What is orthotics?
Orthotics are custom-made shoe or heel inserts that a doctor prescribes for your particular needs.
To treat foot, leg, or back problems, a doctor can prescribe orthotics. Continue reading to learn about the problems that orthotics can help with and how effective they can be.
How can you tell if you need orthotics?
Orthotics may be used as part of a wider care strategy to address a variety of symptoms, most commonly pain and discomfort in the feet and legs. The following are some of the goals that a doctor might have for orthotic treatment:
- repairing deformities of the feet
- assisting in the betterment of the foot or ankle’s role
- assisting with ankle help
- lowering the likelihood of more injuries
Orthotics are more than just a heel pad or shoe insert that can be bought at most sporting goods stores. They’re specially made shoe or heel inserts for your feet. If an off-the-shelf system or other therapies, such as at-home exercises, haven’t worked, your doctor can prescribe an orthotic.
What a podiatrist looks for when diagnosing a condition
If you have serious foot and heel pain, you can see a podiatrist, a doctor who specializes in foot and ankle conditions. They’ll begin by inquiring about your symptoms. When you first felt the symptoms, what makes them worse, and what makes them better are all potential questions.
Your podiatrist will then test your feet physically. They’ll look for deformities and extremely painful places.
The doctor will probably ask you to walk and do other things so that he or she can see how your feet and ankles are aligned during such exercises. Some doctors can also provide you with special imaging or walking pads. These photos will display how and when your feet hit the ground, helping you to pinpoint the exact position and form of issues with your feet’s structure and function.
Traditional imaging of the feet, such as an X-ray, bone scan, or MRI, can also be recommended. This can assist in the identification of areas affected by arthritis, damage, or injury.
When making medical decisions, a doctor will consider both of these testing approaches, including the possibility of administering orthotics.
What are some of the problems that orthotics are used to treat?
Orthotics can be recommended by a doctor to treat a variety of medical conditions. Here are some examples:
- Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis may cause foot pain and incorrect positioning, which orthotics can help with.
- Backache. Bad foot alignment, such as inward rolling arches or a lack of cushioning, can cause discomfort that orthotics can relieve.
- Bunions are a form of bunions. Bunions are painful bumps at the base of the big toe that can cause deformities in the foot. The big toe can be relieved by wearing orthotics with a large toe box.
- Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa. Bursitis is a painful condition caused by inflammation of fluid-filled sacs in the heels and toes. Bursitis may be relieved by wearing orthotics with heel and arch support.
- Diabetes is a condition that affects millions of people Diabetic neuropathy is a disorder in which a person with diabetes loses sensation in their feet. If this happens, orthotics can help minimize the amount of tension and pressure on the feet, which can lead to ulcers.
- Feet that are smooth. Flat feet can cause pain in the feet, ankles, and back. Orthotics can assist in the support and proper positioning of the feet.
- Toes hammered. Bunions on the big toe sometimes trigger hammer toes as a side effect. They result in pain in the second toe and deformities on the ball of the foot. The use of orthotics will help to protect the feet and reduce the risk of hammer toes deteriorating.
- Spurs on the toes. Excess bone develops on the back or bottom of the foot, triggering heel spurs. The use of orthotics will help to stabilize the foot while also reducing inflammation.
- Arches that are tall. Shin splints, knee pain, and plantar fasciitis may all be caused by very high arches, which stress the muscles in the feet. Orthotics can help keep a person’s feet from rolling inward or outward too often.
- Accidents. Orthotics may be needed for people who have had injuries to their feet and ankles during the healing process.
- Plantar fasciitis is a type of plantar fasciitis that affects the Heel pain is often caused by plantar fasciitis. Orthotics, which protect the heel and foot, are often prescribed by physicians.
For people who have positional problems with their feet or legs, doctors can prescribe custom orthotics. This involves people who have poor leg and foot muscles.
What are the advantages of orthotics?
Orthotics are commonly used as part of a recovery strategy for a number of foot and ankle problems. A doctor can, for example, recommend orthotics in addition to other treatments such as more supportive shoes and physical therapy exercises.
To alleviate pain and inflammation, a doctor can prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium.
Since orthotics may correct feet that aren’t in the best place, physicians often prescribe them in combination with these treatments. When feet overpronate, for example, they roll inward or downward. This is most common in people who have very flat feet. Wearing orthotics can help avoid this by providing extra arch support.
Orthotics may also provide extra support and cushioning in particular areas of the foot, such as the heel and ball. Since orthotics are made to order, the person who creates them will take into account the individual’s footwear specifications.
Orthotics and other therapies can, in theory, help a person prevent more invasive treatments like surgery.
Foot orthotics come in a range of shapes and sizes.
Orthotics come in a range of materials that can be personalized. A doctor will write an orthotic material prescription based on a person’s condition and symptoms.
Orthotics come in a number of materials, ranging from rigid (usually made of carbon fiber or plastic) to accommodative (very flexible and cushioning).
Full-shoe inserts, similar to the insoles used in many athletic shoes, are used in some orthotics. Others have a smaller heel insert that fits into the shoe’s back cup.
Another alternative is ankle-foot orthotics, which have a shoe insert as well as an upright section that stretches from the heel upward and around the calf.
Orthotics may be prescribed in combination with braces, other shoe inserts, or taping, such as kinesiology taping, by physicians.
Is it true that orthotics are beneficial?
Orthotics don’t often support people with foot and ankle issues. The efficacy of orthotics is complicated by a variety of factors, including:
- the person who makes the orthotic’s education and experience
- prescription from the doctor
- the footwear that a person wears
- how often a person puts them on
There have been studies that indicate that orthotics can help with foot and ankle problems. However, all of them emphasize the importance of getting a well-fitting orthotic and wearing it correctly.
Last but not least
Orthotics should be a part of a comprehensive recovery plan for people who have issues with their feet and ankles. They aren’t for everybody, and they can be expensive for those who don’t have benefits.
If your doctor suggests an orthotic or orthotics, it’s a good idea to inquire about the effects you can expect from daily usage.