There are a lot of misconceptions out there regarding orthotics.
Some people think they’re only for older adults with decades of wear and tear on their feet. Not true! Orthotics are frequently used to help children, athletes, and adults of all ages.
Others believe that orthotics are really only able to treat chronic aches and pains. False again! While some orthotics function mostly as extra arch support or heel cushioning, others can treat chronic injuries or even fix foot alignment and motion mechanics.
Still others are dissuaded from orthotics, thinking that they’re going to hurt to wear, or that they won’t work, or that they’ll be too expensive. But in our experience, the right orthotic (whether prefabricated or custom), chosen for you by an expert who knows your individual foot mechanics, can make a massive, positive difference in your life.
And while a pair of custom orthotics might cost a couple of hundred dollars in the short run (depending on what insurance will cover), they usually save money in the long run due to their durability and adjustability. Plus, they’re one of the most time and cost-effective ways to get the relief you need in order to do the things you truly love to do.
In other words?
Orthotics are for just about everyone.
But that’s probably too broad. How about some examples?
Orthotics are for people with heel and arch pain.
This one is probably the classic example.
Heel and arch pain are very frequently related to misalignments in the structure of the foot itself. Both over-the-counter and custom orthotics alike are frequently designed to address these sources of pain by providing extra support for the arch and/or extra cushioning for the heels, front of the foot, etc.
Depending on the style of orthotic selected, the device may simply soften the blow of each step, or it may also reposition the foot itself.
Orthotics are for people with foot deformities.
It’s not just people with minor structural imbalances who can benefit from orthotics. Significant deformities, such as bunions and hammertoes, can often be addressed through the use of an orthotic.
No, wearing an orthotic won’t make your bunion go away, no matter how long you wear it. However, a custom orthotic designed to fit your feet perfectly may well be able to (1) ease the pain of your bunion, (2) slow the rate at which your bunion gets worse, and (3) allow you to enjoy full activity without pain.
Orthotics are for people with abnormal or unstable gait.
When your foot mechanics are out of whack, you’re more likely to suffer an injury or take a spill on the pavement. And the problem is more common than you’d think.
True, not everybody walks with an obvious limp or wobble. But a lot (and perhaps most) of us probably roll our feet and ankles (in other words, pronate) more than what would really be ideal.
In addition to repositioning the feet within the shoes, some orthotics can even increase the stability of the foot itself by preventing the feet or ankles from rolling beyond a certain amount, or keeping the heel more locked in place. This allows you to walk more efficiently and with a lower risk of hurting yourself.
Orthotics are for people with diabetes
A pair of diabetic shoes combined with a set of custom orthotics come highly recommended for patients with diabetes, particularly those with a history of foot problems. Many insurance plans will even cover the shoes and/or orthotics on an annual basis.
The orthotics help reduce friction, pressure, shock and shear on the feet, which in turn helps prevent blisters, corns, calluses, ulcers and sores from forming. They are adapted to whatever specific needs you may have, whether that’s motion control, accommodating a bunion or hammertoe, or just adding cushioning.
Orthotics are for athletes
You might have more athletic talent than you know what to do with, but you can still be let down by a pair of feet with structural issues. Athletes with unstable or imbalanced feet have to expend more energy, rely on improper form, fatigue faster, and suffer higher injury rates.
However, the right pair of orthotics can not only relieve the pain, but boost athletic performance. They can help you run faster. Turn quicker. Train longer and harder without having to quit. Achieve better balance to deliver more force in a tackle or body check. Operate at peak effectiveness deeper into the game. You get the idea.
Orthotics are for children
Not all foot problems are the result of years of wear and tear. Many emerge in childhood and are best addressed at an early stage. We often prescribe orthotics for childrenwith structural foot problems or gait abnormalities.
Of course, the issue with kids is that no pair of orthotics (custom or otherwise) is going to be effective for too long. They simply outgrow themselves within a handful of months! As a result, we’re very conscious of cost when your child needs orthotics. That means using good prefabs whenever possible, and keeping our recommendations as affordable as possible.
Orthotics are for you—and all the other important people in your life.
It’s safe to say that the vast majority of us aren’t living solely for ourselves. We live for our family, our friends, our children. Being able to spend quality time with the people we love is what makes life worth living.
When your feet aren’t working properly and causing you pain, your ability to be there for yourself and others is diminished. It means you have to say no to that hiking trip with your buddies. It means you can’t help out around the house as much as you’d like. It means you have to cut playtime with the little ones short.
And as you become less and less active, your fitness declines and your risk of developing adverse health conditions go up. It becomes harder and harder to get back on your feet. It’s a vicious cycle.
Orthotics may be the tool that you need to get active again, or to stay there. They could help you get your life back, so you can live the lifestyle you want, and you can be there for yourself and others.
If painful feet are getting in the way of your life, don’t wait another minute. Give us a call today. Maybe orthotics is the answer. Maybe you might benefit from laser therapy. Of course, it’s possible you may need surgery.
Either way, you’ll get the honest truth and personalized treatment options from a team of podiatric experts with your best interests at heart.
To schedule with us, call (866) 222-5177, or request an appointment online.