Barefoot Science, Naboso Technology

Foot Numbness and How Enhanced Sensory Stimulation Can Manage It

A lack of sensation in your foot could signal that something is affecting your peripheral nerves.  Now the culprit may be as simple as nerve compression from poor posture or tight shoes, or it could signify a much larger cause requiring medical evaluation.   Many disorders can have paresthesia (the medical term for “numbness”) as a symptom which means that if you have an underlying medical condition, you best speak to your doctor.

What Is Foot Numbness?

The term “foot numbness” may mean different things to different people. Numbness in the foot could refer to the following:

  • An abnormal feeling
  • Loss of sensitivity
  • A pins-and-needles sensation
  • Prickling
  • Tingling

In general, foot numbness means an abnormal sensation in the foot. The medical term for distorted sensation is paresthesia.

To understand paresthesia, you need to know a little about how the nervous system works.  It’s made up of the central nervous system and peripheral nerves.  The peripheral nerves branch off of the spinal cord and travel in the arms and legs finding sensory stimulation that is then communicated with the sensory cortex of the brain.  This is the region of the brain that processes sensory information and then uses it to create motor responses.

Foot numbness is very common, affecting up to 7 percent of adults in the United States. That’s about 16 million people. Many of these individuals have diabetes, which is the leading cause of foot numbness. But there are many other causes of paresthesia.

Causes of Foot Numbness

Some types of paresthesia appear suddenly. Others are progressive meaning they get worse with time. Foot numbness can be temporary, lasting as little as a few minutes, like when your “foot is asleep.” Or foot numbness can be permanent. This can happen when the cause of nerve damage is a chronic medical condition.

Foot numbness itself is not life threatening but it can be dangerous in the sense that it changes the balance and stability of the individual.   When you can’t feel your feet touch the ground walking can become difficult, and driving impossible.

Here are some of the most common causes of foot numbness:

  • Diabetic Neuropathy.  About one in two people with diabetes has nerve damage (neuropathy). One of the hallmark symptoms of diabetic neuropathy is foot numbness.
  • Multiple Sclerosis. Numbness in the limbs is a typical symptom of multiple sclerosis which may or may not also be associated with foot drop.
  • Pinched nerve. If a nerve has suffered damage or injury from stretching, compression, or constriction (“pinching”), you may get foot numbness. Other symptoms include pain, tingling, and a pins-and-needles sensation.
  • Peripheral neuropathy.This condition affects the peripheral nerves due to chemotherapy treatment, nutritional deficiency or idiopathy (autoimmune) causes.
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome. It’s a rare disorder that affects about one in 100,000 people each year. The symptoms include foot numbness and pain, as well as weakness and loss of reflexes.
  • Fibromyalgia.  More than 80 percent of people with fibromyalgia have paresthesia. Numbness in people with fibromyalgia is not usually limited to the foot. It affects other parts of the body, too.
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.This condition is associated with pain, burning sensation, numbness, tingling, and tightness in the sole of the foot.
  • Morton’s Neuroma.  Morton’s neuroma happens when the nerve tissue between the third and fourth toes thickens due to improper foot stabilization or restrictive footwear.  The symptoms of Morton’s neuroma begin gradually. They include numbness, tingling, and pain in the toes and ball of the foot.

Treatment of Foot Numbness

The choice of treatment for foot numbness depends on its cause. It’s wise to see a doctor if you get foot numbness from other causes than poor posture or tight shoes. If you also have pain, weakness, or other symptoms, speak to a doctor.

How to Treat Foot Numbness

There are many medical conditions that can cause paresthesia therefore it is wise to seek medical help to pinpoint the cause. To be able to make a diagnosis, your doctor will need to examine you and your medical history. Referral to a specialist may be necessary.

Once your doctor identifies the underlying cause of paresthesia, they’ll work on addressing it.  You may need to make changes to your diet, stop drinking alcohol, or you may need to take prescription drugs.

Medication for neuropathic pain includes antidepressants, antiepileptic medications, antispasmodics, and analgesics. You may also need to work with a specialist, like an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, or podiatrist.

Addressing of Foot Numbness with Enhanced Sensory Stimulation

Plantar foot sensory stimulation benefits anyone including those with foot numbness. Chronic foot numbness may lead to foot weakness and balance impairment which means reduced foot sensitivity can increase the risk of falls and injuries.

