Foot conditions can affect one or both feet and have a serious impact on your quality of life. The foot has number components that may be affected by a condition - skin, nails, bones, cartilage, joints and blood vessels. Some conditions that may affect the foot include arthritis, diabetes, circulatory disorders, dermatitis, fungal nail infections or fractures.
We at Acor would suggest that if you do have a foot condition, consult your physician or foot doctor.
Arch pain is often felt as a burning sensation under the long arch of the foot. There are a number of causes of this, the most common being plantar fasciitis, but it can also be due to the strain of any structure in the arch of the foot.
There are a number of possible causes for arch pain but the most common are structural imbalances of the foot, such as a pronated foot (rolls inward at the ankles). This is often not enough in isolation to cause the problem but in combination with other factors, arch pain may develop. These other factors are usually associated with overuse - running, walking, hard surfaces and/or OFAD (on your feet all day), usually combined with inadequate or non-supportive footwear.
The more common specific causes of arch pain can be:
The initial treatment for arch pain, especially if it is of sudden onset is the use of ice to reduce the swelling. Later heat and anti-inflammatory gels can be a big help.
Activity should be modified - if you stand a lot at work, see if you can using seating more; if you run a lot, consider swimming or cycling for a while.
Use footwear that is supportive in the midfoot and heel area.
An accurate diagnosis from a health professional is important early in the management of arch pain.
If the symptoms are more severe, tape can be used to restrict motion and support the arch; anti-inflammatory medication can be used to give some relief. Orthotics are usually indicated.
If there is no initial response to treatment, further investigations may be necessary to check for conditions such as arthritis or a pinched nerve.
Early in the treatment of arch pain, consideration needs to be given to the cause and strategies put in place to prevent it happening again. Advice should be sought on the adequacy of footwear. Stretching exercises should be continued long after the symptoms are gone. Foot orthoses should be used if structural imbalances are present. Activity levels and types of activities (occupational and sporting) need to be considered and modified accordingly.
Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a fungal infection that causes a rash on the skin of the foot. It is the most common fungal skin infection.
There are three main types of athlete's foot. Each type affects different parts of the foot, looks different, and may be treated differently. While some people who have athlete's foot do not notice it, others develop severe symptoms.
Athlete's foot is caused by a fungus. Fungi commonly grow on or in the top layer of human skin and may or may not cause infections. Fungi grow best in warm, moist areas, such as the area between the toes.
Athlete's foot is easily spread (contagious)-you can get it by touching the affected area of a person who has it. More commonly, you pick up the fungi by going barefoot in shared areas, such as swimming pools or locker rooms. The fungi then grow in the warm and moist environment of your footwear, especially if it is tight so that little air can move around your feet.Some people are more likely to develop athlete's foot (susceptible) than others. Experts don't know why this is. Once you have had athlete's foot, you are more likely to get it again.
If you come in contact with the fungi that cause athlete's foot, you can spread the fungi to others, whether you develop the infection or not.
Athlete's foot symptoms can vary greatly. While some people have severe discomfort, others have few or no symptoms. Symptoms also vary depending on the type of athlete's foot you have.
Toe web infection (interdigital) usually occurs between the fourth and fifth toes. The skin becomes scaly, peels, and cracks. If the infection becomes severe, bacteria are usually present, which cause further skin breakdown (maceration).
Moccasin-type infection may begin with minor irritation and then progresses to thickened, cracked skin on the sole or heel. In severe cases, the toenails become infected and can thicken, crumble, and even fall out.
Vesicular infection (blisters) usually begins with a sudden outbreak of large fluid-filled areas under the skin. The blisters most often develop on the skin of the instep but may also develop between the toes, on the heel, or on the sole or top of the foot. This type may also be accompanied by a bacterial infection.
In most cases, your health professional can diagnose athlete's foot by looking at it. He or she will also ask about your symptoms and any previous fungal infections you have had. If your athlete's foot looks unusual or if a previous case did not respond well to treatment, your health professional may take a skin or nail sample to test for fungi.
Not all skin problems on the foot are athlete's foot. If you suspect that you have athlete's foot but have never had it before, it's a good idea to have your health professional look at it.
A blister is an area of raised skin with a watery liquid inside. Blisters form on the feet from rubbing and pressure, but they form a lot more quickly than calluses. You can get blisters on your feet the same day you wear uncomfortable or poor-fitting shoes.
Areas on your body that form blisters and continue to be rubbed every day (like your feet because of the same pair of uncomfortable shoes you always wear to school) may go on to form calluses.
Whether you walk all day long, hike, run, or shoot hoops, blisters are almost as much a part of the action as sweat is--but they don't have to be. You can take measures to avoid them. And if you develop a blister, you have several options for lessening the pain and lowering your risk of infection. To prevent blisters, you need to minimize friction. For the feet, this begins with shoe selection. Shoes should fit comfortably, with about a thumb's width between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Too narrow shoes can cause blisters on the big toe and little toe. A shallow toe box can lead to blisters on the tops of the toes, while loose shoes can create blisters on the tips of the toes.
If the blister isn't too painful, do everything possible to keep it intact. Unbroken skin over a blister provides a natural barrier to bacteria and decreases the risk of infection. Cover a small blister with an adhesive bandage, and cover a large one with a porous, plastic-coated gauze pad that absorbs moisture and allows the wound to breathe.
