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Houston, TX 77043
713-467-8886
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Posts for: May, 2012

By Dr. Jeffrey N Bowman
May 21, 2012
Category: Foot Health

An orthotic is a device designed to restore your natural foot function. Many biomechanical (walking) complaints such as heel pain, knee pain, and lower back pain are caused by poor foot function. Orthotics re-align the foot and ankle bones to their neutral position, thereby restoring natural foot function.

A podiatric physician can prescribe orthotics, or foot supports worn inside shoes, which are crafted for you and no one else; they match the contour of your feet precisely and are designed for the way you move. Only prescription orthotics can accommodate your unique foot structure. Podiatric physicians use orthotics to treat foot problems such as plantar fasciitis (heel pain); bursitis; tendonitis; diabetic foot ulcers; and foot, ankle, and heel pain.

If you need orthotics, Dr. Bowman will capture a three-dimensional image of each of your feet. That image, as well as any measurements obtained by him, is used to create a set of unique foot supports that will improve your foot movement and lead to more comfort and mobility.

There are two categories of prescription orthotics. Functional orthotics are designed to control abnormal motion and may be used to treat foot pain caused by abnormal motion; they can also be used to treat injuries such as shin splints or tendonitis. These are usually crafted from a semi-rigid material such as plastic or graphite. Accommodative orthotics are softer and meant to provide additional cushioning and support. They can be used to treat diabetic foot ulcers, painful calluses on the bottom of the foot, and other uncomfortable conditions.

If you have serious pain or discomfort, schedule an appointment with a podiatric physician. He or she will assess your overall health and look at any other contributing factors. Podiatrists can examine your feet and ankles and can prescribe custom-made orthotics or suggest additional treatments to improve the comfort and function of your feet.

Take our True/False quiz to learn the truth about orthotics.

True or False Test:

Orthotics have been proven to be highly successful when used properly and under the treatment of a podiatrist, a physician who specializes in the care of the feet and ankles.
True. Clinical research studies have shown that podiatrist-prescribed foot orthotics decrease foot pain and improve function.

Today’s podiatrist is the most experienced medical professional to prescribe orthotics.
True. Podiatrists are the only physicians who focus exclusively on the foot and ankle. They are uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat foot-related problems.

Orthotics are very expensive and don’t last for a long period of time.
False. Orthotics typically cost more than insoles purchased in a retail store, but the additional cost is usually well worth it. Prescription orthotics are made of top-notch materials and last many years when cared for properly. Insurance often helps pay for prescription orthotics.

Fast Facts:

Orthotics can be created to fit a variety of different footwear including high heels.
Every step places 1.5 times your body weight of pressure on each foot.
Plantar fasciitis is the most common type of heel pain that podiatrists treat.
58 percent of Americans say they’ve experienced heel pain due to ill-fitting shoes!

Should you have the need to relieve Foot or Ankle pain, contact Dr. Bowman at 713-467-8886 or visit www.houstonfootspecialists.com


Foot pain may be relieved by selecting and wearing appropriate footwear or even receiving massage therapy that targets the feet. However, there are topical pain medications available in forms such as balms, lotions, gels, creams, ointments, and patches which can alleviate foot pain.

There are distinct types of topical medications, and they fall into one of the following categories:

  • Salicylates contain a chemical similar to aspirin and are designed to be absorbed into the skin to relieve pain. These creams are most commonly used for muscle soreness and aches. Common branded products include Ben Gay, Aspercreme, Sportscreme.
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen fight pain associated with swelling. They are produced in a gel or cream, like salicylates, designed to be absorbed into the skin. NSAIDs increase the body’s anti-inflammatory response, reducing pain and heat for the injured area. They are available over-the-counter and in prescription form.
  • Analgesics are useful in reducing pain in those suffering from mild arthritis. If your pain is focused in your ankle, for example, you might consider the brand name products Capzasin-P, Menthacin, and Zostrix. The cream or ointment works by stimulating and then decreasing the intensity of pain signals in the body.
  • Counterirritants create warm or cool sensation over a painful joint or sore muscle. Brand name products include Icy Hot, JointFlex, and Flexall.
  • Anesthetics are used to relieve “local pain” to a specific area by disabling the nerve endings in the skin. Brand name anesthetic medications include Lanacane and Xylocaine.


