Barefoot Science, General, Naboso Technology

Three of the Best Ways to Strengthen the Foot Muscles

Physical inactivity is becoming a greater risk around the world, affecting more adults than ever before. Modern lifestyle relies heavily on technology. The downside of it is that it’s no longer necessary to be active to earn a living.

But the good news is, modern technology backed by scientific research can enhance and support a healthy lifestyle.

The Irony of Increased Exercise

If you do more sports activities, you must be aware of how to keep your body safe and healthy while exercising. Studies show that the most common sprains and strains are related to sports: the ankle joint accounts for 72 percent of all injuries.

How serious is this in the United States alone? Two million individuals suffer ankle injuries every year, and the cost to repair your feet muscles are far from cheap. A single sprain leads to setbacks at work, family life, and general life satisfaction.

You might recognize the initial symptoms of swelling and ankle pain when jogging excessively, or working out in the gym. If not treated, an ankle sprain can lead to secondary conditions. These include tendinitis, medial tibial stress syndrome, and medial knee pain. Up to 80 percent of patients who suffer a small ankle sprain will develop chronic ankle instability. More will experience permanent foot injury.

So how do we address this growing health problem? The best way is to ensure that while you are exercising, you are also strengthening your foot muscles. Balance, power, and strength are all factors in helping you perform physical exercises without the risk of injury. Here are three ways to do that, backed by scientific proof:

  1. Barefoot Training

Can training without sports shoes on benefit your feet muscles?  Absolutely!

Science has proven that it is far from normal for humans to be wearing closed or Barefoot Strong Covercovered shoes all day long. Shoes support our feet, but they also restrict movement. They decrease flexibility, and inhibit our muscles from performing as they should.

This is why many physical therapists recommend exercising barefoot. Look at yoga or Pilates athletes. Their agility and balance is enhanced when their feet aren’t restricted by shoes. Similarly dancers are barefoot or wear flexible shoes that promote — not inhibit — movement.

When you train barefoot, you enhance sensory stimulation, improve joint health, and optimize balance. And when you are more stable, you’re less likely to suffer injuries due to a fall. To learn more about barefoot training check out the book Barefoot Strong by Dr Emily Splichal.

  1. Short Foot Exercise

Many active people suffer from plantar fascial pain and metatarsalgia. This is often due to a weakness of the small foot muscles. Short foot exercise (SFE) or “foot doming” is one of the most effective foot exercises which can improve this. The exercise conditions your feet muscles for endurance. It requires no equipment and you can do it anywhere — even seated.

How does SFE work? Start by finding your foot tripod which is under your first toe, first img_7134.jpgtoe and heel. Lift the toes, spread them out and place them back down onto the ground. Using your intrinsic foot muscles, start to push the tips of the toes down into the ground. Hold for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat 5 times per side. If you experience cramping, simply relax and try again later. To see a full video on how to perform SFE click HERE

In one study, short foot exercise was used to address chronic foot instability. Thirty adults were monitored during exercise for eight weeks. Scientists measured the quantitative somatosensory of joint position sense, vibration sensory thresholds, balance, and ankle instability. The group that performed the short foot exercise showed significant improvement in all the categories. SFE was more effective than regular physical therapy for treating ankle sprain patients.

  1. Texture Stimulation

Your feet can affect everything else in your body. How you exercise will directly affect the pressure on your knees, hips, low back, and neck, so it can lead to many injuries.

When exercising, pay attention to the skin on the bottom of your feet. It is critical for balance, posture, motor control and human locomotion. Using scientifically-backed texture technology during exercise protects your soles. It ensures you get the most out of your workouts, every time. Naboso Technology has both textured mats and insoles that are perfect for strengthening your feet and body.

The Naboso mat was developed by Podiatrist and Human Movement Specialist Dr. Emily Splichal. It has a unique, patent-pending material based on texture research and surface science. The unique texture will stimulate your body’s nervous system through the skin on the bottom of your feet. When using it, you may notice an improvement in your Naboso Czech Picpostural control, stability and strength.

Here are three ways you can use the Naboso Mat:

  • To optimize foot stimulation during standing barefoot exercises
  • When exercising with kettlebells, sandbags, or Olympic lifting
  • While doing barefoot bodyweight exercises such as step-ups or lunges

Similarly, Naboso Insoles work by stimulating the nerves in the bottom of your feet. They not only improve balance but positively impact gait patterns, ankle proprioception and force production.

You can think of Naboso Technology like “braille for the feet”. Naboso material lets your feet “read” the ground. With every movement, you become stronger, more flexible, and empowered.

For more information about Naboso Technology, visit our website and explore our product line today.

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General, Naboso Technology

8 Ways to Manage Arch Pain

Living with constant foot pain limits your ability to do simple tasks such as running, playing sports or even just walking. Many people live with foot pain because they assume it’s just a part of life, but that isn’t the case. There are treatments available to help minimize foot pain in a safe and healthy way. The following guide walks you through eight ways to treat your foot pain naturally.

#1 – Wear Shoes that Fit Properly to Prevent Arch Pain

Wearing shoes that are too tight or too large creates excess pressure and improper support that leads to arch, toe and even ankle pain. Properly fitting shoes provide ample shoeroom for toe splay while favoring freedom of motion.

Choose shoes that hug your foot tightly on the sides without cramping your toes. Try to wiggle your toes after lacing the shoes. If wiggling is impossible or painful, the shoes are too small for you. If you notice your foot slides around in the shoes when you wear them, you need a smaller size shoe. Your feet should stay in place as you walk.

Some of our favorite shoes that support natural foot function include Xero Shoes, Vivobarefoot and Feelgrounds

#2 – Learn How to Walk Properly

To reduce pain in your feet, walking properly is essential. When walking, allow the heel of your foot to hit the pavement first, followed by the ball of your feet and finally your toes. Bend at your ankle so the amount of pressure you apply throughout your foot transitions as you roll from your heel to the balls of your feet. Keeping your feet stiff while walking causes pain and stress unnecessarily in different areas and leads to arch pain over time.

#3 – Consider Losing Weight

Unfortunately, the amount of weight on your body impacts the pain you feel in your feet immensely. Every extra pound on your body puts more stress on your feet, joints and bones. Someone who is overweight is four times more likely to have flat feetthan someone who is not. Increased weight puts increased pressure on the ball, arch and heel of the foot. This increased pressure leads to foot pain that diminishes drastically with weight loss.

Losing even a small amount of weight reduces foot pain because there is less weight to carry. If you experience foot pain, working out in a pool or doing exercises that require little to no standing is great for weight loss. Once you start to lose weight, more intense exercise is possible because there is less weight on your muscles, joints and feet.

#4 – Massage Your Foot Arches Daily

Massaging the arches of your feet improves circulation, reduces tenderness and makes walking less painful. Use your fingertips to apply pressure to the ball and arches of your foot. Applying pressure helps to loosen the muscles and provide stimulation within the foot.

Another great massage technique to try at home is massaging your foot with a tennis ball skucover_roller_rador RAD Roller.  Sit down in a chair and place the roller on the ground in front of you. Take off your shoe and place the arch of your foot on top of the roller. Push slightly on the ball with your foot and roll back and forth, applying pressure to your arch. At first, slight pain is common in the arch, but as you continue the massage, nerve stimulation occurs, allowing the muscles to loosen, which ultimately reduces pain in the arch. Repeat the process with the other foot. Massage your aches every day for maximum relief and optimal stimulation.

#5 – Use Naboso Textured Insoles to Stimulate Your Foot

Arch pain is common in the feet when proper support doesn’t occur. Shoes of today have

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Naboso 1.5 Insole

style in mind more than support. Insoles added to shoes improve support and reduce foot pain over time. Naboso textured insoles help improve foot sensitivity through nerve stimulation that can help minimize arch pain. Having proper foot support reduces the likelihood of a fall occurring and helps to improve balance. The hard construction of the insoles provides support, while the textured design promotes stimulation.

