Vacation Tips for Healthy Feet

Posted on: June 20th, 2016 by FloydBrace Blogger

vacation tips for healthy feet

Whether your summer vacation has you traipsing the city on sight-seeing tours or kicking back on the beach, your feet will either help or hinder your plans. With these tips from Floyd Brace, you can protect your feet so they can take you to new heights!

  1. Pack shower shoes. From hotels to campsite shower houses, avoid picking up fungal infections from previous users with a pair of mesh water shoes.
  2. Use flip-flops sparingly. Good for walking across sand, bad for longer wear. Not only do they offer minimal support, but they provide minimal protection from scrapes.
  3. Wear broken-in shoes. Nothing’s worse than blisters from new shoes. Wear your well-supported tennis shoes or sandals around the house for a day or two before your vacation to help break them in on your own terms.
  4. Don’t neglect socks. They’ll absorb sweat and protect your feet from friction, skin irritation, and blisters. Additionally, airports and many popular attractions require you to remove your shoes to walk through metal detectors, and socks will be a barrier between your skin and bacteria.
  5. Consider compression socks. If your travel plans include airplanes, opt for compression socks on your flight to relieve pressure that causes leg swelling, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis.
  6. Get the blood pumping. On long car rides, promote blood flow to reduce swelling by stretching your feet for a few minutes every hour. Pointing your toes up and down, small leg circles, and calve massages are manageable even in tight spaces.
  7. A long day of walking or hiking puts strain on lower-body muscles. Stretch your hamstrings, calves, and arches before bed to ease muscle stiffness and aches in the morning.
  8. Pack antifungal cream. Prevent picking up athlete’s foot in locker rooms and pool decks with an antifungal cream or powder you apply after walk through.
  9. Always use a bathmat. When stepping out of your hotel’s shower, a bathmat or towel will prevent slippage as well as exposure to bacteria on the floor.
  10. Remember a first aid kit. Even with the best care and proper footwear, blisters are likely to develop on long days of sightseeing. Band aids or gauze with antibacterial cream will soothe the area and prevent further damage.

Your feet can take you across cities, through desserts, up mountains, and over beaches. Treat them nicely! If you think you may need extra arch support to tackle your journey, contact one of our professionals at Floyd Brace to discuss custom orthotic options.

Summer & Scoliosis – Helping Your Child Embrace the Season

Posted on: June 13th, 2016 by FloydBrace Blogger

summer and scoliosis

When it comes to summer, the world is your child’s playground. With friends to see and games to play, they’ll want to soak up as much of the warm weather fun as possible. If your child has scoliosis, a back brace doesn’t have to stifle their summer. Try the following tricks to help them squeeze the most out of their vacation from school:

  • Take advantage of fun clothing. As a brace can be warm and cumbersome, flowy summer clothing is key for cooling off while covering up. A shopping trip for cut-offs, sundresses, and summery shorts with elastic bands all fit easily over the brace and can help feel like a special treat for their effort.
  • Call ahead. If your child is attending a daily youth program or an overnight camp, contact the program in advance to alert staff. Let them know how many hours he’s required to wear his brace and if there are any activities he may need to avoid.
  • Schedule plenty of pool time. Alieving pressure through natural buoyancy, swimming can ease pain and discomfort that your child’s curved spine places on their body. Additionally, water provides resistance, which helps to build muscles, increase flexibility, and improve endurance, all of which can develop total body balance and muscle strength to assist their spine. If your child only has a few hours of brace-free time during the day, swimming is an excellent and freeing way to spend it.
  • Pay attention to under layers. The layer worn between the brace and your child’s body is crucial for a comfortable fit. Invest in tank tops or form-fitting t-shirts made of moisture wicking material to prevent an excess of sweat and chafing, and look for options that feature seamless or minimal seams to prevent extra fabric from digging into the skin.
  • Keep powder on hand. If hot weather makes you sweat, imagine what it feels like when you have a thick fabric or plastic compression system around your torso! Heat rash caused by sweat and friction is common when wearing a brace, even with the most comfortable under layers. Baby powder can help reduce dampness and soothe the affected areas.

 

It may take some adjustments, but your child’s scoliosis doesn’t have to stop them from having a blast this summer! Get in touch with one of our physicians at Floyd Brace for even more adaptive tricks to manage scoliosis smoothly.

