by Doc Rick Rimler

When it comes to joint health in the lower extremity, the first thing to do is look at the foundation for your mobility: your feet. Once you get your foot type determined, a “customized orthotic” (prescription arch support) can be placed in your shoes. This will balance and support your feet with an appropriate material, promoting less motion and more efficient ambulation. In turn, you will have fewer problems with your feet, ankles, knees, hips and lower back.

The trick with orthotics is to use shoes that can accommodate them. For casual use for men and women, sneakers/walking shoes with removable inner soles are recommended. Just swap out the inner soles for your orthotics. For ladies dress, it is better to use ankle-high boots rather than loafers/slides because the orthotics have a better chance of fitting inside without causing too much tightness or heel slippage.

Inevitably, aches and pains are going to happen. Between normal wear and tear, exercise, prior injuries or arthritis, it is important to use safe and effective anti-inflammatories. Some of the ones I prescribe are flaxseed oil, garlic, celery extract, curcumin, NAC, probiotics and Boswellia. These products are also much safer than both prescription and over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as Advil, Aleve and Motrin/ibuprofen. The main medical alert is that some of these should not be used if you are taking a blood thinning medication such as aspirin, Coumadin, Plavix, etc. The same precaution exists for the prescription and over-the-counter products. Check with your holistic physician to help guide you as to the ones that are safe to take if you are on a blood thinning medication.

The safety profiles of natural anti-inflammatories are far superior to the traditional alternatives. If dosed correctly, they also happen to be very effective in reducing pain quickly. That is why it’s recommended that you see a physician well versed in holistic treatments before starting your treatment. I believe it is a good idea to take a daily maintenance dose of one or two of the above to keep inflammation to a minimum.

In conclusion, when looking for a winning combination for lower extremity joint health, start with a pair of customized orthotics (to lay a good foundation) and then add some natural anti-inflammatories for pain relief or maintenance therapy. These will enable you to keep on walking and running, strong!

Dr. Richard J. Rimler, DPM (Doc Rick) is one of a few holistic podiatrists in the country. His office is in Hollywood, Florida. For more information, visit