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Mike Buchanan: Thank you very much. And good morning everyone. Well you know most people take a tremendous fuss in their overall health. That’s why orthopedic surgeon, Brett Fink, has written a book about the importance of maintaining proper foot care. The foot is an amazing complex organ that provides a variety of activities during a person’s lifetime. Dr. Fink will reveal the foot problems that are often misunderstood by the very physicians that we turn to for help. Furthermore, foot problems can affect every aspect of a person’s life from work to parenting. These problems can be avoided and even reversed. Dr. Brett Fink is the author of the book, The Whole Foot Book: A Complete Program For Taking Care of Those Feet. And he joins us this morning. Good morning, Doctor, and thank you for joining us this morning!
Dr. Fink: Good morning, Mike, and thank you for allowing me to be on your show.
Mike Buchanan: Always nice to have you on the show. What are some ways to find the best foot care possible?
Dr. Fink: Well, I think that one of the ways to find the best foot care possible is to buy a reasonable pair shoes. I think that, despite what a lot of people think, orthotics are not necessary for a lot of things. For specific foot problems, they can be very important. And then to find a foot doctor who is knowledgeable and can help you with any problems that come up.
Mike Buchanan: For a person that has a foot problem is it best for that person to go to a podiatrist as opposed to a family doctor?
Dr. Fink: I suppose it depends upon what you’re looking for. Certainly most people have exposure to a family practitioner on a regular basis, and for fairly minor problems I think that a family practitioner can help them with a lot of those problems. Certainly for a problem that is more persistent, is causing more problems, may be causing swelling, or foot deformity, then seen either a podiatrist or an orthopedist that is knowledgeable in foot problems could get them a little farther than it could with seeing a family practitioner.
Mike Buchanan: I was thinking, Dr., you go to a shoe store, and there are literally hundreds and hundreds of shoes to choose from. Do we sometimes make a mistake by purchasing the wrong shoes for a specific lifestyle or activity that we have?
Dr. Fink: Well, I think , Mike, that’s an interesting question. First of all, I think we should take a step back, and look at the way the foot has developed. I mean, before hundred years ago, people didn’t wear shoes very often and therefore the foot has evolved to do a fairly good job throughout our lifetime of performing without pain for our lifespan. So often shoes are not necessary or not therapeutic for most healthy feet. I think it is important to find shoes that fit properly and that, if you have foot problems, specific foot problems, then you should look for shoes that are designed, then mechanically counteract those problems.
Mike Buchanan: What are some of the most common foot problems that you find associated with the foot?
Dr. Fink: Well, the most significant problem I think is plantar fasciitis, or heel pain, also known as heel Spurs. That probably accounts for 30% of the people that I see in my office. Ten percent of people will have this sometime throughout their life. And usually it goes away without much problem. After that, various forms of tendinitis. All of these occur because of the way that we use our feet over a long period of time. Again, shoes are part of the problem, because in Western society we have begun to wear shoes that are fairly constrictive. A lot of times the muscles do not develop properly or become deconditioned and I think that this makes us prone to develop problems like plantar fasciitis, like Achilles tendinitis, like hammer toe deformities. That’s what I go through in my book, I have developed a program to counteract those problems through exercise, therapeutic shoe wear when necessary, and overall good foot health.
Mike Buchanan: What are some other foot problems that, you know, you come across in your practice?
Dr. Fink: Well, again, hammer toe deformities are perhaps one of the biggest problems. And they often begin as simple swellings in the front of the foot and a lot of times people don’t know what they are. You know, unfortunately, a lot of times if you go to a primary care doctor, who may not be quite as sophisticated about the number of diagnoses that he knows well, he may misdiagnose this as a Morton’s neuroma, a stress fracture, or something like that. And usually these problems begin as swellings that eventually become foot deformities. A lot of times the pain will go away but the deformity will persist. Other problems that you might run into are bunions, and various types of arthritis of the midfoot or forefoot. Arch pains, flattening of the arch, there are hundreds of potential diagnoses.
Mike Buchanan: I’m sure you’ve seen, like I have, these commercials on television and they’re usually in like a Walmart store, where you stand on this, kind of like a pad or something, and this machine will tell you that you need this specific type of shoe. Are these machines pretty reliable, accurate, what you think?
Dr. Fink: Well, I don’t think that a healthy foot requires an orthotic. The foot that is having problems may require an orthotic and surprisingly there’s not much of a difference between orthotics. Studies have even looked at custom orthotics versus the type that you get over-the-counter at one of those kiosks and there is only very subtle differences between them. And foremost normal feet, feet that don’t have significant deformities but are painful, just a simple over-the-counter orthotic can help many problems. But those machines, unfortunately, only look at a very small part of the foot, and therefore, I think it’s difficult for machine to tell you what to do for any foot problem. And again orthotics are only a very small part of foot treatment.
Mike Buchanan: And you know these machines, Doctor, they are stepped on by hundreds of people don’t they malfunction after a while?
Dr. Fink: Well, again, you have to look at the type of information that these machines are trying to get from your foot and it is, it’s very limited. And they more or less determine how you distribute the weight on the foot while you are standing. And that isn’t necessarily the same as when you’re walking or you’re doing any of the millions of things that we do during the course of the day. And so those machines, I think they only look at a very limited part of the foot and I think it’s difficult for that machine to even judge whether orthotics are the proper way to go as they frequently aren’t.
Mike Buchanan: Well, Doctor, let me ask you, we only have a couple minutes to go, are feet sometimes misunderstood?
Dr. Fink: Well, I think that, I still after 19 years of being a doctor, there are many things that I don’t understand about the foot. I think that after years of considering some of these foot problems, you do eventually get some insight as to what is going on in them. But I think that, yes, the foot has many, many bones and joints and they all interact with the leg, so it’s a very complex situation. But, in a lot of ways, the principles behind them are very simple to understand, but very difficult to convey to the patient during the course of a fairly short office visit.
Mike Buchanan: Doctor, how can someone obtain a copy of your book, The Whole Foot Book?
Dr. Fink: It’s available through Barnes & Noble and Amazon and I think it’s very reasonably priced. Really for the price that you can go to a physical therapist for one visit, it’s much less than the copayment for physical therapist for one visit. And I think that people can learn a great deal if they just take the time to look into this stuff on their own rather than just expecting a doctor or physical therapist to teach them all of these things that I think are very important for them to learn during the course of their foot problem.
Mike Buchanan: As far as surgery goes, you surgery only as a last resort?
Dr. Fink: For most common problems, I think, surgery is almost always a last resort. It’s very simple for a doctor to prescribe surgery for problem. They don’t have to get a lot of help from the patient. It’s time-consuming for doctors to go through with the patient, nonoperative treatment. And I think that it’s overlooked and often not paid the attention that it should be. And I think that a lot of times people get in trouble because of that.
Mike Buchanan: Doctor, we have run completely out of time, Thank you very much for joining us this morning on Good Morning Magazine.
Posted in Foot Disorders, Medical Tips and Pearls, Uncategorized
Tags: foot pain, the whole foot book
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