A custom orthotic device commonly comes in the form of shoe inserts. These are mainly corrective devices that aim to provide proper support and correction of some foot alignment issues. A podiatrist prescribes it and you can buy one from online shops.
People with serious foot conditions may benefit from wearing specially-made orthotics to relieve pain and allow them to move around better. If you want to know whether you’ll benefit from these devices, read on.
In this article, you’ll know what are orthotics, how they work, and what conditions they may help address.
Do You Need Custom Orthotics?
Your foot is made up of a complex network made up of bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels. This complexity is needed to properly support and balance your body weight. It also makes your movements fluid and makes it easy for you to stand, walk, run, cycle, and so on. For these reasons, the importance of foot health can’t be undermined.
Before deciding whether you need to use a pair of orthotics, the first step is to secure an appointment with a podiatrist. These medical professionals, also called podiatric physicians, are trained experts who focus on health-related problems that affect your lower legs and feet.
If you’ve tried shoe inserts and other treatments but found no relief, the issues below will qualify you for a custom podiatric treatment:
- Foot deformities that need to be corrected
- Malfunctions concerning your foot or ankle
- Need proper ankle support
- Treatment from foot injuries
- Reducing the risks for further injuries
- Severe foot and heel pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Foot and lower leg problems caused by diabetes
- Presence of large and painful calluses
- Arthritis that affects the foot joints
- Conditions that affect the ball of your foot.
If you have any of the conditions mentioned above, you may need to have custom orthotics. After examining and identifying your foot and lower leg problems, your podiatrist may refer you to custom orthotic shops like Orthotics Plus to ensure that you get the right foot orthotics for you.
How Custom Orthotics May Benefit You?
These foot devices are typically prescribed as one of the few complementary treatments for foot, lower leg, and ankle issues. For instance, foot pain may be treated with orthotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), supportive shoes, and specific exercises.
Here’s how custom-made orthotics can help you:
1. Custom Orthotics May Effectively Correct Misalignment and Foot Abnormalities
Orthotics can correct feet with biomechanical issues. For instance, they may correct foot misalignment caused by structural abnormalities.
Overpronation or flat-footedness is one of the most common conditions addressed by orthotics. It’s a condition wherein a foot rolls inward whenever it’s moved. People who are known to be flat-footed can benefit from foot orthotics to support the arch of their foot and improve their overall balance.
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Aside from supporting the arch, an orthotic can also provide better cushioning for the foot, especially the heel and ball. Other benefits of orthotics follow:
- Corrected Pronation: A foot with arch deficiency triggers heightened stress on the upper parts of the body, particularly the lower back, knees, feet, and hips. Correcting one’s pronation provides support to relieve excessive stress in the foot.
Corrected Supination: This term refers to the condition where arches are too high, which causes the ankles to lean outward and away from the body. Like pronation, supination also causes the same extra stress on the body’s midsection and feet.
Typically, people don’t experience overpronation or excess supination in both feet. For instance, a person may have an arch that’s higher than the other one causing severe problems with balance. Unlike most common and generic shoe orthotics being sold online or in-store, custom orthotics are tailored to fit your needs to align your feet and offer comfort and support.
2. Custom Orthotics Are Made To Address Your Needs
Because they’re custom-made for individuals, custom orthotics address your issues and problems better. As mentioned, these devices aren’t available unless you’ve secured an appointment with your podiatrist who then examines your foot and leg problems, asks for specific tests, and comes up with a diagnosis, as well as a treatment plan.
These special devices can’t be bought in stores and thus becomes more effective in addressing your foot problems, in a shorter time.
3. Orthotics Helps Ease Pain
Specific health conditions and structural deficiencies—among them are plantar fasciitis, arthritis, excess supination, and overpronation—cause undue stress and eventually pain. That’s because your body works to compensate for the malfunctions caused by these misalignments and deformities.
Using a personalized pair of orthotics relieves the stress triggered by these problems, which may help you break free from foot and lower leg pain.
