Most people don’t pay adequate attention to their feet until they start to hurt. Regrettably, this body part is often neglected and subjected to abuse. Personal choices such as wearing ill-fitting shoes and engaging in high-impact sports can make your feet hurt. Additionally, certain medical conditions like arthritis may lead to a foot deformity along with pain and swelling.
If that occurs, spending a lot of time on your feet can cause aches in your arches, toes, ankles, heels, and lower back, making you want to sit down forever. One of the best ways to prevent foot pain is using custom orthotics.
This article shares everything you need to know about custom orthotics and their wonderful benefits.
Understanding The Foot
Before learning more about orthotics, first, you need to understand your feet and why they become sore or painful.
The foot is a complex structure, consisting of 26 bones and hundreds of ligaments, muscles, blood vessels, and tendons. Its primary goal is to bear, support, and balance your full body weight when standing and walking to where you need to go.
That said, any abnormalities in your foot alignment or structure can have negative repercussions. The body knows when your feet aren’t properly aligned. So, it tries to compensate for that misalignment by changing the way you stand, walk or run. Such overcompensation can result in pain not only in your feet but also on your back, neck, shoulders, and overall body.
Custom Orthotics: What Are They?
Orthotics are custom-made devices placed directly into your shoes. These ‘special’ shoe inserts are used to conform to and influence the functional and structural characteristics of your feet to help offset pressure or overcompensation in other areas. They come in different materials, including rubber, gel, foam, and plastic, depending on the cause and severity of your foot issue.
Take note that orthotics are different from regular shoe inserts that you can buy from stores without a prescription. While these inserts can provide the necessary support and cushion, they’re not designed for every foot condition. Orthotics, on the other hand, are prescription medical devices that help issues with how you stand, walk or run.
An expert podiatrist can help diagnose foot issues and prescribe custom orthotics for your feet. To make custom orthotics, they take an impression of your feet with a laser scan or plaster cast. These are either manufactured on-site or sent to a medical lab where the custom orthotics are made. You may check out www.thelowerlimbclinic.com.au for more details about the benefits of custom orthotic inserts.
Why Use Custom Orthotics?
So, why bother getting diagnosed by a podiatrist and getting custom orthotics? In this section, you’ll learn how custom orthotics help your feet.
It Helps With Various Conditions
Orthotics are prescription medical devices. A doctor or podiatrist may prescribe orthotics for several medical conditions, including:
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can cause pain and discomfort in your feet as well as poor positioning, which can worsen the condition over time. Orthotics can help correct positioning while providing proper cushioning for your feet to relieve pain.
These are painful bumps that tend to develop at the base of your big toe, causing foot deformities. Using orthotics with a wide toe box can help in reducing pressure on your big toe.
Flat feet refer to a condition where your feet press flat on the ground. This overpronation can result in your ankle twisting inward, causing your knees to overcompensate. Whether you have anatomically flat feet or a collapsed arch due to weakness, orthotics can provide the necessary support to your foot arch. This prevents overpronation and promotes better positioning.
High arch feet are the complete opposite of flat feet. It refers to a foot arch that’s raised more than normal. This is much less common than flat feet and often caused by nerve or bone conditions. People with high arches suffer from too much pain due to the increased stress on the muscles in the feet. Orthotics can prevent your feet from rolling excessively outward or inward and reduce your risk of disability over time.
This is a condition where excess bone grows on the bottom or back of the heel. An orthotic can provide support to your heel and reduce inflammation and discomfort.
For diabetic patients who lose sensation in their feet, orthotics can help reduce excess pressure and stress that can cause foot ulcers.
It Provides The Right Support For Pain Relief
Your feet are responsible not only for bearing your weight but also for balancing the body. Biomechanical foot issues can cause extra strain to other parts of the body.
Orthotics are designed to offer the right support for the anatomical arches of your feet. It helps spread the force and weight evenly across the surface of your feet. This helps alleviate body misalignments and gives you more stability when standing, walking, or running.
When these biomechanical imbalances are addressed, the body doesn’t have to compensate for poor foot alignment, helping reduce pain and discomfort in critical areas.
It Improves Your Athletic Performance
Orthotics can help boost your athletic performance. Wearing orthotics designed for your athletic activity helps optimize muscle function. This allows for more precise and efficient movements and better motion control.
Since orthotic inserts provide the necessary support to problematic areas, they help distribute force and weight across the surface of your foot, which helps improve your balance. Not only that, but these inserts also act as a shock absorber, preventing stress on your joints so you can stay active throughout the day with minimal risk of injuries.
It Is Customized
Every foot is unique. An insert that’s not a tailored fit can cause as much pain and discomfort as it’s supposed to address.
So, customized is the key. Unlike the generic, mass-produced shoe inserts available online or over the counter, orthotics are custom-made for your feet. Thus, it has the perfect shape to fit the size and contours of your feet, making it more effective and efficient than prefabricated inserts.
Life’s a drag when your feet hurt. Sore feet can make moving difficult and painful, causing problems throughout your body. But you don’t have to endure the pain and soreness. As you can see from the above information, using custom orthotics can provide numerous benefits, particularly in relieving joint and foot discomfort.