Other topical medications include anti-fungal and corticosteroids. Anti-fungal topical medications come in various forms such as cream, powder, or spray, and are used for treatment of athlete’s foot. Some common brand medicines are Lotrimin, Lamisil, and Desenex. See a podiatric physician if anti-fungal creams you’ve tried do not seem to work or if you have any other symptoms related to the infection, such as fever, rash, or sore throat.

Corticosteroids are the most common topical treatment for psoriasis. They work by reducing inflammation and slowing the growth and build-up of skin cells. Applying topical creams on the infected areas will help soothe the itch and soften the hardened skin. If you have psoriasis on your feet, it is best to treat it as soon as possible to minimize the risk of spreading infection to your leg and even your toe nails. Consult with a podiatric physician immediately if you suspect you have psoriasis.

Corticosteroids can also be used for treating diabetic peripheral neuropathy. These topical medications can be very helpful in temporarily relieving pain, burning, numbness, and tingling sensations in the feet. Some branded products are Nerve Relief Cream and BioFreeze.

The most recent technologies are now changing the way we look at topical medications. Traditional pain medications in pill form or via IV are now incorporated into topicals. Discuss with Dr. Bowman to see if one will suit your problem.

Topical pain medications are helpful to relieve the pain associated with foot problems but should never be used to “mask” pain. Consult Dr. Bowman for suggestions and proper usage of topical medications. We can be reached at 713-467-8886 or www.houstonfootspecialists.com


The warm, sunny weather of summer invites us to shed our shoes and socks and run barefoot. However, this can be risky because we might get a splinter running or walking barefoot, whether we are inside or outside.

When you have a splinter in your foot, you may feel pain or discomfort and the sensation that something is embedded in your skin. Although wood splinters are most common, tiny bits of plastic, shards of metal or even broken glass can penetrate an unprotected foot.

While you can usually remove small splinters at home, a podiatric physician should remove any large or deep splinters in your foot. Anyone with diabetes should be especially vigilant, because a small splinter can grow quickly into a serious infection.

Follow these steps to safely remove a splinter from your foot:

1. Start by soaking your foot in warm water to soften the skin.

2. Wash your hands, and gently clean the area of your foot in which the splinter is lodged.

3. Once the skin is soft, try to squeeze out the splinter by putting your fingers on either side of the splinter and pinching gently.

4. If the splinter won’t come out by squeezing, disinfect a pair of tweezers and a needle with rubbing alcohol, iodine, or boiling water, then let them dry. If the splinter is still sticking out of the skin, use the tweezers to grasp the end and pull gently but firmly (You want to avoid breaking the splinter, leaving the tail end in the body). To do this, pull the splinter out at the same angle that it entered the body. Most splinters will come out easily.

5. If you can’t grasp the splinter with the tweezers, use the needle to slightly open the skin where the splinter is lodged. Grasp the end of the splinter with the tweezers and pull firmly. Don’t dig for the splinter.

6. Remember to gently wash your foot once you’re done.

Contact a Dr. Bowman if (1) you’re having trouble reaching the splinter, (2) you are making the wound worse, (3) the area becomes red, swollen, or hot to the touch, either after you remove the splinter, or (4) you cannot see any foreign body under the skin. Dr. Bowman will determine how to treat you based upon whatever is embedded in your foot. Deeply embedded foreign bodies may require a surgical procedure. Sometimes a local anesthetic is needed to completely remove a foreign body.

One good way to avoid splinters is to wear shoes both in the house and outside. There are many great options for summer besides bare feet, so keep feet healthy and happy by making good choices and avoiding splinters.

Any Questions or should you need treatment contact Dr. Bowman at 713-467-8886 or www.houstonfootspecialists.com




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1140 Business Center Drive
Houston, TX 77043

Podiatrist - Houston, Houston Foot Specialists, 1140 Business Center Drive, Houston TX, 77043 713-467-8886