Fortunately, there is a way to prevent loss of sensitivity: enhanced stimulation of the foot using textured insoles. Naboso Technology insoles are specifically designed to improve dynamic stability and mobility by stimulating the skin on the bottom of the feet.

The foot’s nerves are sensitive to stimuli like vibration, pressure, texture, and touch. They send this information to the central nervous system (sensory cortex), which uses it to control your balance and movement.   Wearing shoes blocks some of the stimulation the foot’s nerves receive which is an important considering especially in those who have existing foot numbness.

Textured insoles in your shoes can mimic the sensory stimulation of walking barefoot and help those living with foot numbness appreciate a new connection to their feet.

Benefits of Naboso Technology

Using Naboso Technology insoles has many benefits including:

  • Increased plantar foot sensory stimulation. This boosts the foot’s sensitivity and promotes nerve function.
  • Improved posture and balance. The more we are connected to our feet, the better our overall sense of body alignment.
  • Reduced fall risk.   This is again due to the improved connection with the foundation of our body – the feet.

Using textured insoles in your shoes is not the only way to enhance plantar foot stimulation. Naboso Technology has also integrated its textured material into training mats.  Exercising barefoot on a Naboso Technology Mat increases joint position sense and body awareness during rehab and training exercises.

Conclusion

Numbness of the foot, or paresthesia, is an abnormal sensation in the foot.  It happens when a nerve suffers injury, compression, or constriction.  The causes of foot numbness range from poor posture to chronic diseases. The treatment for foot numbness depends on its cause. But prevention is always better than treatment. Preventing foot numbness involves keeping the foot’s nerves healthy.

Using Naboso Technology insoles is an effective way to enhance the sensory stimulation of the foot. The added benefits are better balance, coordination, and mobility. Do you need help choosing your Naboso Technology insoles? Click here to learn about the graduated stimulation of our insoles

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

The Best Insoles for Preventing Running Related Injuries

What are the best insoles for running injury prevention?

The softer, the better, you might say.  But is extra cushioning actually the best approach for preventing injuries?

Recent research indicates that more cushioning in our shoes and insoles is actually not effective for preventing running-related injuries.

In fact, there’s evidence that too much cushioning may even increase the risk of injuries for runners.

In contrast, research has demonstrated that energy returning insoles and textured insoles may be the best way to go to better control ground impact forces.

This article suggests three of the best running insoles and how each may prevent running-related injuries. You’ll discover their benefits, features, and more. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better informed to choose the best insoles for runners.

Firstly, do you even need running insoles?

No matter how much you spend on your running shoes, they more often than not seem to come with a cheap insole. Usually it’s just a thin sock liner that doesn’t add much comfort or support.  So a question that many runners ask is, “Do I even need insoles in my running shoes?”

The answer depends on several things. Let’s examine a couple of them.

Foot Type.

The need for running insoles is greatly dependent on foot-type and foot strength.  The most common foot types are high arch, neutral and flat foot.  These are intended to not be medical terminology but to get start a general idea of the various foot types and the impact of each.

The flat foot / low arch may often be associated with over-pronation or an unstable foot.   If this is your foot type then having a running insole may provide some necessary foot support and control.   Conversely, a high arched foot is typically a rigid foot and needs the opposite of support – mobilization.   A neutral foot sits in the middle which could go either way based on the runner’s mileage and injury history.

Mileage.

The second big question when considering running insoles has to do with the mileage.   Do you plan to run a couple miles at a time or are you pushing 10+ miles per session?   The further the run obviously the greater the stress on feet and lower legs.   We all hit a fatigue point with our muscles which means the longer the run potentially the greater the need for running insoles.

Injury History.

This is a big one as it helps to gauge general foot strength.    In those runner’s with a history of plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and stress fractures they may have an increased susceptibility to running-related injuries.   Combine this with longer mileage and let’s say a flat foot or over-pronated foot, this is a recipe for needing running-related insoles.

VKTRY Performance Insoles

Carbon-fiber insoles are one of the hottest trends in the performance industry.    This incredibly light weight yet strong material is suggested to provide greater energy return thereby improving a runner’s energetics.  An interesting study by Hoogkamer suggests that the plate’s spring function is actually negligible and that carbon fiber insoles actually work by stabilizing the ankle joint and reducing the load on the calves.  In addition, its stiffness helps keep runners’ toes nice and straight, allowing them to preserve the energy.   Check out vktrygear.com to learn more!