Don't puncture a blister unless it's painful or prevents you from walking or using one of your hands. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, consult your doctor before doing anything with a blister. Call your doctor if you see signs of infection around a blister — pus, redness, increasing pain or warm skin.
Source: Mayo Clinic
A bunion is generally considered as an enlargement of the joint (a lump of bone) at the base and side of the big toe - (specifically, the first metatarsophalangeal joint). Bunions form when the toe moves out of place. As the big toe bends towards the others this lump becomes larger and the bunion can become painful - arthritis and stiffness can eventually develop. Hallux valgus or hallux abducto valgus (HAV) is the name used for the deviated position of the big toe and a bunion refers to the enlargement of the joint - most of the time the two go together and can just be referred to as 'bunions'.
The word bunion is from the Latin "bunion," meaning enlargement.
Wearing footwear that is too tight or causing the toes to be squeezed together are the most commonly blamed factor for the cause of bunions and hallux valgus and is undoubtedly the main contributing factor. This probably is the reason for the higher prevalence of bunions among women. However, studies of some indigenous populations that never wear footwear, show that they also get bunions - BUT, they are very uncommon. As they do get bunions, factors other than footwear must play a role in the cause, even though footwear is the main culprit for providing the pressure that causes the symptoms.
Bunions are most widely considered to be due to an imbalance in the forces that is exerted across the joint during walking. The resulting abnormal motion and pressure over the joint, over many years (combined with poor fitting footwear) leads to instability in the joint causing hallux valgus and bunions. Bunions are really only a symptom of faulty foot mechanics and are usually caused by a combination of the way we walk, the foot we inherit and inappropriate footwear use. Bunions are not inherited but do tend to run in families. What is inherited is the poor or faulty foot type, that mechanically can lead to the instability around the joint that will eventually lead to bunions - how soon, how quickly and how bad they are or become is assumed to be very dependant on the footwear.
A number of other factors are known to play a role in the cause of bunions and hallux valgus. Bunions can follow foot injuries and develop in those with neuromuscular problems. Those with flat feet or pronated feet appear to be more prone to the instability of the joint and have a higher incidence of bunions. Some activities (eg ballet dancing) puts added pressure on the joint and may increase the chance of bunions developing.
There are many treatment options for bunions and they will vary with the type and severity of each bunion and will also depend on what is causing the symptoms. Bunions are almost always progressive and tend to get larger and more painful with time - how fast this happens may be a function of the fit of the footwear.
The initial goal of treatment options is to relieve pressure on the bunion and any symptoms that may be present and to halt or slow the progression of the joint deformity. There is no effective may be "get rid off" a bunion without surgery.
Corns and callus are one of the most common problems seen by Podiatrists. They can occur on any part of the foot and vary in symptoms from a mild callus under the foot, to an infected ulcer that can develop under a corn on a toe. Other names for corns and callus are hyperkeratosis, clavus, heloma and tyloma.
Pathologically they are all the same - the skin has thickened in response to pressure. A callus generally refers to a more diffuse thickening of the skin (more common on the toes, but can occur under the ball of the foot) whereas a corn is a thicker, more focal area (more common on the toes). A corn can occur under and be surrounded by callus.
A corn or callus are areas of thickened skin that occur in areas of pressure. They are actually a normal and natural way for the body to protect itself. For example, callus develops on the hand when chopping a lot of wood - it's a normal way for the skin to protect itself. In the foot, the skin will thicken up to protect itself when there are areas of high pressure. The problem occurs when the pressure continues, so the skin gets thicker. It eventually becomes painful and is treated as something foreign by the body.
Corns appear as a thickening of the skin on the toes. This thickening appears as a cone-shaped mass pointing down into the skin. Hard corns are usually located on the outer surface of the little toe or on the upper surface of the other toes, but can occur between the toes. A soft corn occurs between the toes and are kept soft by the moisture in this area. A callus is a more diffuse area of thickening and does not have the focal point of the corn.
Corns and callus are caused by one thing - TOO MUCH PRESSURE, usually in combination with some friction. There is no other way to get them - the pressure stimulates the skin to thicken to protect itself, but as the stimulation of the pressure continues, it becomes painful.
Too much pressure can be from causes such as:
As there are a number of problems that can result in a corn or callus, it is often good to consider that they are not really a condition at all, but are a symptom of an underlying condition.
Corns and callus that are not treated will become painful. They will not come right on their own unless the pressure that caused them is taken away. If it is not the skin will continue to thicken and become more painful. After a while the body will start treating it as a foreign body and an ulcer (abscess) can develop. This can get infected - the infection can spread. Infection of corns on the toe is more common than a callus. This can be a serious complication for those with poor circulation, peripheral neuropathy and the need for diabetes foot care.
Corns and callus are easy to prevent - just take away the cause and that cause is excessive pressure. No chemical applied to the corn or callus will take away pressure. Correct fitting footwear around the toes, the use of pads to relieve pressure, surgical management of bony prominence and/or regular podiatric care are the best options for prevention of corns and callus.
The foot is especially affected by diabetes because:
As a consequence of these factors a number of things can go wrong:
Foot ulcers are a common complication of the "diabetic foot". They allow a portal for infection to occur. Ulcers are caused by too much pressure on an area and the skin just "breaks down". They can occur under corns and calluses. Healing can take a while and its is imperative that pressure is removed from the area and good wound dressings are used.