How to Protect Your Prosthesis from April Showers

Posted on: April 7th, 2016 by FloydBrace Blogger

water protection prosthesis

May flowers aren’t the only thing these April showers bring. For those that wear a prosthesis daily, sudden rainstorms can bring a flood of questions about the well-being of your device in water. Unless outfitted with sensitive electronic components, your prosthesis won’t receive enduring damage from a little splash as you dash across a wet parking lot. However, you can take the following precautions to protect your hardware as best you can during this soggy month:

  • If you live in an area that’s receives high amounts of rain or is doused at unpredictable times, consider investing in a waterproof prosthetic cover. Over-the-counter options are vacuum sealed, flexible covers made of a high-quality latex blend and can fit easily into your day bag, allowing you to slip it on quickly when rain strikes. You can also work with your prosthetist to create a custom waterproof cover addressing your needs.
  • Should you get caught in a deluge, remove your prosthesis once you’re safely settled inside and allow it to dry at room temperature. You can run a soft cloth over the exterior to soak up excess water, but never use a hair dryer or other direct form of heat to help it dry, as it can warp or damage sensitive components.
  • Avoid cotton prosthetic socks on days threatening to downpour. Cotton absorbs water and keeps it trapped against your skin, creating an uncomfortable chafing situation. Opt instead for wool or synthetic blend socks, which are designed to wick moisture away from the skin and dry quickly.
  • Wait until your prosthesis is completely dry before reattaching. A damp socket will create skin irritation, which can possibly lead to infection.

Rain or shine, our talented team at Floyd Brace will help you make best use of your prosthesis. Set up an appointment today to ask about custom waterproof covering options!

How to Enjoy the Great Outdoors as a New Amputee

Posted on: April 7th, 2016 by FloydBrace Blogger

great outdoors

As the temperature outside increases, so do the opportunities for fresh-air leisure after a winter cooped up inside. If you’re new to your prosthesis, don’t think that you have to give the beautiful weather a pass this year. With some practice, a couple of adaptations, and pure determination, your friends at Floyd Brace can help you take the great outdoors in stride:

Gardening

  • For lower extremity amputees, raised beds and hanging planters puts less distance between you and the ground, and limits the amount of time spent kneeling or bending
  • Keep tools, seeds, and watering cans in a tool cart so your items are always within reach
  • A nearby bench or rolling seat puts you at ground level without added stress on knees or ankles
  • Fixing a hand trowel, fork, or hoe directly to your arm prosthesis provides greater stability and range of motion than you’d gain from gripping the tool with a prosthetic hand alone

Walking

  • Walking requires a build-up of stamina for both cardiovascular systems and skin. Take it easy at first, walking down the length of your sidewalk or looping around your neighborhood once before building up to longer jaunts.
  • Stairs, curbs, hills, and uneven surfaces can throw off your gait. A cane, walking poles, or balance check from a friend can help you take the road bumps in stride.
  • To increase stamina and stability, engage in a number of practical exercises before you head out. Practice falling and getting back up, walking on uneven surfaces like carpets and rugs, and balancing on one leg to develop muscle memory.

Hiking

  • Choose liners made of wool or synthetic materials, as they wick sweat and splashes better than cotton, which absorbs liquid and can create skin irritation through chafing.
  • Opt for more rather than fewer layers of socks, which can create a layer to cushion the residual limb and prevent pressure sores from prolonged time in a prosthesis
  • Invest in a pair of hiking poles. Not only can they help maintain balance on uneven terrain, but they can help unburden pressure from knees or thighs.

Biking, swimming, kayaking, and other activities that require a specific range of motion may require special prostheses to participate and enjoy the activity fully. Contact one of the experts at Floyd Brace for questions about your prosthetic options so you can take complete advantage of the outdoors.

3 Beginner Exercises for Lower Extremity Amputees

Posted on: February 23rd, 2016 by FloydBrace Blogger

new amputee exercises

Going through an amputation is a traumatic experience.  It is painful, physically and emotionally.  Every amputee will tell you that you’ll have good days and bad days, but they’ll also tell you that no matter what, you need to keep moving forward.  At Floyd Brace, we want to help you move forward starting today with stretching, balancing and strengthening exercises for new lower extremity amputees!

Stretching

Stretching your joints after an amputation is extremely important.  Bending and extending your joints for as little as 20 minutes each day with each joint will increase flexibility and decrease pain.

