Sometimes feet can be a real pain.
You have only one pair of feet and they take you everywhere. It’s a good idea to take care of them. Most people don’t give their feet a second thought until they hurt. And once those feet are hurting, most have no idea of how to eliminate the pain. They often soak their aching feet or take time out for a quick foot rub, but outside of those remedies, their feet just go on hurting. That can lead to serious trouble. Most foot pain is the result of a faulty relationship between the bones and muscles of the foot. Even the slightest misalignment of the bones and muscles can cause a lot of discomfort. Misalignment can result in a number of problems, such as pronation, flat feet, persistent ankle sprains, bunions, corns, calluses—even back and neck pain.
What are orthotics?
Some people call them “arch supports” but they are much more. Prescription orthotics are custommade forms that correct your individual foot problems. They are made of high-impact materials, such as plastic and super strength woven fibers, and they’re designed to be inserted right into your shoes. A pair of orthotics is made specifically for your feet. You and someone else may have a similar foot problem, but your feet are unique. That’s why orthotics are custom-made. Orthotics slipped inside your shoes fit so comfortably to your foot that once you start wearing them, you won’t want to walk without them again.
How do orthotics work?
As your foot rests on the orthotic, it is gently and consistently directed into the correct position for walking, running, and standing. With a pair of orthotics, pressure points, improper rotation of the foot, and painful muscle strains are all eliminated because your foot is functioning properly.
How are orthotics made?
First you must be fitted for them. It’s not hard. Your physical therapist or doctor gives you a complete examination and determines your particular foot problem. A plaster impression of each foot held in the correct position is then made. When the casts are finished, they are sent to an orthotic laboratory where they are used to produce your orthotics. Here, technicians, following your physical therapist’s or doctor’s specifications, add special sponge padding, heel lifts, or built-up areas to customize an orthotic to correct your specific problems.
Are there different kinds of orthotics?
As with glasses, orthotics are made in different types of construction: Rigid, Semi-Rigid and Soft
(or Flexible.) Rigid orthotics provide maximum functional control of the foot—excellent for growing children and often prescribed for foot and leg pain, back pain, leg length differences and abnormal foot function.
Semi-rigid orthotics combine foot protection with functional control. Since they offer shock absorption, they are often prescribed as sports orthotics. Also, they are the orthotics of choice for
shoes which will not accommodate full-size orthotics, such as women’s dress shoes.
Soft orthotics maximize shock absorption for people who’ve lost the protective fat pad cushioning on the soles of the feet and consequently suffer from painful pressure areas. This type is helpful for older patients, arthritics, diabetics, and patients with severely deformed feet.
Your needs may call for more than one pair of orthotics—one for work and one for recreation, for example. Women who wear different heel heights may also need a second pair. Whatever you get, always have them with you when you buy new shoes to be sure of a proper fit. Orthotics should fit snugly and not rock or tilt excessively in shoes. Closed, low-heel shoes work best.
How long will I have to wear orthotics?
There’s really not an answer to this question. Orthotics do not cure your foot problems. They work on the same principle as glasses. A doctor may prescribe glasses for you, but they won’t cure your vision problems. Instead, orthotics simply modify the function of your foot as you continue to wear them. However, in some young patients, the early use of prescription orthotics, before the bones are fully developed, may actually correct a foot problem. Or at least, orthotics can insure that the problem does not develop further.
In other words… you’ll need to wear orthotics as long as you want to avoid discomfort. Remember, your feet are the foundation for your entire body.
Obtaining and consistently wearing orthotics can be the best investment you make in your overall well-being.
Relieving Foot Strain
To Relieve Foot Pain