If you have diabetes, there are a lot of things you need to do to prevent the problems from developing in your foot:
Podiatrists have an extremely important role to play in the prevention and management of complications of the foot in those with diabetes. All those who are at risk for a problem should have that risk status assessed at least annually (more if the risk is greater). The Podiatrist should communicate this risk status to other members of the health care team. Advice should be given on how to reduce the chance of damage happening, what to do to prevent it and what to do if something does go wrong.
Regular foot care from a Podiatrist is a key way to prevent problems from developing in those who are at risk.
When something does go wrong, see a Podiatrist immediately. Waiting a "few days to see what happens" before seeing someone may be the difference between a good and poor outcome. The sooner treatment is started the better.
If you have flat feet, the arch on the inside of your feet is flattened. Flat feet or low arches usually doesn't cause a problem. However, flat feet can contribute to problems in your feet, ankles and knees. Simple corrective devices, such as low arch orthotics, are available to help prevent complications of flat feet.
With flat feet, you may experience the following signs and symptoms:
Your feet are highly specialized structures. Each foot is made up of 26 bones held together by 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. The intricate alignment of these structures results in the formation of your arches.
As you walk, these springy, elastic arches help distribute your body weight across your feet and legs. Your arches also play an integral role in how you walk. They act as rigid levers for proper mobility, but they must also be resilient and flexible to adapt to various surfaces.
Flat feet are normal in infants and toddlers because the foot's arch hasn't yet developed. Most people's arches develop throughout childhood, but some people never develop arches. This is a normal variation in foot type, and people without arches may or may not have problems.
Lax ligaments can cause flat feet, as can conditions present at birth (congenital) that affect the foot.
Arches can also fall over time. Years of wear and tear can weaken the posterior tibial tendon, which runs along the inside of your ankle, from above your ankle to your arch. The posterior tibial tendon is the main support structure for the arch. An overload to this tendon can cause inflammation of the tendon (tendonitis) and even tearing of the tendon. Once the tendon is damaged the foot's arch loses support and can flatten.
You may lose support in your arches due to:
Flat feet may contribute to or worsen other foot problems, including:
Source: Mayo Clinic
Smelly feet (foot odor; malodorous; bromhidrosis) can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are a number of things that can be done to help.
Feet can smell as the foot sweats and the perspiration is trapped inside footwear. It is the interaction of these two factors along with bacteria that cause the smell. Feet have more sweat glands than any other part of the body, so they can sweat profusely which can not evaporate (like it can on the hands) due to being enclosed in footwear. The bacteria produce isovaleric acid which is what causes the odor.
A number of conditions can increase the chance for smelly feet, such as a sweaty foot (hyperhidrosis), stress, some drugs and hormonal changes.
It is relatively easy to control most cases of smelly feet by taking number of preventative steps:
Good foot hygiene to reduce bacteria to low levels is the first place to start:
Avoid the use of nylon socks or plastic shoes - wear shoes that are made of leather, canvas, mesh or other materials that let the feet breathe.
It is best not to wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row - they need time to dry out. Remove the insoles from the shoes to help with the drying.
A hammertoe is a term that is commonly used to describe any type of toe deformity. It is a common problem that may or may not be serious enough to require treatment.
In a hammer toe the deformity usually exists in one toe (at the proximal interphalangeal joint) - the base of the toe points upward and the end of the toe points down.
The symptoms of a hammer toe are usually first noticed when a corn develops on the top of the toe and becomes painful, usually when wearing tight shoes. There may be a bursa under the corn or instead of a corn, depending on the pressure. Most of the symptoms are due to pressure from footwear on the toe. There may be a callus under the metatarsal head at the base of the toe. Initially, a hammer toe is usually flexible but when longstanding it becomes more rigid.
Hammer toes can be due to a number of things. Several factors are known to increase the risk of developing hammer toes:
Prevention of a hammer toe can be difficult as symptoms do not usually start until the problem is well established. Wearing shoes that have extra room in the toes may help the problem or slow down its development.
Heel pain is common and can be due to a number of conditions. The calcaneus (heel bone) is the largest bone in the foot and is the first to hit the ground when walking.
The heel bone is designed to be the first contact the foot has with the ground. The Achilles tendon inserts into the back of the heel bone (calcaneus) and a very strong ligament along the bottom of the foot attaches to the bottom of the heel bone (the plantar fascia). Several small muscles also attach to the heel bone above the insertion of the plantar fascia.
Given the forces of walking that the heel bone is subjected to and the pull of all these ligaments and muscles, then it is not surprising that heel pain is so common.
There is no one cause of heel pain. Whole textbooks have been written on Disorders of the Heel. Some of the types of problems that can be seen in the heel include:
A number of disease processes can uncommonly cause heel pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and gout
Most people have an arch along the inner side of the foot, leaving a gap between the ground and the foot. Some feet have a higher arch than average. This is the opposite of a flat foot. In combination with a higher arch, the ankle may be "rolled" outwards slightly - this is the opposite of a pronated foot. Often this gets referred to as pes cavus.
When standing with weight on the foot, the arch will appear higher, the heel often tilted inwards at the ankle (but not always). In many cases the toes will appear clawed. When not standing the front half of the foot (forefoot) will appear to be dropped below the level of the rearfoot.
