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Thanh Dinh, DPM

Dr. Dinh Answers Your Questions

In the Division of Podiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, doctors like Dr. Thanh Dinh provide a full range of foot and ankle care, as well as more advanced care for sports injuries, trauma and diabetic foot disorders.

Dr. Dinh answers some of the most frequently asked podiatry questions to help us all put our best foot forward.

I'm looking for a pair of dress boots. Since I stand for much of the day (I'm a hairdresser), I need something that won't ruin my feet. Any advice?

As a shoe lover myself, I can understand how finding dress shoes that are comfortable for work can be a challenging proposition! Important considerations to look at are heel height, width, and arch support. A slight heel, in the range of a 1/4 to 1/2 inch will be more comfortable than a flat or higher heel height. Additionally, choose a shoe with a generous width and a rounded toe box. Finally, a dress shoe with a supportive arch is essential. If the shoe you choose does not have a cushioned arch, consider purchasing a pair of soft over the counter arch supports to put in the shoe.

I am a lifelong diabetic (52 years) and just recently started to lose feeling in my feet. It comes and goes and sometimes can be painful. Is this a sign that my diabetes is worsening? What can I do?

It sounds like you may have a secondary complication of diabetes called Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy. Most patients will report feeling burning, tingling, electrical sensation, and numbness to the feet. The pain and numbness is most commonly reported at bedtime and is thought to be due to poorly controlled diabetes. Individuals with peripheral neuropathy are at greater risk for diabetic foot complications such as foot ulcers and amputations. As a result, all individuals with diabetes and peripheral neuropathy are strongly encouraged to see their Podiatric physician on a regular basis for preventative care of these potentially devastating complications.

I have a bad back. Will shoe inserts help? And if so, what kind would you recommend?

Orthoses may help in some cases of back pain. Successful treatment of back pain with orthotic devices depends on several factors, such as the cause of the back pain and whether or not there is malalignment of the lower extremity. It is best to consult a Podiatrist to examine your feet and lower extremity alignment before considering treatment with orthotics. The Podiatric physician may recommend over the counter orthotics or custom orthotics based on the extent of your symptoms and the clinical findings.

At what point should surgery be considered for a painful bunion?

Surgery should be considered when conservative care is exhausted. Conservative care for a bunion deformity typically consists of wider shoe wear, inserts, and sometimes physical therapy. It is important to keep in mind that conservative care may relieve some of the pain symptoms, but will not correct the underlying bone deformity. Only surgery will remove the "bump" of the bunion and correct the alignment of the joint.

Posted November 2009

Contact Information

Division of Podiatry
Department of Surgery
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Baker Building, 3rd Floor
185 Pilgrim Road
Boston, MA 02215