Custom orthotics often require a prescription for construction to take place, whereas the Naboso textured insoles do not. They are available in a variety of sizes to ensure an accurate fit for maximum support and comfort. It’s best to actually measure your feet rather than base the pair of insoles you buy on the size of the shoes you currently wear. This ensures the insoles fit properly and provide maximum support.

#6 – Make Stretching a Part of Your Daily Routine

Arch pain often occurs when the muscles in the foot become tight. Stretching helps to loosen the muscles and thus improve arch pain. To stretch your feet, take the time to stand with your feet side-by-side. Step one foot out in front of you while leaving the other foot in place. Gently lift and lower the toe of the foot that you stepped forward a few times. This stretches the arch of the foot to reduce muscle tightness. Repeat the process with the other foot.

If your feet hurt too badly to stand for extended periods of time, sit on the ground with your legs outstretched. Point your toes toward the sky and then attempt to point them away from you and hold the position for a few seconds. Pull your toes back toward the sky and then pull them back toward your body.

Another great stretching technique is to stand at the edge of a stair with just the tips of your toes on the stair. Allow your body weight to push the heel of your feet down as much as possible while keeping your toes in place. Lift your heels without moving your toes to stretch and strengthen the balls and arches of your feet. Exercise both feet at once or one at a time, depending on the strength of your feet. Do these stretches as often as needed for maximum pain relief.

#7 – Treat Your Feet with Natural Oils

Natural oils are great for treating muscle pain naturally. It’s important to invest in oils designed for topical use to ensure they are safe to use directly on your skin. The label on the bottle of oil states if it is safe for topical use or not. Peppermint oil has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe the foot, while reducing swelling and inflammation. Rosemary oil improves circulation throughout the foot that reduces arch tenderness and pain. Lavender oil is also anti-inflammatory and reduces muscle and joint pain.

There are many different ways to administer natural oils. Add a few drops of oil to your favorite lotion and rub it on your tender feet. Place a few drops in a foot bath and soak your feet for 30 to 40 minutes to allow the heat from the water and the natural calming properties of the oil to do their jobs.

#8 – Exercise Your Feet

Every part of your body needs regular exercise and your feet are no different. Exercising your feet strengthens them and reduces pain in the long run. Having a strong arch is essential when it comes to running or walking pain free. A short foot exercise is a great way to strengthen the small muscles that lift the arch of your foot.

To activate the short foot exercise, you focus on one foot at a time. Take one foot and IMG_7134focus on placing the heel of the foot into the ground. Then lift your toes and spread them apart. Place the toes onto the ground spread apart and focus on pushing the big toe down as much as possible. When this happens, the weight on the foot begins to transfer and shift to the toes and the heel. The arch starts to lift as you focus the weight away from it and feel the ball of the foot start to lift from the ground. Hold the position in place for 10 seconds at a time for five times per foot. Do this exercise before every workout and a few times throughout the day for maximum relief.

Strengthening the arches of your feet takes time. Be diligent when it comes to your foot health to ensure the pain in your arches doesn’t worsen over time. Do all of these steps in conjunction with one another for maximum results. It’s important to continue a stretching and strengthening regiment with your feet even after the pain decreases to ensure it doesn’t return or worsen over time.

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Barefoot Science, Foot Function & Fascial Lines Series, Naboso Technology

Common Causes of Arch Pain & Prevention With Foot Strengthening

Though foot arch pain is common in athletes, it can happen to anyone, whether they love exercise or enjoy living life slowly. That’s because the arches of the foot do a lot of work every day. They absorb the shock when you walk or run, and they bear your weight when you stand.

You may not notice the hard work your feet do — until you get arch pain. Many things can cause it: injury, wearing the wrong kind of footwear, excessive walking, standing improperly, and more.

Being familiar with its causes and symptoms might help you prevent it. Or, if you’re suffering from arch pain, learning about its treatment could help you prepare for a doctor’s appointment.

What Is Arch Pain?

Arch pain is discomfort, inflammation, or tenderness in the arch of the foot. It can refer to any pain located between the ball of the foot and the heel.

To be able to identify this kind of foot pain, you need to understand the role of the arches of the foot.

The Arches of the Foot

If you’ve ever walked barefoot on damp sand, you probably know what the imprint of your foot looks like. The barefoot imprint of most adults has a gap on the inner side, between the ball of the foot and the heel. That’s where the arches of the foot are. (Babies and toddlers don’t have an arch. In fact, children develop an arch when they’re 3 to 10 years old.)

Each foot has three arches: two longitudinal (across the length of the foot) and one 4108-img1transverse (across the width of the foot). The lateral longitudinal arch is on the outer side of the foot, and the medial one, on the inner side of the foot. The lateral arches act as pillars for the transverse arch.

Muscles, tendons, and ligaments make up the foot arches. Together they create a structure that supports your body weight when you stand, walk, or run. The arches act as shock absorbers, or springboards.

Here’s how they work: The longitudinal arches flatten slightly when you stand or walk, under the load of your body. They return to their original, curve shape when you lift your foot from the ground — when you remove the load. In a way, they function like a car’s suspension.

Anything that affects the arches’ position could cause discomfort and pain, and limit their function. The location of arch pain is usually in the medial longitudinal arch. But it can also be in the other two arches.

Symptoms: How Arch Pain Feels Like

Having painful feet can make it difficult to walk or exercise. Arch pain ranges in intensity from discomfort to sharp or burning pain. Its symptoms can manifest in many forms. Here’s how people may describe how they feel:

  • Sharp pain in the bottom of the foot
  • Pain in the middle of the arch
  • Pain in the ball of the foot
  • Arch and ankle pain
  • Tenderness in one point of the arch
  • General tenderness in the foot
  • Foot discomfort when standing for a long time
  • Heel pain when running
  • Feeling like you’re walking on a pebble
  • Pain at the top of the foot
  • Pain when extending the foot
  • Discomfort when flexing the arch

Some types of foot arch pain get worse with movement. Another type of pain is more severe in the morning and gets better during the day. The discomfort may be light and allow you to walk normally, but not run or cycle. Or, the pain can be so sharp that your heels hurt even when you stand. The intensity and type of arch pain depend on its cause.

Causes and Types of Arch Pain

Overuse, impact injuries, certain medical conditions, gaining weight, and weak feet can all cause arch pain. Even walking in improper shoes that make your arches work harder can be painful. It’s no wonder that about 80 percent of people say they have experienced a foot ailment in their life.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most common causes of arch pain in adults.

Plantar Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis)

The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs from heel to toes. Irritation and PFinflammation occur when the fascia stretches too much away from the heel. When this happens, you may develop plantar fasciitis. This condition leads to painful heels and arches. You may feel your foot is sore or tender under the heel or in the middle of the arch. You might also get swelling of the heel.

The severity of the pain ranges from very mild to incapacitating. Usually, the pain is worse in the morning when you get out of bed. Then, after you walk for a few minutes, the fascia stretches and the pain gets better.

One of the main causes of this kind of pain is having a faulty structure of the foot. If you have high arches or flat feet, you’re more likely to develop plantar heel pain. Other things that put strain on the plantar fascia are wearing unsupportive shoes and being overweight.

If you leave this condition untreated, the pain may increase over a few months. It may limit your ability to do daily activities such as working or exercising. It might even lead to disability. After treatment, if the cause remains, you may need to continue with preventive measures (more about these later).

Flexible Flatfoot

Flatfoot affects about 23 percent of adults, according to a study. If you have flatfoot, the longitudinal arch of the foot collapses (partially or totally). As a result, the foot sole touches the ground more than it would if you had a normal arch.

This disorder usually starts when you’re a child or teen. It gets worse as you get older. There are several types of flatfoot, one of the most common being flexible flatfoot.

One of the symptoms is overpronation. If you overpronate, you put most of the weight on the inside edge of the foot. Your foot rolls too much inward, and this increases the strain on your arch and heel. Because the arches flatten too much, they can’t properly absorb the shocks from your stride. The result may be arch pain or discomfort. You may also feel an ache in the heel and ankle.