ZELUS Olympus Arch Insoles

If foot type, mileage or injury history supports using an arch support in your running shoes you want to make sure you chose wisely.  Due to the dynamics of running, any insole in a running shoe should have some level of flex to it.   Running is all about balancing foot strength (or support) with energy return and moving harmoniously with the ground.   Any overly stiff insole can actually increase injury risk if it blocks all natural energy return from the ground.    The ZELUS Insole line provides innovative SmartCell design to better balance support and dynamics during running.  To learn more head to zelusinsoles.com

NABOSO 1.5 Textured Insole

A completely flat, textured insole may seem counterintuitive to how an insole can reduce running related injuries, however the science is actually there.   Textured insoles, such as those by Naboso Technology work by strengthening the small muscles in the bottom of the foot, increasing joint stabilization, and reducing impact forces.  In addition, if users wear the Naboso 1.5 Insole post-run, it’s also a great way to speed up recovery.   To learn more head to nabosotechnology.com

Ready. Set. Go!

Running has many health benefits, but it also comes with a high risk of injury.  Every year, more than one in every two runners in the world suffers a running injury with most of them due to overuse, excessive training, and repetitive movement.

In addition to considering the above running-related insoles don’t forget to also include a proper warm-up, cooldown and sufficient cross training to total body strength.    You can learn more about preventing running-related injuries via the following program by myself and Stick MobilityRun Injury Free! 

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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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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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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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Barefoot Science, General

NeuroRehabilitation with Naboso Technology

Balance impairment and gait instability are common symptoms in patients living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD).   From an increased fall risk to reduced independence, compromised dynamic stability can place a heavy emotional burden on these individuals.

When developing a balance and fall reduction program for PD clients, research has OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAshown that stimulation of the foot with texture shows promising results.   Study after study has demonstrated that the seemingly simple intervention of texture is actually quite powerful in its postural effects.

Why the Plantar Foot? 

Our hands and feet are some the most sensitive sensory gateways of the human body and allow us to connect our visual and vestibular systems with the exteroceptive (external) world.

The skin on the plantar foot is packed with unique nerve endings called mechanoceptors or touch receptors.   There are four main mechanoceptors found on the bottom of the feet.

SAI – which is sensitive to two-point discrimination & texture (Naboso!)

SAII – which is sensitive to skin stretch

FAI – which is sensitive to low-frequency vibration (walking impact forces)

FAII – which is sensitive to high-frequency vibration (running impact forces)

Texture & the Plantar Foot 

Texture such as that of two-point discrimination (Naboso) have been shown to improve posture and sway in those with Parkinson’s Disease.

A 2011 study by Hatton et al. showed that pyramid-like textures had the greatest efficacy on reducing postural sway in PD patients.   This was both the eyes shut and unstable environment.

A 2013 study by Qui et al. compared the effects of smooth versus textured insoles on balance and stability in those with Parkinson’s Disease.  Qui et al. found that the greatest effect was with textured insoles on unstable surfaces with eyes open and eyes closed.

A 2017 study by Silva et al. showed that continuous use of textured insoles over a one week period not only improved gait but also improved foot sensitivity and sensation.

Naboso Textured Insoles

Insole Pic 2To date, Naboso Insoles are the only commercially available textured insoles that are designed to enhance posture, improve gait and reduce falls in people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s Multiple Sclerosis, neuropathy, and post-stroke.  There is so much exciting textured insole research but until Naboso none of this information was commercially applicable to these PD patients.

At Naboso we are so excited to see that the effects of Naboso Insoles match that of the research!    Below are a few videos of just how powerful the Naboso Insoles are at improving gait in those with Parkinson’s Disease!

Coming Soon! – Naboso Clinical Insoles 

With these exciting results above Naboso Technology is working on a new version to their already existing Insole line – NabosoNeuro.   These clinical insoles will be specific to the enhanced somatosensory demands of Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, diabetes (neuropathy), post-stroke + more!

To learn more about the benefits of Naboso Insoles in neurorehabilitation please click HERE

To carry Naboso Insoles in your office for patients and clients please contact Naboso Technology for our wholesale rates – orders@nabosotechnology.com

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