Clinical studies have backed the efficacy of made-to-order orthotics in reducing pain and enhancing biomechanical functions. This study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information explored the impact of using tailor-made orthotics to alleviate pain from a common knee condition called patellofemoral. The results showed a favorable conclusion. All participants reportedly experienced reduced pain and skipped the possibility of a potential knee surgery because of custom orthotics.
4. Orthotics May Help You Gain Proper Posture
Your back is not the only part of your body that suffers when you’ve got problems with your feet. Misalignment and deficiencies on the foot affect proper posture, as other parts of your body try to adjust to compensate for the abnormalities. Put simply, how you hold your body up depends upon your feet’ overall health.
With a pair of custom-built orthotics correcting the main problems affecting your feet, you’ll also enjoy the benefit of obtaining better posture, helping relieve your back problems.
5. Orthotics Promote Foot Health
Orthotics may help prevent various foot health issues. Problems like developing excessive calluses, warts, and infections can be prevented with its use.
More importantly, custom orthotics can protect individuals who have diabetes from developing foot ulcers. Diabetics are prone to having diabetic wounds. These are sores and ulcers caused by nerve damage and reduced blood flow towards the limbs, especially the legs.
6. Orthotics Offer Enhanced Foot Support
Being one of the most complex parts of your body, your feet are also responsible for bearing your body’s entire weight. They need to be healthy and capable of supporting you without the pain and physical stress.
When specific health conditions and abnormalities prevent you from having these, specially-made orthotics can provide much-needed support to ensure balance and stability.
7. Orthotics Provide Unmatched Comfort
Apart from providing foot support, personalized orthotics offer superior comfort, much more than over-the-counter shoe inserts. The latter are typically generic, one-size-fits-all solutions to foot problems. But the reality is that people all have different foot structures. Buying an in-store foot insert is often a ‘hit-and-miss’ experience.
Tailor-made orthotics, meanwhile, are made just for you, which makes them perfect for addressing foot and lower leg discomfort. You’ll want to wear them while walking, running, shopping for groceries, and even while performing exercises at the gym.
8. Orthotics Help Enhance Athletic Performance
Speaking of physically active individuals, gym goers are not the only persons who stand to benefit from personalized orthotics. Athletes can likewise use orthotics to improve their foot and body alignments, allowing them to perform without restrictions caused by pain or physical limitations. These devices won’t turn them into superhumans but they may help them jump better or perform athletic movements with improved precision.
As orthotics allow for proper weight distribution, they can also facilitate better balance. Additionally, it’s meant to absorb the movement impacts, allowing you to move with more ease and reducing muscle strains.
9. Orthotics Help Enhance Your Overall Health
According to the Sleep America survey conducted by the American Sleep Foundation in 2015, one in five Americans suffers from chronic pain. This discomfort leads to poor sleep quality, among other health problems related to sleep deprivation.
In the same vein, anything that relieves pain and discomfort can help you get better sleep, allowing you to wake up refreshed and making you feel better. Thus, a foot orthotic positively impacts your health as you get to perform more activities.
10. Orthotics Provide Joint Protection
The stress and pressure your joints get from your daily activities is by no means a small feat. Because of gravity, the actual weight that your feet and lower leg support when you walk, run, or jump, is multiplied a few times your actual body weight. This repeated strain can cause soreness and pain. With regular occurrence, it can cause eventual tears and damages to your joints, bones, and muscles.
11. Orthotics May Help Prevent Foot Injuries and Their Recurrence
Because it corrects misalignment and deficiencies, personalized orthotics helps prevent the occurrence not only of foot pain but certain types of injuries that impact tendons, joints, and muscles, as well. A study showed that orthotics can help prevent injuries such as knee pain, medial tibial stress syndrome, plantar fasciitis, and so on. The said research discovered that with orthotics use, the risk of injuries dipped by 28%, while the risk of stress fractures reduced by 41%.
Knowing that they can heal and prevent foot injuries is good news for individuals suffering from the said conditions.
The Bottom Line
As with other issues, an issue may only be addressed by pinpointing the root cause of the problem. To effectively solve them, the first step is to consult with a podiatrist. This trained specialist can perform proper evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment—including the use of custom-made orthotics—to correct the problem.