As the body is out of alignment when you have flatfoot, you may also experience aches in your leg, knee, and hip.

There’s no agreement on the cause of flexible flatfoot. Doctors have several theories about it. They believe it might be the result of muscular imbalance, obesity, or problems with foot ligaments. The disorder sometimes runs in the family. Many people are born with flatfoot, and others develop it later in life. The causes of this condition include tendon injuries, arthritis, muscular dystrophy, and certain neuropathies.

If you think you have arch pain from flatfoot, speak to a doctor. Treatment may help relieve the symptoms.

Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD)

PTTD can lead to flattening of the foot due to overuse or weakness of the posterior tibial tendon. But unlike flexible flatfoot, which can develop either in childhood or later, PTTD develops during adulthood. Many simple but repetitive activities (for example, walking, climbing stairs, or running) can cause PTTD. Its symptoms include arch pain and swelling in one foot or both feet.

Without treatment, the condition gets worse with time. It may even lead to arthritis in the ankle. In its early stages, PTTD can cause swelling and redness, as well as pain on the inside of the foot. Later, the pain may shift to the outside of the foot and the ankle.

If you notice your foot is excessively warm or swollen, contact a doctor as soon as possible. Early treatment may relieve arch pain and prevent complications from flatfoot.

Other Conditions That Can Cause Arch Pain

Apart from plantar fasciitis and flatfoot, many other conditions can make your arch hurt. Here are some examples:

  • Peripheral neuropathies.When the foot’s nerves don’t function well — due to compression, injury, or other causes — you may get sharp pain or a burning sensation in the arches of the foot.
  • Muscle spasms.Especially if you exercise, you’ve likely experienced muscle spasms or cramps. They can have many causes, ranging from dehydration to injury.
  • This disease usually affects the big toe joint, but it can also affect the arches of the foot. Osteoarthritis is common in older people.
  • Foot sores.Many conditions (like lupus, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis) can cause foot sores that won’t heal, and lead to arch pain.
  • Stress fractures.The foot can suffer damage from repetitive overuse, for example, excessive exercise. Arch pain from a fracture usually gets worse with increasing activity.
  • Ligament sprain.It happens when a foot ligament twists or stretches abnormally due to an unusual movement.
  • This is an inflammation of the tendons in the foot.

There are many possible causes of arch pain. So, you might not be able to identify yours on your own. Even if you do, seeking a medical professional’s opinion is key to receiving an accurate diagnosis.

Common Treatments for Arch Pain

If the bottom of your foot hurts at the end of a busy day, or if you notice discomfort in your foot arch after exercise, some home remedies for arch pain might work:

  • Rest — to prevent further damage
  • Apply an ice pack — to reduce inflammation (pain and swelling)
  • Wear shoes with good arch support — to reduce stress on your arch
  • Use textured insoles in your shoes — to reduce foot fatigue and pain
  • Consider taking over-the-counter medicines (such as ibuprofen) — to ease pain and reduce inflammation

Oftentimes it’s wise to seek medical assistance. Treatment for arch pain depends on its cause. If the culprit is plantar fasciitis or flatfoot, your doctor may prescribe a nonsurgical treatment. In some cases, surgery may be needed.

There’s no doubt, however, that the best treatment for arch pain is prevention.

A New Approach to Prevent Arch Pain

There are many things you can do to prevent arch pain. Any personal trainer will tell you to stretch your foot and calves, and include resting periods in your workout routine. In addition, you need to focus on foot strengthening and stimulation.

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Naboso Textured Insoles

There is a new approach to prevent arch pain that relies on the natural strength of the foot and nervous system. This approach may seem as quite simplistic to be effective: textured insoles. However, research has shown that using textured insoles can prevent arch pain, as well as having a number of other benefits.

The Problem With Footwear

The nerves on the bottom of your feet send sensory information like texture, temperature, and touch to your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), which uses this information to control your posture and balance. Essentially, it controls the way you stand, walk, and run by controlling your muscle response and dynamic stability.

Unfortunately, all kinds of footwear block some of this stimulation to some degree. As a result, there’s a delay in the central nervous system and the way the foot stabilizes. This can affect movement and gait.

But shoes are a reality in our society, so what can you do?

Enter Naboso Technology

Fortunately, solutions exist to increase foot nerve stimulation when you wear shoes. An effective and easy solution is using the textured insoles from Naboso Technology.

If your foot is in contact with textured insoles, you enjoy better postural control, improved stability, and reduced risk of injury.

When you walk or run, information on vibration and texture enters the foot as nervous stimulation. The brain uses this sensory feedback to maintain dynamic balance and prepare the right response to impact forces by controlling the foot’s muscles. Essentially, the brain needs sensory stimulation to control how the foot arches absorb the shock from walking or running.

So, proper sensory stimulation of the plantar foot is necessary for intrinsic muscle strength and movement control.

But, as mentioned above, wearing shoes reduces this stimulation. If the nerves of your foot don’t receive proper sensory feedback, your muscles cannot respond properly or timely to impact shocks. As a result, reduced foot stimulation weakens the foot and makes you prone to plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, or other injuries that can cause arch pain.

As you cannot walk barefoot all the time, you need an effective solution. Simply insert textured insoles into your everyday or training shoes to ensure your foot’s nerves are stimulated. By enhancing proprioceptive stimulation, Naboso Technology insoles have immediate positive effects on the neuromuscular system.

How Textured Insoles Can Prevent Ovepronation and Arch Pain

Using textured insoles has another benefit in relation to foot arch health. Research hasNeuro Insoles shown that increasing the sensory stimulation of the bottom of the foot could prevent excessive pronation. As foot pain and overpronation are connected, taking measures to avoid it may help prevent or reduce arch pain.

You can increase the sensory stimulation that the foot arch receives by wearing Naboso Technology insoles in your everyday shoes. This increased sensory stimulation decreases midfoot pronation during walking, reducing foot fatigue and preventing arch pain.

To sum up, Naboso Technology insoles have an important function in the control of overpronation, foot stabilization, muscle strength, and movement. And maintaining proper foot function and stimulation helps prevent and reduce arch pain.

Conclusion

The arches of your foot support you when you stand, walk, or run. They transfer your weight to the muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons of the foot. Anything that puts too much pressure on your arches could cause arch pain. Doing excessive exercise, standing for many hours a day, having a condition that flattens the arch, and gaining weight can all lead to foot problems. Fractures, injuries, and other medical conditions can also cause pain in the foot arch.

Occasional arch pain or discomfort is common. In some cases the symptoms can go away with no treatment. Home remedies such as rest and ice might ease the pain. But other times you may need to seek medical help. Left untreated, arch pain can cause severe complications and may even result in disability. To prevent arch pain, avoid excessive strain, and wear shoes with arch support and textured insoles to make sure your foot’s nerves receive proper stimulation.

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Barefoot Science, General

Foot Drop Recovery | A New Approach to Reconnecting to your Foundation

If you’re unable to lift the toe end of your foot off the ground, you could have a condition known as foot drop. Foot drop itself isn’t typically considered a disease. Rather, it’s the symptom or side effect of a bigger issue.

Foot drop is typically characterized as an abnormal gait. A case of foot drop (or “drop foot”) is where the forefoot drops due to irritation, weakness, or damage to the nerves or muscles of the lower leg. Learning what causes it and how to treat it is essential to getting better.

Understanding Foot Drop

If you suffer from foot drop, or drop foot, you will struggle to lift up the front part of your foot. As you walk, it may even drag the ground. This usually leads to a “stepping gait” in order to compensate, which is when a person lifts their knee higher in order to bring the foot fully off the ground–as if climbing stairs. This gait may lead to your foot slamming against the floor as you put your leg down.

The cause of foot drop will influence a lot of factors associated with your case. For instance, foot drop can sometimes appear very suddenly or, in some cases, it’s a condition that gradually worsens. Regardless of the cause, ignoring foot drop can lead to the underlying condition worsening with time.

