There are many reasons that a podiatrist or any other health care worker might want to offload the feet or an area of the foot. Offloading is the term for getting the weight off the foot. This is often necessary if the increased load or stress is causing the foot issue. This might be as basic as a corn or it could be as critical as an ulcer in a person with diabetes. It could be a bone and joint condition that really needs a short time where there is no force on it that will help it improve. Among the big complications with treating foot problems is the fact that we still need to walk on it so you can get around and carry out our daily activities. If it was, for example, a painful shoulder, it is much easier to cease making use of it. This will make the managing of foot problems more challenging and the need to work with various offloading approaches.

There are various different methods to offload the foot. The most widespread and oldest is probably the use of podiatry felt. This is typically self adhesive which is cut to form so it fits round the part of the high force rather than over it. This way the pressure is removed from the region. Usually, adhesive tape is usually used to help keep the felt padding within the proper place. The foot should be kept dry and if required the felt can be swapped out every few days. Podiatry felt is likewise relatively cheap in comparison with other methods. The podiatry felt is typically useful for smaller areas that need offloading like a corn, an ulcer or something like a sesamoiditis which is a painful disorder of the tiny bones underneath the big toe joint.

Another popular way of offloading would be the usage of foot orthotics. A foot orthotic that is created to the shape of the feet, spreads the weight out uniformly over the whole foot, and so can reduce the strain on an location that has a lot of and distribute it to other areas of the feet. Occasionally, cavities or divots can be cut in the foot supports to help off load a painful area. The foot supports may either be customizable or of the pre-made variety that could be modified to suit the feet more precisely.

With the far more extreme instances, the most effective way to offload a foot that has an ulcer is to try using a total contact cast or one of the comparable prefabricated walking boots. If the problem is a orthopedic one, then a moon boot or walking support can be used. These types of devices are extremely effective at offloading and are frequently used by podiatric doctors as well as other health professionals who deal with the feet and lower limb disorders. They do make walking a little more problematic, but if that can promote the user to walk less then this is a positive thing. Sometimes that limp that the brace brings about could lead to other issues in the hip and lower back and there can also be an increased possibility for falls, so it needs to be managed carefully.


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Craig Payne Author
University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger, dad.