  • Hips – To stretch your hips, you must lie on your stomach for 20 minutes at least two times per day. You can increase the stretch by adding pillows under your chest.
  • Knees – If you have a below knee amputation, remember to work your knees daily for full flexibility. To stretch your knees, simply extend your knee up on a chair for 20 minutes at least two times per day.

Balancing

Developing good balance is vital to a new amputee.  Your body will be balanced differently and you will need to practice daily to be successful.

  • Reaching – To relearn your body’s balance, you must set up objects to reach for while you are kneeling, standing on your good leg and standing on your prosthesis. Continue to increase the challenge to see how far you can push yourself.

Strengthening

Finally, new amputees will need to regain strength, especially in their stomach.  An important tip for this exercise is to remove your prosthesis before you begin or you may injure yourself.

  • Sit-ups – To strengthen your stomach, we recommend sit-up daily. As a new amputee, you will need to ask a partner to hold down your residual limb or place a weight on it to stabilize yourself.

With these simple stretching, balancing and strengthening exercises, you will be well on your way to a more active lifestyle in no time.  We hope you continue to push yourself and remain an active, healthy amputee.  However, you must watch for pain, redness, swelling or sores that may form, and contact your prosthetist if this occurs.

If you have any questions about how to be more active as an amputee, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Finding the Shoe that Fit Your Child’s Orthotics Braces

Posted on: February 23rd, 2016 by FloydBrace Blogger

kids orthotics shoes

Parents, prepare yourselves – your relationship with your child’s custom orthotics can be one of love and hate. While both you and your orthotist are thrilled that your child has taken their first amazing steps because of the strength and stability provided by these custom orthotics, they may fit with very few colorful, light-up, stylish children’s shoe on the shelf.

As parents, we all know the struggle of getting shoes on our children without the added stress of a custom orthotic that affects the fit of the shoe. To help make a perfect marriage between your child’s shoe and their custom orthotic, here are some tips to keep in mind during your next trip to the shoe store.

  1. Wide Toe Box

Look for a wide toe box to fit the added width of the orthotic.  Brands that are designed with a wider, boxy feel include Keen and New Balance.

  1. Removable Insole

We will also need to take out the insole to add space for the orthotic.  Keeping this in mind, look for a shoe that has an easy-to-remove insole, but keep the insole for added padding in the front of the shoe.

  1. NO Low Profile

Look for shoes that come up to the ankle bone.  This will help keep the orthotic in place.

  1. Wide Opening

Keep an eye out for shoes with a wide opening through the tongue to make it very easy to slip the shoe on over the orthotic.  It is also helpful when the tongue space is designed as parallel lines and not in a “V” shape.

  1. Good Laces or Straps

Your child will need strong Velcro straps or laces to secure the shoe snuggly over the orthotic.  This will also keep your child’s foot secure and stable.

We hope these five simple tips will help you find a shoe that your child will love, and that will also work perfectly with their orthotic.  If you have any questions about the fit of your child’s orthotic or how to purchase shoes or socks that will enhance the effectiveness of the orthotic, give us a call today!

Know the Difference Between Custom Shoe Inserts and Over-the-Counter Shoe Inserts

Posted on: January 27th, 2016 by FloydBrace Blogger

custom shoe inserts

Discreet and removable, a shoe insert is slipped into a shoe to offer added support to the heel, arch, and musculature of the foot, helping alieve pain from the ground up. Some options can be purchased from drug stores without a physician’s assistance, while others require much more than a trip to the corner store to secure. What gives?

Below, the Floyd Brace Company team breaks down key facts and differences between over-the-counter and custom shoe inserts:

Over-the-Counter Shoe Inserts

  1. Support and cushioning devices: Generic shoe inserts aim to temporarily ease minor foot and back pain. Some OTC inserts are made with gels and padded cushions, while others sport a hard plastic polymer, which provides more structure than their soft-material counterparts. Ultimately, they alieve but can’t properly fix the source of the pain.
  2. Available without a prescription: Because OTC shoe inserts are one-size-fits-all solutions, they don’t require a doctor’s signature. A pharmacist might offer insight if you’re deciding between different brands or designs, but their advice is generalized and given without complete understanding of your specific problem.
  3. Disposable, short-term solution: The average OTC shoe inserts lasts between six to twelve months, at which time materials have worn down and require a replacement. If an insert was improperly worn or targeted the wrong area, a new type of shoe insert may be needed to fix a problem created by the original device. Whether selected to provide arch support or back pain relief, generic shoe inserts aren’t designed to fix the core issue permanently but temporarily address the pain.