Depending on the cause, foot drop can affect just one foot or both of them. You may find that the skin on your toes or top of your foot feels numb. It can be temporary or permanent. A physician will likely prescribe a brace in order to hold your foot in the proper position as you walk and move around.

What Causes Foot Drop?

Foot drop occurs when something happens to the muscles responsible for lifting the front of the foot. These muscles can become weak or even paralyzed due to certain conditions, including the following.

The Peroneal Nerve

The peroneal nerve is responsible for controlling muscles to lift the foot and injuring it is surprisingly easy at any age. The peroneal nerve brances out of the sciatic nerve. The peroneal nerve wraps around from the front of your shin to the back of your knee. It’s close to the surface of the skin, which makes it easy to damage.

It’s so easy to injure that you may suffer from damage while playing sports or even during childbirth. Many other activities can also put you at a higher risk of peroneal nerve damage. If you have damaged your peroneal nerve, you’ll likely experience pain or numbness on the front of your shin all the way down to the top of your foot.

Nerve Compression and Injury

Most commonly, foot drop gets caused by compression of the peroneal nerve in the leg. For instance, damage can occur to this nerve during hip replacement or knee replacement surgery. Additionally, you may suffer from a “pinched nerve,” which is an issue that occurs in the spinal region, and experience foot drop as a result.

However, other risk factors are much more common. Simply crossing your legs habitually can put you at a higher risk of foot drop because this can compress the peroneal nerve in the upper thigh region. So, too, can prolonged kneeling or squatting. Laying tile, picking berries, and other occupations that require you to do so frequently could heighten your risk.

Finally, you might experience foot drop after wearing a cast on your lower leg. If you wear a plaster cast that runs from below the knee to the top of your foot, it can put pressure on the peroneal nerve, which could lead to foot drop.

Muscle or Nerve Disorders

People with diabetes are at a particularly high risk for nerve disorders that can cause foot drop. Additionally, muscular dystrophy is an inherited disease that can lead to foot drop. This disease causes progressively weaker muscles and, in turn, ends up weakening the muscles needed to lift the front of the foot.

Polio and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease can also cause foot drop. This is why having any case of foot drop addressed is a necessity–it could clue you in to a much more serious condition.

Brand and Spinal Cord Disorders

Any disorder that affects the spinal cord and/or brain can lead to foot drop. This includes ALS, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, along with stroke, multiple sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, and other conditions.

How to Treat Foot Drop

Foot drop is not always permanent. The type of treatment your doctor pursues will depend on the cause of your foot drop. However, addressing the problem early will always give you a greater chance at speedy recovery.

A doctor may suggest a lightweight brace to hold the foot in its proper position. This is the most common treatment route. Alternatively, they may suggest physical therapy to help strengthen weakened muscles in the leg and foot. A physical therapist may also use a device that stimulates nerves in the leg.

In severe cases, your doctor may suggest surgery in an attempt to repair a damaged nerve or decompress it. If a case of foot drop gets diagnosed as permanent, they may suggest surgery to fuse the ankle joint to the foot or they may attempt to improve stability and gait by taking tendons from stronger muscles and transferring them into the problem area.

More commonly, doctors will suggest orthotics to address foot drop.

How Can Orthotics Help Foot Drop?

Regardless of the cause, foot drop treatment almost always involves an ankle foot foot-drop-splint-250x250orthosis (AFO) for bracing. These braces provide stability and toe clearance to help normalize the gait. They come in many different forms.

Understanding how AFOs work is essential to learning how such a product could benefit you. To do so, it’s important to realize that the ankle joint sees two standard forms of motion. These motions are plantarflexion (to describe downward movement) and dorsiflexion (to describe upward movement).

Plantarflexion is the motion of the ankle joints when your toes point downward. Dorsiflexion is the motion of the ankle joins when the foot points upward. As you lift your foot off the ground, dorsiflexion needs to occur so that your toes don’t drag the surface. Typically, foot drop results from weakness or paralyzation of the muscles responsible for dorsiflexion in the ankle joint.

There are multiple types of AFOs your doctor may suggest in order to address your foot drop.

Orthotics with a Short Leg and Fixed Hinge

The first is a “short leg” AFO. This design is shorter in height and features a fixed hinge. This AFO fits easily into most shoes and is fairly light. It gives you more control over your foot and it’s great for foot drop and flat feet.

This AFO works to position the foot at a 90-degree angle to the leg and keep it there. This also helps to control inward foot rotation, which is common in patients who have foot drop as a result of a stroke or Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

With the fixed hinge, however, this brace does not allow for plantarflexion or dorsiflexion. That means the gait won’t be as natural as some other braces may allow. Additionally, taller individuals (over six feet) will struggle with this brace because it is short.

Orthotics to Assist Dorsiflexion

Some AFOs are actually designed to assist dorsiflexion and are aptly named Dorsiflexion Assist Functional AFOs. They feature a hinge reminiscent of a spring. This hinge works to promote dorsiflexion (raising the foot) when you lift your foot off the ground. In other words, it mimics the motion you would naturally make when walking.

As a result, this AFO produces a more normal gait pattern. This design is ideal for someone with mild to moderate foot drop and it can also benefit a person with a generally flat or unstable foot. However, this design typically won’t work for tall people (over six feet) or people who weigh more than a certain amount (typically 225 pounds or more).

Orthotics to Stop Plantarflexion

This AFO design concentrates on preventing plantarflexion in the foot. In other words, it does not allow the foot to point downward, thereby preventing toe dragging. It features a hinge to enable normal dorsiflexion. This design tends to be a bit bulkier than some others but it can be effective for those who suffer from a severe case of foot drop.

Energy Return Orthotics

This AFO is perhaps one of the best designs as it is extremely lightweight in construction and provides immense control. There are usually different sub-models that vary depending on how severe a case of foot drop is. In general, an energy return AFO will use the natural flex of the AFO material itself in order to assist dorsiflexion.

Typically, you will find this type of AFO is actually constructed of carbon graphite materials. This makes them both lightweight and very good at providing dorsiflexion assistance.

Traditional Orthotics

Traditional AFOs are also known as posterior leaf spring AFOs. These orthotics have been around for years and are still effective today. However, newer designs allow for more comfortable usage and are typically lighter.

With that said, a physician may still recommend a posterior leaf spring construction for someone who has both foot drop and knee instability. There are also modern designs made specifically for those with foot drop and unstable knees.

Orthotics for Unstable Knees

Most often, a physician will suggest a “solid AFO” if you have both unstable knees and foot drop. This design will stop plantarflexion and also limit or stop dorsiflexion. If you have an unstable knee alongside a complete loss of dorsiflexion strength (or severely limited strength), this design may work best for you. While bulkier than others, it gives superior control while moving around.

How Textured Insoles Are Beneficial for Foot Drop Braces

In the likely event that your physician recommends an AFO brace, it’s important to also conconsider the role of textured insoles as part of your treatment. This is because textured insoles add the added benefit of stimulating the skin on the bottom of the feet, brining increased neurostimulation.

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Naboso 1.5 Insole

Naboso™ Textured Insoles are the perfect option. Designed by Podiatrist Dr Emily Splichal, Naboso™ Textured Insoles are specifically designed to enhance proprioceptive stimulation of the feet.

What Is Proprioceptive Stimulation?

The skin on the bottom of your foot is home to plantar proprioceptors, which are critical to proper balance, posture, motor control, and human locomotion. However, all footwear blocks the necessary stimulation of the plantar proprioceptors to some degree. The result is a delay in communication between the ground and the nervous system. In turn, this delay can lead to poor balance, inefficient movement, and joint pain.

Proper stimulation of the plantar proprioceptors is essential to whole body wellness and, especially, to supporting healthy movement. Dr Emily Splichal designed Naboso Insoles in a way that they are able to uniquely stimulate the plantar proprioceptors.

With advanced research, Naboso Insoles have shown that they can improve gait patterns and balance. As such, Naboso Technology offer a range of insoles all of which benefit not only medical conditions and athletes, but for people of all ages.

