The Need and Benefit of Foot Orthotics
Maintaining an active lifestyle is important to staying healthy, but one ting that can stand in your way is foot pain. Many people are able to manage this pain with a new pair of shoes but for some, shoes are not enough. This is where custom foot orthotics may be of benefit. Custom foot orthotics are shoe inserts that provide corrective support and correction to an individual's foot structure. Our feet are the base upon which everything else rests, and if our feet are unstable it can affect everything above it. Think of the bones in your body as building blocks; if the bottom blocks are not stacked in alignment, all of the blocks above will tend to lean one way or another. Just so, if the bones of our feet are not in alignment it can cause ankle, knee, hip, and even back pain. But if the stack of blocks was better supported, it is much more difficult for the block tower to crumble. This is exactly how foot orthotics function.
Do I Need Foot Orthotics?
Foot orthotics have been used successfully to treat foot pain such as metatarsalgia, heel pain, plantar fasciitis, bunions, and arthritis. Foot orthotics can also help reduce the risk of rolling your ankle, improve balance, and reduce pain in the knees, hips, and back. If you are experiencing symptoms such as these, it may be advantageous to seek consultation with your doctor to ask if foot orthotics would help.
How Do I Get Foot Orthotics?
There are many different types of orthotics and each individual person needs to be evluated for the device that will work best for them. Not all orthotics are created equally. Some people might be able to benefit from an off-the-shelf device, but these are not always the correct choice. Some people need the exact biomechanical correction that only a custom option will provide. This customization is obtained by first capturing the shape of your foot with either a foam impression, plaster cast, or digital scan. The foot orthotics are then molded to your foot shape using materials that are custom chosen for your specific needs. During the delivery appointment, the foot orthotics will be adjusted to fit into your shoes and can be further adjusted at later appointments as needed.
What If I Am A Runner?
People that are performing at a higher level, such as exercising or running, are at even greater risk due to the increased stress and higher impact. The ligaments and tendons in our feet are working twice as hard to maintain control of our foot and ankle positions. If our bones are not in a correct alignment, exercise can quickly intensify a deformity or injury. It is worth mentioning that foot orthotics are only as good as the shoe they are put in. Finding an appropriate shoe for your foot structure will enable the foot orthotic to function correctly. If you place a foot orthoci in an innappropriate shoe, you will lose most of the control of your foot and ankle that the orthotic is providing.
Whether you are weight-lifting, running, or simply walking around the grocery store, foot pain is not something you wish to deal with. Foot orthotics may be the difference for improved comfort.
David Brown, Certified Pedorthist
Samantha Eckert, Certified Prosthetist Orthotist