What Are Orthotics, and Are They Right for You?
Orthotics are corrective sole inserts you wear in your shoes or boots.
The inserts are exactingly customized to your feet to provide proper foot-to-ankle alignment, arch support, and balance. Although many over the counter arch supports are available, genuine custom-made orthotics must be obtained after a professional, such as a chiropodist, podiatrist, or medical doctor, has completed a biochemical assessment – including gait analysis – and provided you with a prescription that details the problem and how it can be corrected.
Do I need orthotics?
Do your ankles, heels or arches hurt? Do you have shin splints? Do your knees, hips, or back hurt? Over the years your feet may not have been properly supported in your shoes, or you’ve worn shoes that are designed for fashion not function, or you may have suffered an injury that either caused your actual foot to deform, or altered the mechanics of your gait – how you walk. Wearing orthotics is a gradual corrective process that will gently reform and heal your foot. Orthotics can also help those living with diabetes avoid ulcers and other disease-related foot debilitations.
What are the causes of foot pain?
The 26 bones in your foot have a tendency to tilt one way or another due to injury or walking improperly. By compensating for the tilting, the foot’s structure changes resulting in an abnormally low or high arch which shifts where your feet bear weight and how you balance. Over time the unintentional manipulations cause heel pain, arch pain or plantar fasciitis, bunions, and pinched nerves. And walking in an altered manner will also wreak havoc on your knees and hips, and can even effect posture.
Here is a list of complaints that orthotics have proven effective treatment:
• Achilles Tendonitis
• Plantar Fasciitis
• Runner’s Knee
• Posterior Tibial Tendonitis
• Shin Splints
• Ilotibial Band Syndrome
• Morton’s Neuroma
• Sacroiliac Syndrome
• Hammer Toe
• Mallet Toe
• Claw Toe
• Heel Pain
• Knee Pain
How do I get orthotics?
Many insurance providers cover orthotics. Investigate your insurers’ requirements about who can write and fill your prescription, and by what means your foot must be measured for the corrective soles, i.e. plaster cast vs. gait scan.
First you must be assessed as to whether orthotics are right for you. As with any medical treatment, orthotics are not the right solution for everyone. Once you have been prescribed orthotics you will go through the fitting process which includes making mold of your foot either with plaster, foam, or a 3D scan. In some cases a gait scan is used to measure where you carry your weight on your feet, but it is recommended that this be used in addition to and not instead of a mold because a gait scan does not precisely measure the arch.
Since your orthotics are designed to remold your foot, expect a process to break them in over the course of about 2 weeks. Start by wearing them for 1 hour, increasing the time you wear them by an hour each day.
You don’t have to sacrifice style for support! Orthotics are thin and easily inserted into most footwear with a removable sole, and you can purchase a wide variety of specialty fashionable and functional footwear designed to accommodate orthotic inserts, and even some without removable inserts. Whatever you choose, it is essential to the health of your foot and the effectiveness of the orthotics that your shoes be in good condition.
Book an appointment today with our Cambrigde Chiropodist to talk about orthotics at (519) 624-8000.