The Benefits of Medical Orthotics

Properly designed orthotics are beneficial to everyone, but they play a special role in recovery or management for those suffering from foot drop and other mobility issues.

Textured insoles do more than support the foot or arch. With all of your weight bearing down on your feet, textured insoles work to alleviate pain that resonates through the foot, ankle, leg, and back. The right insert will help you to correctly align your feet and legs naturally, leading to better posture and improved balance.

By supporting the arch and heel of the foot, textured insoles help to absorb shock and distribute the immense pressure felt by your foot across your entire sole. The design of a properly fitted textured insoles will also help to prevent bunions, calluses, corns, and ulcerations thanks to the evenly distributed weight, which helps to prevent and alleviate pressure points.

All of these things typically promotes greater mobility, allowing people to stay on their feet for longer and be more active while eliminating pain and other impacts they used to suffer from when moving around.

The Importance of Proper Fit

You should never just pull a pair of generic insoles off the shelf and expect them to benefit you. The key to effective orthotics is proper construction and fit. A prefabricated option can work wonders, so long as you properly measure your foot bed to ensure that the fit is right.

If you choose an insole too small or too big, the placement of the arch support and the general shape of the insole can be uncomfortable and even worsen joint pain and other conditions. As such, you should always check size guides and ask for help when needed.

When in doubt, ask a professional for guidance and assistance in choosing the right textured insoles for your needs. If you pair your AFO with the right textured insoles, you will experience immense relief, greater stability, improved mobility, and better results as a whole.

Finding The Right Textured Insoles

Once you have spoken to your physician about addressing your drop foot, seek their guidance in finding the appropriate AFO for your needs. With that information, you can then proceed with looking for the right textured insoles that will enable you to get the most out of your rehabilitation or management program.

If you need help finding the right textured insoles, look no further than Dr Emily Splichal and Naboso Technology. Take a few minutes and learn more Naboso™ Textured Insoles

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Foot Function & Fascial Lines Series

Peripheral Neuropathy | Enhanced Sensory Stimulation May Improve Balance & Stability

Feeling pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in your hands or feet may be a sign of foot_neuropathy_pain_-_istock_4bb60646-139e-4584-94b5-896d91e8982d_1200xperipheral neuropathy. This condition damages your peripheral nerves. They allow your brain and spinal cord to communicate with the rest of your body.

Peripheral neuropathy is a common condition. More than 20 million Americans suffer from it. While it can affect people of any age, it’s more common in people over 55.

There are many types of peripheral neuropathy, each with a different cause. Treatment for this condition depends on finding what has damaged the nerves. Unfortunately, the cause sometimes remains unknown. Also, even when doctors do discover the cause, the treatment may not reduce all symptoms.

The good news is that the peripheral nerves have an incredible ability. They can regenerate themselves. When they do, the symptoms may disappear on their own or after treatment. But not all types of peripheral neuropathy have a cure. This means some people have to live with their condition.

Learn more about peripheral neuropathy, its symptoms, causes, and treatment options. This information can help you manage your condition and reduce its impact on your life and well-being.

What Is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder that affects the peripheral nervous system. This is one of the two components of the nervous system. The other component is the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

How the Peripheral Nerves Work

The peripheral nervous system is made up of peripheral nerves. They reach all parts of your body apart from brain and spinal cord. These nerves control how you sense touch and feel pain and temperature. They also control your muscle strength and coordination.

The peripheral nerves carry information to and from the central nervous system. They allow your feet, arms, and organs to send information to your brain. For example, they tell the central nervous system that you feel pain when you step on a tack, or that your hands are cold.

In turn, the central nervous system uses the peripheral nerves to send signals to your body. These signals are “orders” to your muscles and organs. That’s how you’re able to move, breathe, and maintain your balance.

Damage to Peripheral Nerves

The peripheral nerves are fragile. Whey they suffer injury, they can no longer perform their function well.

Damage to peripheral nerves affects how the central and peripheral nervous systems communicate. Damaged communication between the two can lead to loss of sensation. For example, you may become unable to feel a burn from hot water. Or, damaged nerves can lead to loss of function, like being unable to maintain balance when you walk. This, in turn, increases your risk of injuries and falls.

Often, peripheral neuropathy can cause discomfort, numbness, and tingling. It may also lead to weakness in the feet, hands, legs, and arms. Sometimes it causes pain. And some neuropathies may limit your mobility. Your condition might make you unable to enjoy simple everyday activities. Even walking can become difficult.

All these symptoms can disrupt your life. But not all types of peripheral neuropathy are crippling. And treatment is available for many neuropathies. To prescribe the right treatment, doctors first need to discover the cause of the disease.

Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a very common condition. It affects about 6 percent of the U.S. population, or more than 20 million people.

It can have various causes. The most common is diabetes.  About 60 percent of people with diabetes will develop peripheral neuropathy. That’s because high blood sugar levels can damage the nerves.

Another common cause of peripheral neuropathy is nerve injury or trauma. This can result from auto collisions, sports accidents, medical procedures, and more.

For example, all of the following can cause injury to nerve tissue:

  • Bruising
  • Stretching
  • Cutting or tearing
  • Electrical injury
  • Gunshot wound

Not only injury but also compression can harm the nerve tissue. For example, the carpal tunnel syndrome is a type of compression peripheral neuropathy. It affects the hands. Its cause is repetitive motions that put pressure on a nerve.

Other causes of peripheral neuropathy include the following:

  • Alcoholism
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Heavy metal exposure (for example, lead poisoning)
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals, such as solvent
  • Infections (including Lyme disease, AIDS, and hepatitis C)
  • Vitamin deficiency (for example, B1, B6, B12)
  • Kidney disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Metabolic disease

Peripheral neuropathy is also a side effect of certain types of medication. One example is chemotherapy drugs.

In rare cases, peripheral neuropathy runs in the family. This means that parents can pass it to their children. Inherited peripheral neuropathy includes the Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

Doctors can’t always find the cause of peripheral neuropathy. In one-third of cases, it remains unknown. This makes prescribing treatment difficult. When doctors cannot identify the cause of this condition, they call it idiopathic peripheral neuropathy.

Types of Peripheral Neuropathy

More than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy exist, says the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

According to one classification, there are three main categories of peripheral neuropathy:

  • Motor neuropathyaffects motor nerves. The central nervous system uses these nerves to send orders to all the muscles in the body. They allow you to walk, talk, move your fingers, and catch a ball. Damage to motor nerves can cause muscle weakness, cramps, and spasms. It can also make walking or moving your arms difficult.
  • Sensory neuropathyaffects sensory nerves. They send information from your muscles to your central nervous system. They allow you to sense temperature, touch, and pain. Damage to sensory nerves can cause numbness, tingling, extreme sensitivity to touch or temperature, and even pain.
  • Autonomic nerve neuropathyaffects autonomic nerves. These control bodily functions like heartbeat, breathing, digestion, sweating, and blood pressure. You can’t control most of these functions. Damage to autonomic nerves may cause your heart to beat faster (or slower) or cause you to be unable to sweat (or sweat too much). It may also lead to problems with digestion, urination, and sexual functions.

Here are some examples of peripheral neuropathies.

  • Diabetic neuropathy: It affects all three groups of nerves (motor, sensory, and anatomic). And it damages nerves throughout the body.
  • Alcoholic neuropathy: Excessive alcohol use damages the peripheral nerves.
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome: This is a rare disease in which the body’s immune (defense) system attacks the nerves.
  • Bell’s palsy: This disorder affects the nerves and muscles of the face.
  • Ulnar neuropathy: Its cause is the compression of the ulnar nerve, located in the arm.
  • Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy: Nerve damage can be a side effect of using chemotherapy drugs to treat cancer.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: Repetitive movements (such as typing on a keyboard) put pressure on the nerve and tendons in the forearm and hand.

Most people with peripheral neuropathy have more than one type at the same time. The term for this condition is polyneuropathy.  If you have only one damaged nerve, you have mononeuropathy. Each type of neuropathy has its own set of symptoms.

