Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Numb feet, lost keys and the OrthoWedge shoe



Numb feet require a little more attention
I was talking to a insulin pump group a few months ago and I showed them a number of items I found in peoples shoes over the years. My collection included toys, tooth picks,hair pins, nails, coins, rolled up socks and paper clips. 
One person in the group said that he has had neuropathy with numb feet for many years and had become  less careful with his daily foot care .
One day he lost his car keys and spent 2 to 3 days searching and finally found them , in his shoe.
He also found significant damage to the distal part of his foot. 

Eyes and hands have to replace the loss of pain sensation
The failure to recognize ongoing damage to numb feet or any other part of our body is not that uncommon.  One doctor , who spent years treating people with Leprosy  , felt that the lack of pain sensation essentially removes that part of the body from a persons general awareness and leads to neglect of the effected part. I believe he is probable right. Some patients are unaware of a large ulcer or enjury until they or someone else notices blood or pus on a sock or bed sheets. One older patient of mine was brought to my office by a friend who noticed blood and yellow material on his friends sock. I found  infection and embedded tooth pick in his big toe. I have had patients severely burn the soles of their feet setting by a campfire.

There are some general precautions for anyone with numb feet from any cause:
   * your eyes and hands have to replace your missing pain sensation . look at the bottom of your feet daily  
   * do not go barefooted even in the house
   * avoid heat on the effected area . A heating pad or  heated blanket can cause damage
   * shake out your shoes and put your hand in your shoe before putting it on

Our fellow with the lost keys continued
His doctor recommended , the Darco orthoWedge shoe and his enjury slowly healed.
This shoe helps relieve pressure on the damaged area.  Many foot injuries occur on the bottom distal part of the foot.This is also a favorite place for callouses and pressure ulcers to occur also.
These areas will not heal unless you remove pressure from the area. The shear forces on the wound are very high with any weight bearing and interferes with healing.

Over the years I found that the orthoWedge shoe by Darco or the use of a total contact cast worked very well in most cases . The shoe is easy to use and less expensive and is worth trying first. I generally kept a supply in my office.

Have Fun , Be Smart and check your feet
David Calder,MD

4 comments:

  1. Man, I'd hate it if I lost feeling in my feet too. Guess I got to meet up with the foot doctors and ask for their expert advice before anything happens.

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  2. Orthopedic shoes are quite expensive but they will provide the needed alignment of the foot. However at home, I intend to wear something not too hard and prefers a soft furry feel to it. I think I'll get me one of those uggs online.

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  3. Thank you for your comment. I agree wearing any type of shoe in the house is better than going bare foot. The name Uggs just sounds comfortable. Dr. Calder

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  4. I want to buy kids shoes online that are soft and comfortable. My son's skin is quite delicate and he can be pretty clumsy, too. I just thought a good pair of shoes might help a bit.

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Your comments and questions are appreciated. David Calder,MD