High arch feet may just be a normal variant (ie some people just have higher arches), some may be hereditary (ie runs in the family) and in some cases there may be an underlying neurological problem that is causing it.
The symptoms of a high arch foot will vary depending on how severe the condition is and the activity levels of the person with it. Most will have no pain or any other symptoms. Symptoms may vary from a mild problem with shoe fitting to significant disability.
Some of the symptoms can include:
What can be done will depend on what is causing the pain. A careful investigation is needed to rule out the possibility of a neurological condition causing the high arched foot.
Generally, treatment can involve:
Leg fatigue is devoted to one of the most common patient complaints encountered by practitioners of adult medicine, and one that frequently presents the initial examining physician with a diagnostic conundrum. Few internists, primary care physicians, emergency room physicians, or medical or surgical subspecialists are thoroughly familiar with the neurologic, orthopedic, immunologic, and vascular causes of leg fatigue, and help from the literature requires access to multiple texts from diverse medical and surgical specialties.
Lower leg fatigue may be induced through foot pronation. Pronation of the foot causes a general muscle imbalance to occur. As your feet pronate, your leg is no longer aligned properly, so your leg and foot muscles must work harder to give you the support usually provided by your bones. The muscles fatigue, causing pain and discomfort. Your feet are your foundation. Without a good foundation, the other joints and muscle groups in your body suffer. Therefore, leg fatigue may be directly related to pronated feet.
Metatarsal pain, or Metatarsalgia, is a common overuse injury described as pain in the forefoot associated with increased stress over the metatarsal head region. Metatarsalgia often is referred to as a symptom, rather than as a specific disease. Common causes of metatarsalgia include interdigital neuroma, metatarsophalangeal synovitis, avascular necrosis, sesamoiditis, and inflammatory arthritis; however, these causes often are diagnosed separately.
With this condition one or more of the metatarsal heads become painful and/or inflamed, usually due to excessive pressure over a long period of time. It is common to experience acute, recurrent, or chronic pain with this common foot condition. Ball of foot pain is often caused due to improper fitting footwear, most frequently in women's dress shoes and other restrictive footwear. Footwear with a narrow toe box (toe area) causes the ball of foot area to be forced into a minimal amount of space. This can inhibit the walking process and lead to extreme discomfort in the forefoot.
There are a number of possible causes of metatarsalgia, including:
Chronic pain on the bottom of the foot should be evaluated by a physician or specialist who fully understands the structures and mechanics of the foot. X-rays are often used for evaluative purposes.
A common treatment for metatarsal pain is the use of a custom orthotic, or shoe insert, made to correct the deforming forces of the foot. A metatarsal pad is usually incorporated into the device to assure long-term support.
Other treatment measures include:
Plantar fasciitis (say "PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tus") is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed). Then your heel or the bottom of your foot hurts when you stand or walk.
Plantar fasciitis is common in middle-aged people. It also occurs in younger people who are on their feet a lot, like athletes or soldiers. It can happen in one foot or both feet.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the ligament that supports your arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament. These can lead to pain and swelling. This is more likely to happen if:
Most people with plantar fasciitis have pain when they take their first steps after they get out of bed or sit for a long time. You may have less stiffness and pain after you take a few steps, but your foot may hurt more as the day goes on. It may hurt the most when you climb stairs or after you stand for a long period.
If you have foot pain at night, you may have a different problem, such as tarsal tunnel syndrome.
No single treatment works best for everyone with plantar fasciitis. But there are many things you can try to help your foot get better:
Pronation is a condition that occurs when the arch of the foot collapses, which forces the foot to turn outwards at the ankle causing walking to be done on the inner side of the foot. Also referred to as flat feet, this condition may develop as a result of plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and other injuries associated with the bottom of the foot. Some pronation is normal in walking as the foot settles on the ground. However, excessive pronation can also cause people to shift their weight to other areas of the foot while walking, causing intense pain.
Causes of pronation can vary. It may develop early on in a person's development. Often, pronation occurs as a result of strain on the foot. Excessive weight on the arch of the foot may weaken the tissue, resulting in pronation. Also, elderly people may also suffer from weakened muscles and tissues in the foot causing the arch to collapse. Women may be prone to developing this condition if they wear high heels for extended periods of time. Also, shoes that lack proper arch support are also a factor that leads to pronation.
If pronation is left untreated, serious problems can arise. A fallen arch will cause misalignment and can throw the alignment of the foot, ankle, and knee off and lead to strain in overall posture. This strain may cause not only discomfort, but also pain throughout the foot, ankle, knee, hip, and lower back. If left untreated, ligaments of tendons may deform to become accustomed to the misalignment.
Treatment of pronation may be by simple means. Orthotic insert placed in shoes are a simple and effective way to ease discomfort and correct the condition. Inserts such as HTP add support and stabilize the arch and heel of the foot, neutralizing the effects of pronation.
Many athletes get shin splints at one time or another. Whether you jog daily or just had to sprint to catch a bus one day, you may have shin splints when you feel throbbing and aching in your shins. While they often heal on their own, severe shin splints can ruin your game.
