Thursday, April 26, 2012

Flat Feet V. High Arches

Is the grass greener on the other side? Frequently people with flat feet yearn for high arches, while those with a high foot arch long for a lower arch. Whether you have a noticeably high or flat arch, being aware of the condition will help in understanding certain arch-related pains and even something as simple as choosing the right pair of running shoes.

Let’s explore the definition, causes, effects and exercises to improve the condition.

Flat Feet

Other names: Pes planus, fallen arches

Definition: Flatfoot is a physiological deformation wherein the foot has no arch; when standing, the bottom of the foot touches the floor entirely.

Causes: All children are born with flat feet, most naturally develop a normal arch as they grow up. For those that do develop an arch, age, obesity and injury are the most common causes resulting in a fallen arch. The posterior tibial tendon, which supports the arch, can weaken as one ages or puts on excessive weight.

Effects: Not all with flat feet experience discomfort; only those with pain or discomfort should seek treatment. Some symptoms of pes planus include:

  • Pronounced aching in the arch or heel of the foot after being on foot for a long time or after exercising
  • Inner ankle swelling, along the posterior tibial tendon
  • Pain in the lower half of your body – calves, knees, hips, lower back
  • Foot stiffness

High Arched Feet

Other names: Pes cavus, high instep

Definition: The opposite of flatfeet, where the entire sole of the foot touches the ground, high arched feet have a generous amount of space between the arch and the floor when standing.

Causes: Typically pes cavus is caused by a bone or nerve condition creating the unnaturally high arch.

Effects: Less frequent than flat foot but more severe in pain, many with high arches find they need corrective treatment or at the least, special and supportive footwear. Many people with high arches place the majority of their weight on the back of the feet, which can cause pain when putting pressure on the feet (walking, exercising, standing). One of the most common effects of this condition is the struggle to find shoes that fit over the arch. Orthotic insoles, footbeds or corrective, supportive shoes may help alleviate mild pain from pes cavus; additionally, surgery is an option to flatten the arch for those with extremely painful situations.

Naturally the bones of the foot will have a slight arch; however, if at any point your arches – whether low or high – become irritating or painful, seek medical help.

About the Author:MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a wholesale distributor of medical support braces, diabetic shoes for men and women and hot or cold therapy systems. MMAR offers one of the largest selections of support braces for pain and postoperative recovery.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Living an Active Life with Osteoarthritis

You have been having joint problems for a while and a recent trip to the doctor confirmed it; you have osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and is a result from normal aging and joint use. Osteoarthritis causes joint pain, stiffness and swelling while limiting flexibility and mobility.

You are probably asking yourself, how am I ever going to do the things I love? Gardening, exercising, cooking, writing and so much more can all be affected by your osteoarthritis. While there is no cure to osteoarthritis, there are a number of ways you can make living an active life with osteoarthritis possible.

Engage in Joint-Friendly Exercises

One of the most important things you can do to treat your osteoarthritis is engage in low or non-impact exercises that will help your joints. Even though many that suffer from osteoarthritis feel pain after exercise or activity, when done correctly, movement should reduce pain and increase mobility and range of motion. It’s important to know which exercises you should be engaging in. These activities can all be increased in intensity or time length to create a cardio workout.

Low Impact Exercises

A general rule of thumb is if at least one foot is on the ground at all times, it is probably a low impact activity. Some common low impact exercises include walking, hiking and stair step machines. These activities cause little stress on your joints.

Non-Impact Exercises
The most joint-friendly activities are non-impact exercises because they do no deteriorate your bones whatsoever. These are exercises that don’t cause any jarring impact on the joints and no weight pressure. Non-impact exercises can include activities like aquatic aerobics, swimming, rowing and elliptical training.

Use the Right Equipment

Assistive devices can help you stay comfortable and mobile whether you are exercising or not. One of the easiest and most helpful things you can use is an orthopedic brace. These braces add support helping your joints function properly. You may find canes, walkers and elevated toilet seats helpful as well. Another popular in-home treatment is hot and cold therapy systems. This type of treatment can reduce swelled joints, pain and stiffness. Many people find hot and cold therapy particularly helpful after exercise.

Appreciate a Different Type of Activity

Many aspects of your life will change with osteoarthritis. If you are accustomed to doing a lot of physically strenuous and demanding activities, you may want to try new types of activities. Meeting with old friends, joining a bridge club, traveling more, keeping up with local politics are just a few of the ways you can stay mentally and physically active without straining your joints.

Listen to Your Body & Your Doctor

If you have acute arthritis, be sure to engage in activities that are not too strenuous for that part of your body. Ask your doctor if you’re straining your joints excessively and what he/she recommends.

About the Author: MMAR Medical is a premier online supplier of medical equipment including diabetic shoes, osteoarthritis knee braces, cold therapy systems and more. MMAR Medical offers the highest quality products matched with excellent customer service. From neck pain to foot pain, browse MMAR Medical’s wide selection and fine exactly what you’re looking for.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How to Treat Lower Back Pain

Sharp pains, shooting pains, constant pain and random pain in the lower back are all classified under lower back pain. Pain in your lower back is common because the lower part of the spine bears most of your body’s weight and this delicate area is surrounded by muscles, ligaments, tendons and blood vessels. Since lower back pain is very common amongst people of all ages, there is a good chance you will experience it at some point in your lifetime. However, you can minimize the severity of this pain by following our treatment tips below.

1. Avoid strenuous exercise

Do not work out when you are experiencing severe lower back pain. Working out includes taking your dog on a long walk or lifting heavy boxes, as both of these activities may overexert your hurt back. Rest your back by relaxing in a comfortable chair and only do light movement. You do not need to stay confined to your bed, but you should be extra careful of your actions.

2. Apply ice and heat

Applying ice to the hurt area several times a day is a great way to reduce the severity of pain. You should apply the ice in twenty minute increments or use acold therapy system on the area for maximum results. Rotate heat therapies in with the ice or cold pack, but only once the spasms have stopped. The heat should be applied in a gentle manner, being sure to leave it on for short time periods. If you experience back pain or other muscle aches often, the VitalWrap hot and cold therapy unit is an excellent choice.

3. Take an over the counter anti-inflammatory medication

Over the count pain medication, especially anti-inflammatory medication will help ease the pain. Doctors often recommend taking the recommended dose of ibuprofen, aspirin or Aleve throughout the day while you are experiencing pain. If the pain is severe, a stronger medication may be needed. Schedule an appointment with your doctor so he can prescribe the right thing for you and your needs.

4. Protect your back while you sleep

Make sure your mattress is sturdy and comfortable, so that your back is getting the support it needs. Place a small pillow between your knees if you lie on your side. If you are a back sleeper, place the pillow below under your knees.

5. Wear a lumbar support brace

Purchasing a top of the line lower back brace will help relieve your pain and it will prevent further injury. The kind of brace that you need varies based on your needs, so speak with your doctor about which medical support back brace is right for you. You probably need a quality back brace that provides additional support in the lower lumbar region and supports the delicate bones in your lower spine. Lumbar braces are a often a good fit because they compress the abdomen, which lessens the pressure on your spine and provides relief, allowing healing to take place.

A lower back injury can be frustrating, but following the treatment tips above will help ensure a quicker recovery. Maintain good posture, exercise to promote strength and flexibility of your muscles and maintain a healthy weight to prevent future lower injuries.

About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is one of North America's premiere medical brace distributors. Based in Houston Texas, MMAR specializes in orthopedic braces, splints and supports, as well as diabetic footwear and cold therapy units.