Symptoms

The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy range from mild to severe. Some can be disabling and even lead to paralysis. Pain may or may not be present. In fact, according to researchers, pain is a symptom of half of all cases of polyneuropathy.

The symptoms may appear suddenly, or take months or years to develop. Their onset depends on the cause of nerve damage. For example, the symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy develop slowly and get worse over time. On the other hand, those of acute peripheral neuropathy develop suddenly.

Peripheral neuropathy symptoms may vary depending on which nerves have suffered damage. But some of the common symptoms of many peripheral neuropathies include the following:

  • Tingling, burning, or prickling sensation in the feet, legs, hands, or arms
  • Weakness and numbness in the limbs
  • Inability to feel that something is too hot or too cold
  • Noticing no pain when you step on something sharp
  • Burning or freezing sensation in the hands or feet
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch
  • Extreme sensitivity to heat or cold
  • Sharp, shooting pain in the limbs
  • Loss of balance
  • Difficulty walking
  • Poor coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Muscle twitching
  • Loss of mobility

This list of peripheral neuropathy symptoms does not include all the signs of nerve damage. Specific types of peripheral neuropathy may have other symptoms that are not on this list. If you notice any of the above symptoms or others, speak to your doctor.

Who Is More Likely to Develop Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy affects between 5 and 8 percent of people in the world.

People of any age can suffer from peripheral neuropathy. But, according to an article in Handbook of Clinical Neurology, older adults are more likely to develop this condition than are younger people.

Also, men are more likely than women to develop almost all types of peripheral neuropathy. There is one exception, though. Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in women than in men.

Many medical conditions can cause nerve damage. Individuals suffering from a range of conditions may be at a higher risk than others to develop peripheral neuropathy. These include:

  • People who have nerve damage from a previous injury or illness
  • People with diabetes, immune diseases, vitamin deficiencies, or AIDS
  • Alcoholics — according to German researchers, between 22 and 66 percent of people with chronic alcoholism have peripheral neuropathy
  • Cancer patients who had chemotherapy — between 30 and 40 percent of those who have received chemotherapy drugs develop peripheral neuropathy, says the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
  • People who have suffered poisoning from exposure to heavy metals, toxic chemicals, or radiation

Diagnosis

If you are one of the people with an increased risk of peripheral neuropathy, go to the doctor for regular check-ups. Also, speak to your physician if you believe you may have peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

Your doctor will examine your symptoms, your posture and coordination, and perform a physical exam. They may ask you about your medical history. Also, you may need to answer questions about your family’s medical history. Your answers may be important, because some types of peripheral neuropathy are hereditary (run in the family).

Your doctor will use this information to assess if you have an increased risk of neuropathy. Then, they might check your reflexes, and your ability to feel temperature and pain.

If necessary, your physician will request a neurological examination, blood and urine tests, as well as other medical exams. These will reveal if you have diabetes, hypothyroidism, vitamin deficiencies, or other conditions that can cause peripheral neuropathy.

The outcome of these tests will help your doctor discover whether you have a neuropathy. If you do, they’ll try to identify the causes of nerve damage. For this, they might recommend further exams. They may ask for a nerve biopsy (take a sample of nerve tissue to examine), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, or CT (computed tomography) scan.

As you might have realized, diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy is often difficult. Many diseases can affect your nerves and muscles. That’s why your doctor will likely need to collaborate with other specialists to diagnose your condition. So, arm yourself with patience. Be ready to undergo several medical exams before you can receive a diagnosis and treatment for your condition.

Treatment

The treatment options for peripheral neuropathy depend on its cause. Once your doctor diagnoses your condition, they will be able to recommend the appropriate course of treatment. Follow the treatment your doctor prescribes.

The information in this article gives you an idea about what treatments exist.

Addressing the Cause

The therapy for peripheral neuropathy aims to treat the cause of nerve damage. For example, if the cause is a pinched nerve, the doctors may use surgery to release the nerve. Or, if the cause of your peripheral neuropathy is diabetes, your doctor will aim to control it.

As peripheral nerves have the ability to fix themselves, some of the symptoms may disappear following treatment. Or, they may go away on their own.

Not all nerve damage can be undone, though. In some cases the nerve cell is dead, and no treatment can reverse this. Also, unfortunately, some types of peripheral neuropathy have no known cure. This is the case of inherited peripheral neuropathies. It’s also the case of diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

This is a common type of neuropathy in America, affecting about one in two people with diabetes. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy can cause pain, sensory loss, foot sores, and gait instability, reducing the quality of life. Though no known treatment can reverse nerve damage due to diabetes, there are treatments that may improve the symptoms. One example is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.  This is a noninvasive intervention (meaning it doesn’t require surgery) that might relieve pain.

Reducing the Symptoms

When doctors can’t treat the cause of peripheral neuropathy, the treatment may focus on managing symptoms. In other words, doctors will recommend methods to reduce specific symptoms.

Different types of damaged nerve require different therapies.

  • For sensory neuropathies, medication might help control chronic pain. Your doctor will recommend appropriate pain-control medication. Examples of drugs for neuropathic pain include steroids, anti-seizure medicines, opioids, and antidepressants.
  • For motor neuropathies, doctors may recommend braces, orthopedic shoes, splints, or other mechanical aids. These aim to improve function, and reduce physical disability and pain. They may also allow the nerves to heal.
  • For autonomic neuropathies, doctors may recommend how to cope with neuropathic pain. Massage, certain medications, and psychotherapy techniques can help you cope with pain.

Not all people need medication for managing their peripheral neuropathy symptoms. On the one hand, pain is not a symptom in all cases, as mentioned earlier. On the other hand, some kind of neuropathic pain can be mild. Your doctor can show you ways to manage it.

When medication to control pain doesn’t work, doctors may recommend surgery. Usually, this works only for mononeuropathy (only one nerve is damaged). For example, pinched nerves usually require surgery. This releases the compression and allows the nerve to heal.

Surgery doesn’t usually work for neuropathies that affect more than one nerve.

Other treatments for peripheral neuropathy can help you manage your symptoms and prevent them from getting worse. One example is physical therapy. It includes exercises to improve the body’s ability to maintain coordination, agility, and balance — or proprioception.

Other treatments include occupational therapy, relaxation therapies, guided imagery, biofeedback, and acupuncture.

Managing Peripheral Neuropathy

For some types of peripheral neuropathy there are no therapies. And some neuropathies have no known cause. So, many people have to live with this condition.

Fortunately, not all types of peripheral neuropathy are crippling, and some symptoms are mild. Also, peripheral nerve cells grow throughout your life. This means that some nerves may regenerate. If they do, symptoms might resolve on their own. Not all symptoms lessen or disappear over time, though.

The goal of managing your peripheral neuropathy should be to maintain and restore the function of your peripheral nervous system. Managing peripheral neuropathy involves making healthy lifestyle choices. It also requires taking preventive measures and focusing on restoring function.

Choosing a Healthy Lifestyle

Making healthy lifestyle choices can improve nerve health, as well as helping you cope with the symptoms of neuropathy. Here are some examples of healthy lifestyle choices you can make:

  • Maintaining an optimal weight
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Avoiding exposure to toxic chemicals and heavy metals
  • Not smoking
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Exercising
  • Using relaxation techniques

Compensating for Loss of Sensation

When you have a neuropathy, you have to do more than lead a healthy lifestyle. Consider taking measures to counteract the loss of sensation that your condition can cause. You need to pay particular attention to your hands and feet. Loss of sensation can make it hard or impossible to notice pain, extreme temperature, or injuries to your hands and feet.

