Many people have consistent and regular foot pain or pain that occurs only when they are engaged in certain activities. While orthotics may not be the answer for everyone, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional to decide of orthotics are an option to help relieve your pain.
While it may be tempting to try to diagnose, purchase and use shoe inserts without consulting with a medical professional, the results are often minimal or ineffective. That doesn’t mean that you need to be unprepared for your visit. Below, we’ve compiled some helpful information to get you up to speed on the world of orthotics.
Shoe inserts are available over the counter in many pharmacies and shoe stores. These products provide an additional cushion when they are placed inside the shoe. They are constructed with a variety of materials, but many contain gels, plastic or foam. Inserts are not made specifically for your foot or your foot pain. Many inserts offer additional support for arches, heel, toe, or entire foot cushioning. However, shoe inserts are not designed to correct any problems that are causing your pain.
Many consumers feel that orthotics and inserts are synonymous. There are several distinct differences between the two. Orthotics are prescription medical devices. They are specifically designed and tailored to meet your needs. They can help with your foot position when you stand, walk or run. Orthotics are also prescribed to help with other medical conditions like arthritis, diabetes, plantar fasciitis or bursitis. They can also be prescribed to eliminate the need for surgery to correct flat feet.
Now that you’ve determined that an appointment is necessary, there are a variety of tests and images that your medical professional will gather before deciding what your options are. Initially, many orthotic appointments include 3-D imaging of the foot to see if they can identify any problems or differences between your feet.
Next, you will be given a thorough examination. The examination will include watching you walk to check your stance, foot-strike, hip movement, and ankle movement and how that may relate to the root cause. You will also likely be given a physical exam where your ability to move and stretch your foot in different directions and different angles is analyzed.
If you need orthotics to help correct an issue, you can expect that mold will be made of your feet in order to accurately create an orthotic that will work for you. There are several different materials that are used to develop orthotics, and each has specific benefits and drawbacks. You should discuss your options with a professional
There are two basic types of orthotics, rigid and soft. During your appointment, you should make sure to understand which type of orthotic you are receiving and why it is the best option for your condition.
Rigid Orthotics – Rigid or functional orthotics are typically made from durable plastic or carbon fiber. These orthotics are best paired with dress or walking shoes. They are specifically designed to ease the pain in the foot, legs, thighs, and back that may be caused by issues with how your foot is working.
Soft Orthotics – Soft or accommodative orthotics are made from a possible variety of soft, pliable materials. This form of custom orthotic is designed to ease pain and pressure on certain parts of the foot. They are often very thick and may need to be worn with a custom orthotic shoe so that they will fit the orthotic and your foot without causing additional discomfort.
Now that you understand some of the details about orthotics, it’s a good time to speak to a professional about any concerns that you have. They will be able to discuss the causes and your treatment options. It’s never too soon to get rid of the discomfort that you’re having, so schedule an appointment today.