Custom Shoe Inserts

  1. Correct biomechanical imbalances: Heel pain, foot ulcers, hammertoes, and bunions are the result of faulty foot mechanics. Custom shoe inserts are designed to not just temporarily alleviate pain caused by the issues, but correct it by readjusting and redirecting bone and muscle placement and function.
  2. Designed for your feet only: Although some OTC shoe inserts market themselves as custom fit, they’re far from it. A true custom insert is made from a plastic mold formed to your foot by a trained professional, who has evaluated your gait and created a true-to-you prescription for an orthotic solution made of high-quality materials. Certain OTC options enable you to heat them to mold them to your feet, but they do not offer the same level of customization.
  3. Built to last: When handled properly, custom shoe inserts last five to seven years on average. Made with high-quality materials and professionally engineered, they hold up to treat your symptoms.

Though convenient, purchasing an OTC shoe inserts without a professional’s assistance may cause more harm in the long-run. Set up an appointment with one of the experts at Floyd Brace Company, who’ll evaluate and assist your next step towards a solution.

Get Sleep Better NOW As an Amputee

Posted on: January 27th, 2016 by FloydBrace Blogger

better sleep amputees

In addition to warding off dark circles and a drained complexion, a full night of uninterrupted sleep can prevent diabetes, sharpen memory, boost mood, and reduce chronic pain. If you’re dreaming of a solid, deep, wonderful sleep but prosthetic-related pain is blocking you, Floyd Brace Company can help make those dreams a reality with these simple fixes:

  1. Stretch daily: Promoting blood flow, easing tension, and preventing injury, stretching keeps your muscles flexible and your body working holistically. Stretching before bedtime has the added benefit of centering and slowing your breathing to relax both body and mind before you hit the hay, paving the way to a smoother sleep. Additionally, it can align your joints to make lying down more comfortable.
  2. Shower before bed: A hot shower might wake you up in the morning, but it also causes swelling in your limb that creates an uncomfortable, improper fit with your prosthesis afterwards. Bathing before bedtime not only helps your prosthesis fit when you wake up, it can soothe and relax limbs from a long day of use and help you slip into sleep more quickly.
  3. Be careful with pillows: Below-knee amputees should never sleep with a pillow, blanket, or other cushioned support under the knee. This can cause a contracture, inhibiting your ability to straighten your knee. For above-knee amputees, limbs resting on pillows misaligns the hip, and support between the legs improperly lengthens the inner thigh and shortens the outer thigh, throwing off walking balance. Train your body to find comfort lying in more evenly supported positions.
  4. Take preventative steps: If your limb experiences painful cramps in the middle of the night, treat it as you would any other muscle cramp. Drinking water and eating foods high in potassium throughout the day help fuel and relax the agitated muscles, and a gentle five-minute massage of the limb and surrounding muscles before bed can help stimulate the tension. For particularly intense nights of cramps, ibuprofen and a heating pad can help provide relief.
  5. Attach devices bright & early: For limbs adjusting to prosthetic use, attach them in the morning immediately after sitting up. Shifting from a horizontal to vertical position increases blood flow to extremities, creating swelling in newer residual limbs. Ensure a comfortable and proper fit by keeping your legs or arms from dangling over the side of your bed and limiting the time you’re sitting up and moving before attaching the prosthetic.

Total body wellness is a 24/7 process. If you have questions about achieving greater nighttime comfort, give us a call today.

5 Myths of a Diabetes-friendly Diet

Posted on: January 4th, 2016 by FloydBrace Blogger

diabetic diet

A balanced diet is key to healthy living regardless of age, gender, or medical background. For those with diabetes, however, diet is especially critical to maintaining health and weight. Neglecting either can lead to complications like heart disease, cholesterol, or stress on ulcer-prone feet and ankles. At Floyd Brace, we encourage our patients with diabetes to eat healthy – but what does that mean? Below, we’ve debunked some of the myths that make diabetes-friendly diets hard to follow:

Myth: Sugar is a major no-no.