Take measures to prevent injuries that loss of sensation may cause. Here are some of these measures:

  • Wear gloves when you handle heavy equipment, work outdoor, or do repairs
  • Be extra careful when you use sharp objects
  • Avoid extreme temperatures
  • Keep your feet and hands warm in cold weather
  • Use oven gloves when you handle hot dishes or pans
  • Use a water thermometer to check your bath water
  • Choose footwear that fits properly
  • Ask your doctor if they can recommend therapeutic shoes

Also, if you have problems with balance, there are things you can do to prevent falls. For instance:

  • Use a walking cane or another walking device.  Speak to your doctor if you need help choosing the right walking aid.
  • Sit down when you do some activities you would normally perform standing up (like brushing your teeth).
  • Consider installing handrails in your bathroom.

A New Approach to Improving Mobility and Restoring Function

Making lifestyle changes is only one part of managing peripheral neuropathy. You also have to work on maintaining, or restoring, your motor function. People living with peripheral neuropathy often suffer from balance impairment and mobility problems. Improved mobility will allow you to enjoy walking your dog, running, or playing with your grandchildren.

To help stimulate the nerves on the bottom of your foot, you need to do more than just Naboso Insoles Texture 3wear properly fitting footwear. A new option to stimulate your foot’s nerves is to use textured insoles specifically designed to improve movement and function.

Naboso Technology proprioceptive insoles accurately and precisely stimulate the foot’s nervous system. The small nerves on the bottom of your foot are sensitive to different stimuli.

These include vibration, texture, touch, and pressure. The foot’s nerves receive this information and use it to help you maintain balance and posture. They also use it to control your muscles.

However, wearing shoes — even minimal footwear — blocks some of the stimulation the plantar foot receives. This results in a delay in the central nervous system that can affect balance and movement.

But walking barefoot is not always possible. Also, for people suffering from reduced foot sensitivity due to peripheral neuropathy, walking barefoot may increase the risk of injury. That’s why doctors may advise people with neuropathies to avoid walking barefoot, even around the house.

So if you can’t walk barefoot, what can you do to ensure the foot’s peripheral nerves receive proper stimulation? Fortunately, Naboso Technology has developed a solution for this exact problem: textured insoles that you can insert in your everyday footwear.

Research studies have shown the benefit of textured insoles for people with chronic neurological conditions. At Naboso Technology, we have built upon texture research and surface science to create our proprioceptive insoles. These insoles are ideal for people with decreased sensitivity of the feet. Inserting them into properly fitting shoes has been shown to improve posture, balance, and mobility.

The benefits of Naboso Technology insoles for people with peripheral neuropathy include the following:

  • Increased foot stimulation, which increases the sensitivity of the foot
  • Improved gait, which reduces the risk of falls
  • Enhanced peripheral nerve stimulation, which promotes nerve function and regeneration
  • Improved posture and balance, which help you regain your confidence in your ability to walk and stand

The Naboso Technology insoles are a safe and effective way to promote optimal connection between the foot’s nerves and the brain. Therefore, they can play an important role in neuro-rehabilitation programs.

Beside insoles, Naboso Technology material is also integrated into proprioceptive training mats. They can help ensure your foot’s nerves receive proper stimulation when you exercise barefoot.

Maintaining good balance, coordination, and movement is important for everyone. But it’s key to your wellness when you live with peripheral neuropathy. Increased mobility and balance can help you maintain your quality of life.

Conclusion

Damage to peripheral nerves can cause peripheral neuropathy. This is a condition that can affect anyone, though it’s more common in older people. There are many types of peripheral neuropathy. Their symptoms range from mild to severe. Treatment depends on the type of nerve damage. Unfortunately, no known cure exists for some kinds of neuropathies. When doctors can’t find the cause of this condition, therapies aim to ease its symptoms.

Do not let peripheral neuropathy take control of your life. Take measures to manage your condition. Follow your prescribed treatment and make certain lifestyle changes to improve your mobility as well as your foot’s sensitivity. Wearing Naboso Technology insoles in your everyday shoes can improve your balance and stability. With renewed confidence when walking or standing, you’ll be able to continue enjoying your favorite activities and independence.

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Foot Function & Fascial Lines Series, General

Are you doing short foot correctly? | Clearing the confusion

I think it goes without saying that I have a passion for sharing the power of foot activation and how it fascially connects to central core stabilization.  My go-to for foot activation is none other than – short foot!

Considered by some as merely of foot-specific exercise and not one that is integrated or applicable to total body function, I think it’s time to clear the confusion around this exercise – and foot function in general!

Having taught short foot to professionals, patients and athletes all around the world for over 10 years, I’ve seen it all.   I’ve literally taught short foot to over 25,000 people and have seen every confusion, mis-cueing, compensation pattern and foot type.

Because I understand the power of proper short foot activation, I get a little let’s say passionate when I see and hear professionals cueing short foot incorrectly.

What gets me even more worked up is that those that are cueing short foot incorrectly are professionals who are being followed and trusted as “experts” in the industry.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Having thousands of Instagram followers and posting cool pictures that favor natural foot function does not make one a foot expert.   Yet what these professionals are posting and saying is being taken as gospel, possibly because they are being stated with such confidence it must be correct.  Right?

Sadly most of the posts and statements that are being made are black and white concepts.  The foot is supposed to do X and therefore Y.    I wish it was that easy, but the human body is far too complex to be X = Y.    There is a lot of grey when it comes to programming, cueing and yes – overall foot function.

What is the risk of posting pictures and statements or teaching concepts that are black and white or X = Y?   People can get hurt.   Trust gets broken.   Confusion gets created.

Clearing the Confusion on Short Foot

It’s time to set the record straight.    I”m going to go into the proper way to cue and execute short foot.    My cueing technique is backed by anatomy, science and a deep understanding of true foot function.    No conclusions are being made based off of associations.

Disclaimer:   After reading this, if you realize that have been doing short foot incorrectly. It’s okay!   This is not an attack on anyone or a criticism to any professional out there – even to the ones that are cueing short foot incorrectly.   I just want short foot to be represented in its true form so that we get the optimal benefits and reduce the risk of injury. 

Step 1 – Teach 1 foot at a time. 

I usually cue to go into a split stance so that you can focus on just the front foot initially.

Why we want to teach one foot at a time is that the mind-muscle connection of executing short foot bilateral is too high for many clients.   To start with one foot allows the focus to be centered on a more local foot engagement.

Step 2 – Slightly bend the knees to unlock them 

When we do short foot we create a locking mechanism up the lower extremity.   If you do short foot on a fully extended knee you are essentially locking a locked joint.   This can create shear to the meniscus and create injury to our clients.

As the Hippocratic Oath states “thou shalt do no harm” – so I kindly remind you to slightly bend the knees.

Step 3 – Place the foot in neutral and find the foot tripod

foot-tripod-bottom-points

Ensuring the rear foot is not pronated during short foot is critical – reason being is that a pronated foot is unlocked and unstable with the muscles in a lengthened position.    This makes in ineffective to engage short foot.

After the rear foot is put into a neutral position, then it’s time to find the foot tripod.  This means to center body weight under the 1st metatarsal head, 5th metatarsal head and heel.

Disclaimer: This is NOT to be confused with the foot staying on the tripod throughout the exercise – or to push the tripod down during short foot. 

Step 4 – Lift the toes, spread them out and place them on the ground 

To further complete the base of support and centered foot position we need all digits to be spread wide and long.    We will shortly see that the true action of short foot is in the digits which is why this is going to be an important aspect of the short foot cue.

Step 5 – While exhaling, push the tips of the toes down into the ground 

The true cue for short foot is in the long flexors (FHL, FDL) which insert into the plantar, distal aspect of the toes.   These muscles anchor or root the tips of the toes (think toenails) down into the ground.

img_7139.jpgThe pushing of the distal tips of the toes into the ground not only activates the long flexors but it also engages the plantar fascia via the reverse windlass mechanism.   Both the action of the long flexors and plantar fascia is to increase the arches of the foot (longitudinal and transverse) which ultimately lifts us off of the ball of the foot.

What we should see when we push the tips of the toes down into the ground is that the 1st metatarsal head lifts off of the ground.

Now to be clear, I don’t want YOU to lift the 1st metatarsal head off of the ground – I want it to be a reaction of the contraction.

