There are many reasons that a podiatric doctor or other medical expert may wish to offload the foot or an area of the foot. Offloading describes having the load off the foot. This is recommended in the event the greater load or strain is bringing about the foot issue. This might be as elementary as a corn or it could be as serious as an ulcer in a person with all forms of diabetes. Should it be a musculoskeletal problem that has to have a period of time where there isn't any strain on it that will help it recover. One of the big problems with managing foot problems is that we still really need to walk on the feet to get around and carry out our day to day activities. If it was, for instance, a sore shoulder, it really is much easier to avoid using it. This makes the the treatment of of foot disorders more difficult and the need to apply different offloading techniques.
There are several ways to offload the feet. The most widespread and oldest is probably the using podiatry felt. This is generally self adhesive and it is cut to form so it fits round the area of the high force instead of over it. That way the strain is taken away from the region. Usually, strapping is also helpful to help keep the padding within the right position. The foot will have to be kept dry and if needed the felt can be swapped out every few days. Podiatry felt can be reasonably cheap when compared with other off-loading methods. The podiatry felt is normally useful for smaller areas which need offloading for example a corn, an ulcer or something like a sesamoiditis which is a painful disorder of the little bones underneath the big toe or hallux joint.
Yet another popular approach to offloading is the usage of foot supports. A foot orthotic that is built to the contour of the foot, spreads the weight out evenly on the whole foot, therefore helps to reduce the strain upon an spot that has too much and distribute it to other parts of the foot. In some cases, cavities or divots might be cut in the foot orthotic to help off load a painful region. The foot orthotic may either be custom-made or of the pre-made variety that may be altered to fit the feet more specifically.
With the far more serious instances, the most effective way to offload a foot that has an ulcer is to try using a total contact cast or one of the comparable premade walking boots. If the problem is a orthopedic one, then a moon boot or walking support can be used. These kinds of devices are quite effective at offloading and are widely used by podiatric physicians along with other health professionals that treat the feet and lower limb disorders. They do make walking somewhat more difficult, but if that will encourage the user to walk less then that is a good thing. In some cases that limp that the splint brings about may result in other concerns in the hip and lower back and there also can be an increased probability for falls, so it must be monitored cautiously.