Orthotics are special shoe inserts a doctor prescribes that are custom-made specifically for you.
Orthotics are used to treat foot, leg, or back problems. Read on to discover the conditions orthotics can treat and how effective they can be.
How to tell if you need orthotics
Orthotics can be part of a comprehensive treatment plan to address various symptoms, usually having to do with pain and discomfort of the feet and legs. Some of the goals a doctor may have for orthotic treatment include:
correcting foot deformities
-helping the foot or ankle function better
-providing support to the ankle
-reducing the risks for further injuries
Orthotics are more than just a heel pad or shoe insert you can buy at most athletic stores. They’re highly customized shoe inserts made for your feet. Your doctor will only recommend an orthotic if an off-the-shelf device or other treatments, such as exercises at home, haven’t proven effective.
What conditions are orthotics used to treat?
Orthotics are used to treat a number of medical conditions. Examples include:
Arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can cause discomfort in the feet and poor positioning that orthotics may help to correct.
Back pain. Sometimes poor positioning of the feet, such as arches that roll inward, or lack of cushioning can cause pain that orthotics can lessen.
Bunions. Bunions are painful bumps that can develop at the base of the big toe and cause foot deformities. Orthotics with a wide toe box can help to reduce pressure on the big toe.
Bursitis. Inflammation of fluid-filled sacs in the heels and toes can cause bursitis pain and discomfort. Orthotics with heel and arch support can help to reduce bursitis discomfort.
Diabetes. Sometimes, a person with diabetes can lose sensation in their feet, a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. When this occurs, orthotics can help to reduce excess stress and pressure that can lead to foot ulcers.
Flat feet. Flat feet can cause foot, ankle, and back pain. Orthotics can help to support the feet and promote proper foot positioning.
Hammer toes. Hammer toes often occur as a side effect of bunions on the big toe. They cause second-toe pain and deformities on the ball of the foot. Orthotics can provide additional support to the feet and reduce the likelihood that hammer toes will worsen.
Heel spurs. Heel spurs are conditions where excess bone grows on the back or bottom of the heel. Orthotics can support the foot and reduce inflammation.
High arches. Very high arches can stress muscles in the feet and lead to a number of conditions, such as shin splints, knee pain, and plantar fasciitis. Orthotics can help prevent a person’s feet from rolling excessively inward or outward.
Injuries. People who’ve experienced trauma to their feet and ankles may require extra support during the healing process with orthotics.
Plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain. Doctors may sometimes recommend orthotics to support the heel and foot.
How can orthotics help?
Orthotics are often one part of a treatment regimen for many foot and ankle concerns. Orthotics can correct feet that aren’t ideally positioned. For example, when feet overpronate, they roll slightly inward or downward. This is usually the case for those with very flat feet. Wearing orthotics can help provide additional arch support to try and prevent this.
Orthotics may also provide additional support and cushioning in key areas of the feet, such as the heel or ball of the foot. Because orthotics are custom-made, the person making them will consider the individual’s footwear needs.
Ideally, orthotics and other treatments can help a person avoid more invasive treatments, such as surgery.
Types of orthotics for feet
Orthotics can be customized in a variety of ways. They can invert or evert the foot, offload areas of high pressure. They can be tailored to fit specific shoes, or activities.
3D printed orthotic types can range from being rigid — a denser, more firm printing design — to accommodative, which is very flexible and cushioning.
Do orthotics really help?
Although orthotics don’t universally help all conditions that affect the foot and ankle. There are many studies that support the use of orthotics for treating foot and ankle problems. Dr. Kentner has helped many patents with orthotics, often preventing more invasive treatments. Schedule a visit today to see how we can help you!
As medical director for Resa, my duties often require some travel. I will be out of the office for an extended period starting the 28th of September..
The office will be open for scanning appointments only, the design and printing will be done by myself off site, and then mailed to you!