Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

Orthotics in Iraq

Posted by john h on 4/02/03 at 17:59 (115201)

There was an article in todays issue of USA Today about a soldier in Iraq. Someone had taken his combat boots with his custom orthotics. At home he had a pair of custom made shoes which also had a custom footbed. His wife took the shoes to the local Pod and he fashioned some custom orthotics for her the same day so she could get them to her husband in Iraq.

Re: Orthotics in Iraq

Suzanne D on 4/02/03 at 21:53 (115231)

Only those of us who have suffered with foot pain can understand just what a crisis this is for that soldier. I wonder how long it will take for him to receive the orthotics? I hope it is very soon. **==


Re: Orthotics in Iraq

Lara t on 4/03/03 at 09:12 (115269)

Aren't feet problems grounds of 'unfit for service'. Bless this soldier for his committment and service.

Re: Orthotics in Iraq

john h on 4/03/03 at 10:00 (115275)

Flat feet are a problem than can keep you out of the Army but PF seldom is presented with flat feet. I know a lot of Paratroopers where orthotics for protection much like an NBA basketball player. With 300,000 of our people there you got to know some of these people have PF and are living with it every day.

Re: Orthotics in Iraq

john h on 4/03/03 at 10:10 (115277)

His picture was in the paper Suzanne and he was a big man. He looked to be 6'2' or more and probably around 225 lbs. I like his POD who took the time to fashion some orthotics the same day his wife came in. Will help improve the image of our Podiatrist (joke joke).

Re: Orthotics in Iraq

Suzanne D on 4/03/03 at 16:11 (115327)

I sure hope the orthotics reach him soon! I feel for him in those conditions with foot pain.

And, yes, that POD is to be respected for doing a job quickly.

I can remember Daddy talking about some guys who did not make it in the army during World War II because of having flat feet. He said they could not take the marching.

Suzanne :)

Re: Why are flat feet grounds for dismissal but high arch ones not?

Mahatmelissama on 4/03/03 at 16:44 (115328)

I am most curious (high Germanic arch here) ;)

Re: Why are flat feet grounds for dismissal but high arch ones not?

Kathy G on 4/03/03 at 16:54 (115331)

John may know the answer to that one, Melissa. My adult son has PF and has almost no arch so there are exceptions to every rule. I remember my Dad talking about guys who really wanted to join during World War II but were turned away because of flat feet. I remember he said he thought that the military just didn't have the money to deal with orthotics and special shoes, which makes sense.

Re: Orthotics in Iraq

Ed Davis, DPM on 4/03/03 at 17:19 (115338)

I spent a month at Womac Army Hospital in Fort Bragg, NC in May of 1982.
The Podiatry Clinic there saw about 90 patients a day.

Soldiers complaining of heel pain would be treated in a sequential fashion of devices. First, a sponge rubber insole with a scaphoid pad (arch pad) was issued. If that did not help, a pre-fab orthotic made of cork was dispensed. Finally, the last step was a custom molded orthotic. The numbers of custom orthotics was 'rationed.' Hopefully that pipeline has opened a bit wider.

Re: Orthotics in Iraq

Ed Davis, DPM on 4/03/03 at 17:22 (115339)


Back then they did not understand the difference between flat feet and overpronated feet since they can look similar outwardly. The famous American runner at the Munich Olympics, Jesse Owens, supposedly had very flat feet and got people thinking about the distinction.

Re: Orthotics in Iraq

john h on 4/04/03 at 09:36 (115377)

Ed: About 2 years ago we had an Army Paratrooper from Ft Bragg appear briefly on this board. I kept in touch with him by e-mail for well over a year. He had surgery for hallux limitus and on his Achilles tendon. It took him about 8 months but when I last visited with him he was jumping out of the back of the C-130's once again and ready to go. I bet he is in the gulf somewhere.

Re: Orthotics in Iraq

Sharon W on 4/04/03 at 12:58 (115403)

Dr. Ed,

OUCH! I feel for any soldier with really bad PF who had to make do with arch pads or pre-fab orthotics, while going on long marches, etc. My guess is, most soldiers probably tend not to even ASK for help until their feet are pretty bad off... and I would hate to think that a preventable jolt of foot pain might cause a soldier the moment of hesitation that costs him his life!


Re: Orthotics in Iraq

Mahatmelissama on 4/04/03 at 15:05 (115421)

AMEN TO THAT! And you know how sympathetic people are to foot pain who don't have it...NOT! (Not to pick on people in general, but they just do not GET IT)

Re: Orthotics in Iraq

Bev on 4/04/03 at 15:25 (115423)

Most of the doctors we go to 'don't get it' either, right?As I have said before, Malatmelissma, unless people see blood and guts , they do not 'see' our pain , ours in invisible pain, not to us, but to the world it is . They just do not understand as they have not experienced it (yet).

Re: Orthotics in Iraq

Sharon W on 4/04/03 at 16:39 (115426)

Absolutely. I like that, 'ours is invisible pain...' Why IS it :-/ that if you have a messed up elbow joint from a sports injury, everyone you tell THAT to will wince in sympathy?? There is no blood and gore there, either... but people can still relate to it. When it comes to us, it's, 'Well, you aren't LIMPING much... HOW long has this been going on...? 8-(PIPE)


Re: Orthotics in Iraq

Mahatmelissama on 4/04/03 at 19:21 (115439)

Preach it sistah! =D>

Also, if I say I have 'back pain', people
suddenly become more sympathetic. Foot pain seems
to be an excuse I made up for sympathy, not to deal
with stuff...etc. You would not believe the comments
I have gotten. 8-(PIPE)

Re: Orthotics in Iraq

Bev on 4/04/03 at 19:30 (115440)

Absolutely - I am sooo tired of those 'blank stares' ,like I am faking it cause there are no visible signs of any illness , makes me feel like I 'should' limp a lot more than I am or use a cane or wear my camboots every time I venture out anywhere so at least I have something to 'varify' my being off work or my parking permit or using the electric cart at Walmart.People at church ask 'isn't that problem over with yet? When will it get better?' Oh, if only I could tell them 'tomorrow I will be better!'
Oh, well, that is life, had to vent again, sorry. Have a nice evening everyone. Bev

Re: Orthotics in Iraq

Kathy G on 4/05/03 at 15:54 (115491)

Isn't it strange? PF is not all that uncommon but no one ever seems to know what it is. I believe it is more widely known in athletic circles. One of my son's friends developed it when he was in college and he said that he knew a few other athletes who had it. My son got it last year. He's a tennis pro and he said it was amazing how many people at the club where he works knew what it was. Actually, he said, 'closet' PF'ers were coming out of the woodwork! They'd see him icing his feet and immediately know what was wrong with him!

Maybe if we were all jocks, we'd find sympathy from our peers!