According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), over 75% of Americans have suffered from foot pain. Inspired by this staggering statistic, one podiatrist is trying to eliminate foot pain for good. His solution? A so-called miracle brace that could correct a physical deformity responsible for so many painful foot conditions in this country.
A Brace that Could Change Everything
Having spent years treating patients for conditions like plantar fasciitis and tendinitis, Dr. Patrick DeHeer learned firsthand that patients don't follow treatment plans that include daily stretching. As a result, their feet keep hurting. Hoping to find a treatment protocol that was easy to follow, DeHeer decided to get to the root of the problem by focusing on a condition known as equinus, in which the ankle joint is limited in its ability to bend.
DeHeer explained to the Medical Device and Diagnstic Industry journal, "Studies show patients with equinus have higher incidence of foot and ankle pain. It has accurately been termed ‘the root of all foot evils’ for a reason. Management of equinus either conservatively or surgically has been shown to reduce foot and ankle pain.”
To that end, DeHeer developed a brace that stretches the two calf muscles that contribute to equinus. Known as the Equinus Brace, DeHeer believes his device will help address Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and more than 30 other foot and ankle disorders. And the best part of his brace? It only needs to be worn for one hour each day, unlike many other splints that you need to wear all night long in order to see any results.
A brochure for the device explains how it works: "It is the only brace for equinus that extends above the knee, maintaining the knee in full extension while dorsiflexing the ankle. A patented toe wedge isolates the dorsiflexion force to the hindfoot as well as externally rotates the tibia to fully extend the knee. Adjustable ankle hinges promote gradual, safe stretching." The brace is also covered by medicare and most insurance plans.
Coping with Heel, Foot and Ankle Pain
This brace certainly sounds like a valuable tool for busy patients who can't follow stretching protocols. In my office, I will often recommend supportive devices like orthotics to help reduce structural foot pain. Sometimes, in the right instances, braces are useful. But I also advocate for early intervention and minimally invasive treatments--like stretching--that can help your body stay in top working order. By coming in to my Houston podiatry office at the first sign of foot pain, we can work together to develop easy-to-follow, inexpensive treatment plans.
Sources: APMA.com, mddionline.com