well as a full line of orthotic insoles.

Monday, December 14, 2009

How Diabetes Can Affect Your Skin

During the dry, winter months, it is normal to experience dry, flaky skin. For some, this is simply an inconvenience, but for diabetics, it may be a sign of more serious issues. Nerve damage, a common side effect of diabetes, can lead to dangerous skin conditions which are in turn aggravated by the cold weather. When serious diabetic skin issues arise, urgent care is required. The American Diabetes Association (link) notes that up to a third of all diabetics will experience a diabetes related skin problem in their lifetime. Below is a list of possible dermatologic disorders that are common to diabetics followed by specific tips for avoiding these potentially dangerous conditions.

  • Intense itching: Especially common in the lower legs, itching can be caused by dryness, poor circulation, yeast infections, or a combination of these. To complicate things, diabetic nerve damage often results in decreased sweating, thus robbing the skin of natural moisture. When scratched, skin may crack and become infected. For this reason, it is best to resist scratching when possible.

  • Infections: Bacterial and fungal infections can be very serious. Infections are most frequently experienced on the feet, but can also occur in skin folds (for example, under arms or breasts) or even in the mouth as Thrush. If you suspect skin infection seek treatment immediately.

  • Necrobiosis: Insulin-resistant diabetics may develop red/purple spot-like lesions on their lower legs and feet known at necrobiosis. The spots can get as large as four inches in diameter. This is a rare condition and typically not dangerous, unless the lesions break open which can make them prone to infection. If a lesion does rupture, seek medical help immediately.

  • Digital sclerosis: Some diabetics may develop thick, tight, “waxy” skin on their hands, feet, or neck. Though not dangerous, it is uncomfortable and is best treated with moisturizer and by bringing blood glucose to normal levels.

  • Acanthosis nigricans: Insulin-resistant, obese diabetics may experience acanthosis nigricans which is characterized by thickened, "velvety" skin in skin folds. There is no known cure for this condition, though losing weight will often lessen symptoms.

  • Diabetic dermopathy: Brown scaly patches on the shins and legs may indicate diabetic dermopathy, the most common diabetic dermatologic condition. This ailment typically develops in older diabetics and can be an indicator of other, more serious diabetic problems. For this reason, anyone suffering diabetic dermopathy should immediately visit their physician.

  • Atherosclerosis: Typically the result of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis is the narrowing of blood vessels resulting in skin thinning, especially on the legs. Since thin skin is more delicate, this can lead to skin ruptures and possible infection. Most amputations are caused by atherosclerosis complications, so skin care and medical treatment is imperative.

Many of the before-mentioned conditions can be avoided or minimized with vigilant personal care. Keep skin clean and moisturized. Make it a point to examine your skin regularly for persistent or unusual symptoms. Avoid extremely hot baths, showers, or hot tubs. Use talcum powder in skin folds to prevent excess moisture. Do not smoke as smoking has been proven to worsen many of these skin conditions. Wear comfortable diabetic footwear and orthotic inserts to protect feet from wear and tear, and use gloves when gardening or doing rugged activities. Lastly, always see a medical professional whenever you experience a skin complication that concerns you.

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 the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a wholesale distributor of comfort footwear offering a wide selection of diabetic footwear and orthotic inserts. Please visit www.mmarmedical.com for more information.