Shin splints aren't really a single medical condition. Instead, they're just a symptom of an underlying problem. They might be caused by:
Shin splints cause dull, aching pain in the front of the lower leg. Some people feel it only during exercise; others, when they've stopped exercising. Sometimes, the pain is constant.
Depending on the exact cause, the pain may be located along the side of the shinbone or in the muscles. The area may be painful to the touch. Swollen muscles can sometimes irritate the nerves in the feet, causing them to feel weak or numb.
To diagnose shin splints, your doctor will give you a thorough physical exam. He or she may want to see you run to look for problems. You may also need X-rays or bone scans to look for fractures. Other tests are sometimes necessary.
Although shin splints may be caused by different problems, treatment is usually the same: Rest your body so the underlying issue heals. Here are some other things to try:
In rare cases, surgery is needed for severe stress fractures and other problems that can cause shin splints.
To prevent shin splints, you should:
Swollen feet and legs, referred to medically as edema, occur when fluid is retained in the spaces between body cells. Edema typically affects the feet, ankles and lower legs, but can also impact any area of the body, causing systemic symptoms.
Edema can be caused by a serious condition of the kidney, heart, liver or blood vessels, but many other factors can contribute to its onset, including:
Initially, the feet and legs will appear swollen as the day progresses, but after a period of time, the swelling will set in first thing in the morning and continue to worsen throughout the day. Long-term edema causes pitting: When you press on the swollen area for a few seconds, you will notice an indentation in that area. Continued swelling can cause skin ulcerations.
Over time, other symptoms will develop:
The hallmark of treatment is to reduce the swelling, and the first line of defense: leg elevation. Elevate legs above the level of the heart, which puts minimal pressure on the backs of the knees and thighs and lower back. Just sitting in a reclining chair in front of the TV is a great way to elevate your legs. Many products, for use at home or at work, can also help reduce swelling.
If the edema persists or continues to worsen, please consult your physician.
Source: the Podiatry Institute
Tendonitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon — any one of the thick fibrous cords that attach muscles to bone. The condition, which causes pain and tenderness just outside a joint, is most common around your shoulders, elbows and knees. But tendonitis can also occur in your hips, heels and wrists.
Some common names for tendonitis are tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, pitcher's shoulder, swimmer's shoulder and jumper's knee.
If tendonitis is severe and leads to the rupture of a tendon, you may need surgical repair. But many times, rest and medications to reduce the pain and inflammation of tendonitis may be the only treatments you need. You can also take preventive measures to reduce your chance of developing tendonitis or to keep tendonitis from affecting your normal range of motion in joints such as your shoulder.
Tendonitis produces the following signs and symptoms near a joint that is aggravated by movement
Tendons are usually surrounded by a sheath of tissue similar to the lining of the joints (synovium). They're subject to the wear and tear of aging, direct injury and inflammatory diseases. The most common cause of tendonitis is injury or overuse during work or play. The pain is usually the result of a small tear in or inflammation of the tendon that links your muscles to your bone. Tendonitis can also be associated with inflammatory diseases that occur throughout your body, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
To reduce your chance of developing tendonitis, follow these suggestions:
Source: Mayo Clinic
What you are about to read is not "new science". The information has been with us since before the dawn of civilization. The ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all knew the powers of silver. But how can this metal help you with your feet? You are about to re-discover the ancient mysteries of silver. All of the information is backed by centuries of data, testing, and practical use. You will learn why silver is truly a "precious metal".
Some common names for tendonitis are tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, pitcher's shoulder, swimmer's shoulder and jumper's knee.
Silver is a chemical element on the periodic table that has the symbol Ag (from the traditional abbreviation from the Latin, Argentum). It is a soft, white lustrous transition metal; silver has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal.
Silver has been known longer than recorded history. It is believed Silver first came about in the region that is now Turkey. This was mastered around 3000 BC. Here it is found in the royal tombs of ancient Ur where it was extracted from a lead ore, known as galena, through a process known as smelting. Its discovery was probably an accident since the ancient people of Asia Minor utilized lead in many of their household items and tools.
The use of silver for its medical and therapeutic benefits dates back several thousand years. The Persian emperor Cyrus the Great,in the 5th Century BC, is best known for his creating the Persian empire from the tribes of people which is now known as Iran. His armies were vast and he conquered due to advancing technologies or war and medicine. One of these advancements that made Cyrus "great" was that he would only let his troops go to war if they carried water in silver vessels-something he knew would keep the water supply clean and safe. This same tactic was later used in the American Old West, when pioneers, traveling along the Oregon Trail, would toss silver coins into barrels to keep their water supplies fresh.
The Romans are the first to mention the use of silver in a book known as Pharmacopoeia, which was written in 69 BC. This book was a collaboration of healing materials that were found throughout the empire of Rome. A century later in his book Natural History (Latin: Naturalis Historia, 77AD), Pliny the Elder talks about silver as a "powerful bactericide" long known for its health-giving properties. He has the use of silver mixed in plasters and then wrapped around wounds. It was considered "extremely effective" in the closing of wounds. Roman intuition proved to be correct.
Modern Western medicine recognizes silver as the most effective anti-microbial agent, natural or otherwise. During the 19th century, silver was first applied beyond home remedies and utilized in practical medicine. Silver was used in the treatment of skin ulcers and eye treatment. In fact, the use of silver as an anti-microbial was used extensively until after WWII when manufactured antibiotics started to become widespread.