If YOU lift the 1st metatarsal head off of the ground, chances are you are going to over engage short foot and can create too much hypertonicity.

Now this is where the cueing goes wrong!

Many – I repeat – many professionals are cueing short foot as pushing the 1st metatarsal head down into the ground.   This is wrong.  This is incorrect.  This does not transverse to function.   This is a literal translation of the foot tripod and a gross misrepresentation of true function of the foot.    (More on this soon!)

Step 6 – Incorporate the pelvic floor 

The final step we want to integrate with short foot is the deep core.   To be truly integrated we need the entire Deep Front Line to be a part of this short foot exercise.  This means that as we exhale, we want to focus on lifting our pelvic floor and pushing the tips of our toes down into the ground.

The result?

All of the central domes in our body stack.   The arch, the pelvic floor, the diaphragm – and technically our palate all lift during activation.

Clearing the Confusion! 

So now that we know the proper way to cue short foot.   It’s time to clear the confusion how short foot.   The most common incorrect cue that I hear is pushing the 1st metatarsal head down as the activation.

I am not sure who started this trend but it is wrong.

Yes we do start by finding our foot tripod – but that doesn’t mean we should literally push into the foot tripod as the form of foot activation for foot stability.

DFL

So why not?     We need to defend our reason of why not!

Answer #1 –  Deep Front Line.    

Short Foot is a Deep Front Line activation.  Remember the true purpose of activating our feet is to get them to “talk to” our core or center.

If we look at the Deep Front Line, the muscles of the feet that we see are the Flexor Hallucis Longus, Flexor Digitorum Longus, Posterior Tibialis and Anterior Tibialis.

As mentioned earlier, the cueing I use for short foot is to push the tips of the toes down into the ground.  The reason?  Because this is the action of the flexors!

When we push the 1st metatarsal down into the ground we are activating the peroneus longus muscle.

Do you see that muscle in the Deep Front Line?   I don’t either!

Answer #2 – 1st Ray Plantarflexion & the 1st MPJ

To further understand the purpose of 1st metatarsal plantar flexion (or pushing the 1st met down) we need to understand the true functional reason behind this action.

When does our 1st metatarsal FUNCTIONALLY want to plantar flex?

During push-off!

The action of 1st metatarsal plantar flexion is to allow the 1st MPJ to dorsiflexion – an action that occurs during push-off.   When we take a step, run or jump our great toe dorsiflexes to create a rigid lever for forward (or vertical) progression.

I did a whole blog series on the 1st MPJ where I went into the actions of slide, glide and jam but essentially one of the most critical steps in dorsiflexion of the big toe is 1st metatarsal plantar flexion.    However.   We must pause there.   This 1st metatarsal plantar flexion is actually not DOWN but rather it is BEHIND us.

1st mpj

 

If you see in the image to the right, 1st metatarsal plantar flexion is actual BEHIND us as
we shift our COG forward, this is how we truly dorsiflex the great toe.

How does this relate back to short foot?  This means that to train the 1st metatarsal to literally push down into the ground has no true functional transfer.

Answer #3 – Sesamoids 

The final reason of why I do not cue pushing the 1st metatarsal head down has to do with the sesamoids.   The sesamoids are two small bones that sit within the Flexor Hallucis Brevis tendons and sit directly under the 1st metatarsal head.

Like the patella (knee cap) the sesamoids are not intended to be passive weight bearing bones but rather ones that transfer force during functional movement.

sesamoidThe image to the left shows that the sesamoids are the lowest bones in the foot and if there is intentional 1st met plantarflexion into the ground (due to a miscue of short foot) then there is increased force to these small bones.

This can greatly increase the chance for sesamoiditis and sesamoid fractures – two conditions that are a b*#! to treat.

In addition, some of the clients and patients being cued to push down into their 1st metatarsal head during short foot may actually have a functional plantarflexed first ray which can be exacerbated with improper short foot cueing.   The negative impact of a plantar flexed 1st metatarsal (ray) is functional hallux limitus, which can lead to a myriad of compensation patterns during walking.

Did I confuse you more?

If the above was a little like “what the hell is she talking about” then good!   This is is how confusing the foot is!

It is not black and white.   It is not X = Y.

It is grey with a lot of exceptions with any cue or exercise.   This is why I created the Barefoot Training Specialist® Certification and have trained a very niche group of qualified Master Instructors under EBFA Global.

Are you more of an auditory learner?

Tune in below for a video summary I did on this exact topic.

Still confused?    Email me!     dremily@ebfafitness.com

In summary, honor the power of the foot.   Consider who you are using as your sources.   Ask questions.   And don’t take anything anyone says as gospel.   Ask for the WHY?

Stay #barefootstrong

Dr Emily Splichal, DPM, MS, CES

 

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Barefoot Science, General

Toe Walking and Tactile Input

Walking on the toes as a child may be considered a normal phase of learning to walk, however in the child past 3 years old the absence of heel contact at initial contact is not normal.

According to Williams et al. (2010) an average 7% of children present with a toe walking toe walkinggait.  Any child walking on their toes should be assessed for medical causes of the gait pattern.

Some of the most common causes of toe walking include:

  • Equinus (structural limitation is ankle dorsiflexion)
  • Upper motor neuron trauma (cerebral palsy)
  • Neurogenic factors (autism)

But what if all of the above possible causes are ruled out?

What could be the driver of the toe walking?

This is where the diagnosis idiopathic toe walking (ITW) comes into play.    ITW means there is no known cause for the child’s gait pattern and absence of heel strike at initial contact.

Treatment Options for Toe Walking

If there is no known cause for a child’s toe walking it makes treatment options difficult. For ITW, most practitioners focus on ankle mobility as the most addressable option.

This means treatment options for these children include:

  • Physical therapy and manual release work
  • Stretching and night splints
  • Botox injections to calves
  • Achilles tendon lengthening

All of these treatment options have downsides including skin irritation, compliancy and invasive risks of infection and scarring.    Specialists are now looking for new treatment options for these children.  Treatment options that are simple, non-invasive and will have increased compliancy.

New Treatment Options for ITW

Researcher Dr Cylie Williams of Monash University in Australia has been exploring new treatment options that look specifically at the tactile input in these children.   It is proposed that by changing tactile input through the feet, one could change the neurological input and potentially influence the gait pattern.

Dr Williams’ initial exploration into this topic was related to whole body vibration fullsizeoutput_1805(WBV).   In her prior research she has noted varying vibration threshold in children who are idiopathic toe walkers and those with a normal heel toe gait.   The benefits of WBV are promising to this pediatric population however the only downside is that the effect is short term, temporary and requires a WBV platform such as Power Plate.

Dr Williams is seeking new tactile stimulation methods and has turned to Naboso Neuro Insoles.   Starting early 2019 Dr Williams will be researching the effects of Naboso Insoles as a simple, non-invasive intervention for ITW.

Sensory Seeking Children

As the inventor of Naboso Technology and our sensory products, my interest is of course in those children who are sensory seeking and the possible role the Naboso Insoles and Mats can have on the behavior and movement patterns in these children.

Lane et al. (2009) has identified three main types of sensory processing disorders in children with autism:

  • Sensory sensitive (covering ears to loud noises, restricted food preferences)
  • Sensory under-responsive (failure to react to pain)
  • Sensory seeking (rocking, hand flapping, noise-makingchildrens insoles

Due to the correlation between autism, sensory processing disorders and toe walking the possible application of Naboso for these children is exciting.    As the research around ITW and tactile input continues to be explored we will hopefully have new data to share on this topic.

In the mean time we encourage any professional working with ITW children to consider the possible role of Naboso Children’s Insoles and our Naboso Textured Mats.

In health,

Dr Emily Splichal, DPM, MS 

Citations:

Lane, Alison et al. (2009) Sensory Processing Subtypes in Autism. J Dev Autism Disorder 40: 112 – 122.

Williams, Cylie et al. (2010) Idiopathic Toe Walking and Sensory Processing Disorder. J Foot and Ankle Res  3: 16

 

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