Fact: While it’s true diabetes revolves around maintaining a healthy blood-sugar level, there’s still wiggle room in your diet for a little sugar. The key, like all things, is moderation. It’s also a series of swaps and modifications. If you’re craving that pie for dessert, pass on the bread, rice, or pasta during your meal, or take smaller bites to stretch a smaller piece longer.

Myth: You can’t eat “normal” meals, they must be diabetic-specific.

Fact: A diabetic diet isn’t like a branded weight loss diet that requires food items purchased from a program. Instead, it focuses on healthy, clean eating that’s beneficial for anybody, whether or not they’re keeping tabs on their blood-sugar level. When eaten in moderation, you can still enjoy the same foods with friends and family at restaurants or around the table at home.

Myth: You can adjust your insulin to match whatever you eat.

Fact: If you’re required to take insulin injections, you’ll learn to leverage the amount you use to match the amount and type of food you eat. However, insulin can’t be a cover-all to stabilize your blood-sugar levels following a massive binge. Follow your medications as prescribed by your doctor, who’s already tailored your dosage for your body and diet specifically.

Myth: High-protein diets are best.

Fact: Quite the opposite, actually. An excess of protein (especially animal protein) can lead to insulin resistance. Your diet should include protein alongside fats and carbohydrates, striving for balance across your macronutrients. But, speaking of carbs…

Myth: Carbs should be nearly eliminated.

Fact: Carbohydrates are building blocks to a healthy diet, diabetes notwithstanding. It’s the kind of carbs you’re consuming that matters. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables carry vitamins, minerals, and fibers essential to good health, and these carbs come from natural sources that your body can break down safely. Foods high in starch require extra attention because they don’t have the same nutrients to offer and typically contain more concentrated forms of sugar. All carbs affect blood sugar levels, but it depends on the type and amount of carb consumed.

For better or worse, your diet shouldn’t stop you from living a full and satisfying life. The experts at Floyd Brace can help you. Give us a call today!

Americans with Disabilities Act: Know Your Rights

Posted on: January 4th, 2016 by FloydBrace Blogger

Americans with disabilities act

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush broke new ground when he signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The legislation prohibits discrimination and ensures that mainstream opportunities aren’t withheld from citizens with mental or physical disabilities.

As you charge into a new year loaded with new possibilities, make sure you know your rights as an amputee or prosthetic user to receive equal treatment across the board:

Housing

  • Landlords can’t ask about your amputation, prosthetic device, mobility aids, or other medical information. Your information is private and can’t be used against you when deciding to accept your lease.
  • You have equal rights to available units in an apartment. Even as a lower body amputee relying on prosthetics, crutches, or wheelchairs to aid your mobility, your landlord can’t bar you from considering a fourth-floor option because he believes the ground floor option would be easiest for both him and you.
  • Reasonable accommodations to maintain a standard of living – wheelchair-accessible doorways, lowered countertops, etc. – may have to be provided at your landlord’s expense. Additionally, they’ll need to let you make reasonable modifications to your home on your own dime (ex: using drills to affix grab bars in your bathroom) so long as you propose a way you can personally restore the living space to saleable condition for the next tenant.

Employment

  • An employer can’t discriminate based on your amputee status during recruitment, hiring, training, job assigning, promoting, paying, laying off, or any other employment-related activity.
  • If you’re qualified but require reasonable accommodations to perform job-related duties, your employer must provide them. An upper-limb amputation requiring a modified mouse and computer keyboard, for example, would be made at the employer’s expense, not yours.
  • During the hiring process, an employer can’t ask about your prosthetic or require a medical exam unless it’s required of all applicants.

Public Transportation

  • Buses and coaches must meet the Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations to provide access to riders with disabilities. This includes space for a standard wheelchair, a boarding device, and handrails to help you maneuver your prosthetic smoothly through the bus.
  • Taxi drivers can’t legally charge you more to stow your wheelchair or mobility device than they would to stow a piece of luggage. Additionally, they can only refuse to offer you service if their vehicle can’t accommodate your equipment; refusal can’t be based on your amputee status alone.

The ADA sets certain standards nationally, but each state has its own additional laws and protections for amputees. Double check your state’s regulations to ensure you receive equal treatment wherever you are. Contact the experts at Floyd Brace for more advice on what accommodations can help you live the fullest life possible.