Today, silver is still used for its anti-microbial properties in healthcare products ranging from bandages to burn care treatments— almost any product where infection control is critical. The majority of Americans are first exposed to silver at birth, when silver nitrate eye drops are used to prevent infection. One of the new uses for silver is in the footwear industry; most notable is the use of silver to destroy embarrassing foot odor.
X-Static®, the Silver Fiber, is the brand name of silver used in certain Acor® footwear. X-Static® has a layer of silver permanently bonded to the surface of the fiber. This fiber is then laminated to the material used in select Acor® footwear and offers all benefits inherent in pure silver. Below is a summary of how Acor's footwear can benefit you and your foot care needs.
Our feet and shoes harbor millions of organisms and bacteria which can be harmful to us. On average, our feet sweat a cup of moisture per day, and the heat and moisture that build up in our shoes create a breeding ground for these bacteria and fungi to grow. This is why people experience such maladies as Athlete’s Foot (tinea pedis). The antimicrobial performance of all Acor® footwear with X-Static has proven to have distinct performance advantages:
Speed: Sole Defense® footwear eliminates 99.9% of bacteria on the material in less than one hour of exposure.
Effectiveness: Silver kills bacteria and fungi faster as the temperature in your footwear rises due to activity.
Safe and Natural: X-Static® is made with pure silver, a naturally occurring element; there are no chemicals or fears of toxicity to the consumer.
Permanent: The silver in Acor® footwear becomes a physical part of the fiber. The performance of the product will not diminish over time.
A common misconception is that antimicrobial is synonymous with anti-odor. Sole Defense® offers both antimicrobial and anti-odor benefits. Bacteria are only one cause of body odor. Ammonia and denatured proteins are also significant contributors to odor in footwear. Incredibly, both ammonia and denatured proteins bind most readily with silver. Because silver is on the outside of the fiber, X-Static® allows for immediate binding with these odor causing agents –resulting in instant odor reduction!
The biophysics of footwear has become an area of significant interest in recent years. It is now possible to use the existing energy of the body and the environment to actively regulate temperature through heat transfer.
Cold Weather Solution: Sole Defense® footwear enhances the natural movement of moisture through evaporation. With Sole Defense® footwear, the X-Static® material accelerates the evaporation of moisture. As a result, Sole Defense® footwear transports moisture away from the body faster, allowing for a more comfortable environment and less potential for convective heat loss.
Warm Weather Solution: In warm weather, Sole Defense® footwear with X-Static® addresses evaporation by dissipating the amount of moisture in contact with your feet. What’s more, because heat and moisture are being dispersed over the entire surface of the shoe or orthotic, hot spots and blisters are greatly reduced!
How to determine your arch style in the privacy of your own home
Flat arch foot: has a nearly complete imprint (appears as if the entire sole is imprinted).
Standard arch foot: has a flare but shows the forefoot and heel connected by a wide band.
High-arch foot: a very narrow band is connecting the forefoot and the heel (feet are rigid and immobile)
While not every foot completely mimics these three types, you can still use this Wet Test to determine your general foot type and the Sole Defense® line of orthotics that will most likely benefit your feet.
A better and much more professional way of determining your arch type is to use a device like Acor's Therma-Shape™ Pad.
In recent years, a lot of interest has been directed at the use of silver in footwear. Silver has long been used as an antibacterial agent going back to ancient times. Today, it is used to cure burns and stop infection.
So, how does it affect the foot? Think about your shoes for a moment. Pick them up. Hold them to your face. Take in a deep breath…
Do they smell?
That smell is a primordial soup of bacteria, ammonia, and denatured proteins (i.e. dead skin, etc…). It is known as an odor triangle. Bacteria takes up residence in your shoes. It eats the proteins and when it dies, the by-product is ammonia. That's what has been growing and dying within in the warm, moist confines of your shoes. That is what stinks and what is worse, it is touching your feet!
But there is a savior. It is silver. What silver does is strangles bacteria. Silver stops the respiration and reproduction of bacteria which kills it, stopping odor from occurring. Once the bacteria is gone, the smell goes away.
That's a relief. So silver can get rid the stink out of your nasty shoes. But how is this helpful to anyone but your spouse? Well, what if you were diabetic? We've all heard the horror stories of how people with diabetes can lose their toes and feet. Well, that happens because wounds occur and cannot heal because white blood cells are stopped due to poor circulation. Bacteria, found on the socks and shoes, enters the wound and then infection sets in. Now, if you had silver in your shoes, this would go to work killing off the bacteria and would prevent most of it from entering the wound. It isn't foolproof, but it is a great defense against diabetic foot problems.
Silver comes with an added benefit for you, too. It helps prevent blisters and hot spots from forming. A blister or hot spot forms when there is a constant rubbing going on in the shoe. This can be because the shoes don't fit properly or you are doing something repetitive – like walking or running! Well, just like rubbing two sticks together to make fire, rubbing your foot against the inside of your shoe will cause friction which will lead to a blister. Silver has a way of transferring heat. So, if it becomes hot at one point, the entire area takes on a little part of that heat and spreads it throughout the surface of the material. Basically, this means you are less likely to get blisters because the heat isn't concentrated on one area. Your foot stays cool and you don't get the pain.
