Advice to help you put your best foot forward
We all need a little support from time to time, and the same goes for our feet. Enter foot supports! Stick with us for expert information and advice – we’re talking about the different types and their benefits.
What are foot supports?
Foot supports fall into three categories – orthotics, comfort supports, and tube supports. They can:
• Help with naturally-occurring problems in the foot. Orthotic devices aim to improve foot function to help stop further problems from developing
• Provide comfort and a little protection against common foot problems like blisters
• Support the ankle joint, either to protect against injury or to help an injury get better. These range from mechanical supports for sprains and strains to plaster casts for fractures
Let’s start on the right foot and explore more about how foot supports can help you.
Orthotics can help with naturally-occurring foot problems. Sometimes the bones or ligaments in our feet can become out of shape or incorrectly positioned when we walk, which can cause foot, ankle, knee, hip or even back pain.
If you have pain in your foot without having an injury, check in with your GP. They might refer you to a podiatrist who can check the way you walk and the shape of your feet.
Comfort supports – like insoles and shoe inserts – help ease pain in the soles of your feet. If you often stand for long periods, they can offer some support because they're made from cushiony materials like foam or gel.
If a blister becomes red, hot or more painful, it may be infected. See your pharmacist or your GP if this happens.
If your feet hurt after sport or exercise, this could mean your shoes aren’t fitting right, or they’re not suitable for the activity you’re doing. To reduce the risk of injury to your feet and ankles during exercise, make sure:
• The bend in your shoe matches the bend in your foot
• There are no areas that rub on the inside of your shoes
• Your laces are tight enough
If you need more protection for your ankle, an ankle support can help. It’s a piece of material that sits tightly around your ankle and the bottom part of your foot.
If you have a sprain or strain, using a support can help stabilise the tissues in your foot, allowing them to heal. Your GP, pharmacist or injury specialist can advise whether you would benefit from using a support.
When to seek help
If you have diabetes and experience problems with your feet, you should always seek advice from your GP, as having diabetes increases your risk of developing foot problems. You should also see your GP if you have any signs of infection in the feet, such as:
• A high temperature
• Pus around the site of a wound
• Swelling, pain or redness in the affected area
• Malodour (a bad smell)
If you have an injury that stops you from putting weight on one foot or pain over the bony parts of your ankle, you should get medical advice.
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