You can find all types of silver clothing all over the internet. Silver shoes are a bit harder to find. I used to know of only a couple of places that provide this type of footwear. Unfortunately you can no longer find the shoes at store.acor.com. But, fortunately, here we have orthotics and socks with silver in them, taking the place of silver in the shoe. The site also has a variety of other products for people with diabetes or people that are just looking for comfortable shoes. Silver has a lot of benefits and is very much a secret in the footwear or diabetic industry. In the past three years, articles are just starting to emerge showing its' benefits for people with diabetes. The sports industry has been using silver in its' clothing for quite awhile and will soon be a known product in medical footwear.
While foot odor is rarely discussed around the water cooler, it is an embarrassing problem that affects millions of people. Your feet harbor millions of organisms and bacteria. Our feet can produce over a cup of moisture per day, and the heat and moisture build up in our shoes to create an active source for these organisms to develop and grow.
Foot odor occurs when various bacteria, primarily corynebacteria and micrococci, break down denatured proteins found on the skin and footwear, resulting in undesired smells from the feet. The feet are the places where odors most commonly occur because they provide a warm, moist breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria. Fortunately, eliminating the bacteria will usually eliminate the odor.
There are many "cures" for stopping foot odor, from charcoal filters to scents that mask the odor and other artificial chemical substances. One of the most recent uses of destroying foot odor is the element silver spun into the weave of the fabric. Silver has been used for over 4000 years as an anti-bacterial agent and is still commonplace in hospitals today. Scientists were unable to bond the silver permanently to thread until the last century. With the problems associated with bacteria and the foot, why wouldn't this natural element find a place in the footwear industry?
So, what is silver? Silver is a chemical element on the periodic table that has the symbol Ag (from the traditional abbreviation from the Latin, Argentum). It is a soft, white lustrous transition metal; silver has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal. Silver has traditionally been used in coins, tableware, and jewelry. In medicine, it is the first medicine introduced to a newborn baby's eyes (as in silver nitrate), colloidal silver is used as a liquid anti-bacterial, and silver sulfadiazine is used as a topical cream for burn victims.
Silver is now also being used in the footwear industry for shoes, insoles and socks. There are many benefits beyond foot odor that these products offer. Below is a short description of these features:
Anti-Odor: A common misconception is that antimicrobial is synonymous with anti-odor. Silver offers both antimicrobial and anti-odor benefits. Bacteria are only one cause of body odor. Ammonia and denatured proteins are also significant contributors to odor in footwear. Incredibly, both ammonia and denatured proteins bind most readily with silver. Because silver is on the outside of the fiber, this allows for immediate binding with these odor causing agents –resulting in instant odor reduction!
Anti-Bacterial: The antimicrobial performance of silver has proven to have distinct performance advantages. It has been proven to eliminate 99.9% of bacteria on the material in less than one hour of exposure. Silver will also kill bacteria and fungi faster as the temperature in your footwear rises due to activity because its anti-microbial properties are activated with the addition of heat.
Temperature Control: The biophysics of footwear has become an area of significant interest in recent years. It is now possible to use the existing energy of the body and the environment to actively regulate temperature through heat transfer. Silver footwear enhances the natural movement of moisture through evaporation. Silver accelerates the evaporation of moisture. As a result, it transports the moisture away from the body faster, allowing for a more comfortable environment and less potential for convective heat loss. In warm weather, silver-lined footwear addresses evaporation by dissipating the amount of moisture in contact with your feet. What's more, hot spots and blisters are greatly reduced because heat and moisture are being dispersed over the entire surface of the shoe or insole!
In conclusion, silver in footwear, is a logical response to anyone who might suffer from foot odor, has a specific medical problem – such as diabetes, in which the foot would benefit from bacteria being eliminated, or with people who have problems with blisters and hot spots on their feet. Silver-lined footwear: A new treatment using an old cure.
You have diabetes and you are trying to take care of your feet. You have heard about what happens if you don't take care of your feet and you don't want that to happen to you. You are already making a good decision!
But what is the difference between buying a diabetic shoe and one from a discount shoe store? What makes a diabetic shoe preferential over any store-bought style of footwear?
The answer falls upon the condition, itself, and how the diabetic shoe responds to footwear. To a person with diabetes, they have to be wary of losing sensation in their feet. This process most likely won't happen suddenly, but gradually, as the disease progresses. As the blood flow is impeded to the extremities, bumps and calluses that harm the soft tissue can cause the person with diabetes real problems.
We have all experienced a pair of shoes that pushes in one place, rubs the skin raw in another, and feel uncomfortable. We wear them because we think they look good on our feet. If you are diabetic, like I have been for over ten years, you have to ensure these things don't happen to you. So here are a few things to look for when buying a diabetic shoe:
1. Make sure the shoe has some extra depth added into the structure. Ones that provide space for an accommodative orthotics work best. The reason is that orthotics help to support your body from the feet up and help you to avoid damage to the bottom of your feet.
2. When trying on shoes, place your hand in the shoe and feel around. If it is a proper diabetic footwear style, there won't be any seams and rough spots within the confines of the shoe. Diabetic shoe makers make sure their styles won't rub the foot. Their primary goal is for you to have healthy feet!
3. Your toes should have some room at the top of the shoe when you put them on. Make sure you are wearing the proper size. You do not want your foot shifting from side to side, either, so make sure the width is correct, as well. It is amazing how many people walk around in shoes that do not fit them.
4. Like with any shoe, you do not want to just put your shoes on and walk in them all day. There should be a "breaking in" period as your feet adjust to your new footwear. Walk around your house or yard for only a couple of hours the first day you wear the shoes. After that, you can gradually increase the time spent in your new shoes. If there is any problem, you should stop wearing any shoe – especially if you are diabetic!
Other items that you might find useful for your feet are insoles, socks, and foot cream. Taking care of your feet is just as important as testing your blood sugar, so you want to make sure you take care of everything.
Insoles support the feet. You may have heard them called by other names, such as arch supports, inserts and orthotics, but they all fall into the category as a supportive foot bed that cushions and/or controls the foot. Insoles will help "level out the playing field" of your stance and add comfort to your stride. They also take pressure off different areas of the feet – such as the heel and ball-of-the-foot that give people the most problems. To the diabetic, insoles are an integral part of proper foot care.
The proper socks are also very important. If you have diabetes, you are going to want to wear socks that contain natural materials, such as cotton and wool. Metals, such as silver, are also very popular in diabetic socks because the silver is a natural anti-microbial that destroys bacteria and fungi. The medical community uses silver to treat wounds and burns because of this quality. Silver also cuts down on the smell produced by perspiration which adds to the benefit of having silver socks.
Finally, foot creams should be used to keep your feet smooth and crack-free. It is also a good regimen to get into because it keeps you examining your feet on a daily basis.
You should do a visual inspection of your feet every day. If you cannot see the bottom of your feet, use a mirror. The foot cream adds that extra incentive to do this daily and makes you feel good, as well. You should also avoid putting foot cream between your toes. You should only apply the cream to the top and bottom of your feet. Getting any substance besides soap and water between your toes invites bacterial growth and can result in problems. Avoid this at all costs.
Being diabetic brings many challenges to a person. Taking proper care of your feet is an excellent start to living a healthy and active life. Do not take your feet for granted when you purchase footwear. If problems do occur, do not waste time trying to solve the situation yourself, but get to a doctor, immediately.
You will notice that many of our products contain a material known as X-Static® - a pure silver fiber woven directly into our insoles and fabricating materials offers the following superior benefits not found in any other products in the medical footwear industry:
Our feet and shoes harbor millions of organisms and bacteria which can be harmful to us. On average, our feet sweat a cup of moisture per day. The heat and moisture that build up in our shoes create a breeding ground for these bacteria and fungi to grow. This is why people experience such maladies as Athlete's Foot (tinea pedis). The anti-microbial performance of X- Static® has been proven to have the following distinct advantages:
Speed X-Static® eliminates 99.9% of bacteria on the material in less than one hour of exposure.
Effectiveness: The silver in X-Static® kills bacteria and fungi faster as the temperature in your footwear rises due to activity.
Safe and Natural: X-Static® is made with pure silver, a naturally occurring element; there are no chemicals or fears of toxicity to the consumer.
Permanent: The silver in X-Static® becomes a physical part of the fiber. The performance of the product will not diminish over time.
X-Static® offers both antimicrobial and anti-odor benefits. Bacteria are only one cause of body odor. Ammonia and denatured proteins are also significant contributors to odor in footwear. Incredibly, both ammonia and denatured proteins bind most readily with silver.
Because silver is on the outside of the fiber, X-Static® allows for immediate binding with these odor causing agents – resulting in instant odor reduction! The benefits of X-Static® include:
Defends Against Blisters & Hot Spots: The biophysics of footwear has become an area of significant interest in recent years. With the use of X-Static®, it is now possible to use the existing energy of the body and the environment to actively regulate temperature through heat transfer.
Cold Weather Solution: X-Static® footwear enhances the natural movement of moisture through evaporation. As a result, X-Static® transports moisture away from the body faster, allowing for a more comfortable environment and less potential for convective heat loss.
Warm Weather Solution: In warm weather, X-Static® addresses evaporation by dissipating the amount of moisture in contact with your feet. Since heat and moisture are being dispersed, hot spots and blisters are greatly reduced!
By the time people reach the age of understanding, at approximately three to four years of age, they have been inundated with positive messages about silver. These messages help add to the overall marketing power of X-Static®. A few examples of this are:
Born with a silver spoon in your mouth: This originally meant that you had a better chance of surviving childhood because your were born into wealth and privilege. We now know that silver kills E-Coli and salmonella. Both of these organisms were prevalent on non-silver eating utensils and were a common source of infant sickness and mortality.
Every cloud has a silver lining: This idiom means that there is something good in every bad situation. The aristocracy in Rome and elsewhere during the Middle Ages drank from silver goblets, which were known to provide natural antibacterial protection. Because people equated silver with clean water and because rainwater was considered clean water, the two were joined: silver-like water was the advantage of poor weather.
He is silver-tongued: Today this saying refers to the wisdom or cleverness of an individual. However, the saying originally dates back to the Middle Ages, when royalty would test their wine for poison with a silver rod. If the rod turned black, it meant that there was arsenic in the wine. So, if you had a silver tongue, you possessed supernatural talents.
For more information about X-Static® as well as the benefits and effects of X-Static® fabric, the following resources and studies are available: