Foot orthotics are custom foot supports. They are designed and specially fitted for your feet for better performance than over-the-counter (OTC) arch supports. They also help to balance the biomechanical inadequacies of your feet and legs.
The most common reasons people use foot orthotics are for:
• Arch and heel pain, also known as Plantar Fasciitis
• Lower leg tendonitis
• Knee pain, such as chondromalacia patellae, iliotibial band syndrome and “runner’s knee”
• Neuromas in the foot
• Hammer toes
• Over pronation
• Hip pain
• Back pain
• General joint sprains
• Ankle pain
Foot orthotics are made from casts or scans of the feet, and incorporate measurements of your feet, legs, and limb length assessment, as well as your exact medical condition. The latest styles are made of flexible materials that mold to the feet. Orthotics must be recast if your foot grows more than half a size, if you gain or lose weight, or if you develop arthritis of the foot. With normal use, they can be expected to last five to ten years.
Athletes can benefit from orthotics, because sports put extra stress on the feet. This can lead to vulnerability to injury due to extra stress. Orthotics eliminate the need for muscles to compensate for imbalances, reduce fatigue, and promote muscle memory. Orthotics also maximize the bio-mechanical function of your feet, legs and torso. When you start wearing orthotics, you’ll notice an immediate improvement in performance.
While most patients adapt to foot orthotics very quickly, it is best to gradually adjust to them by wearing increasing wear time by an hour or two each day. Orthotics should not be used for strenuous or extended activity, including sports, until you feel fully comfortable in them. They should be comfortable and used whenever you are doing the activity that would normally aggravate your condition. However, it is a good idea to also go barefoot for some period during the day to aid in strengthening the foot and leg muscles. You may also develop blisters when wearing orthotics, which you can ease by applying Vaseline to hotspots or friction areas. Orthotics can help improve overall comfort in your entire lower body, including your feet.
At IMPACT Physical Therapy, we want the best for all of our patients. Our therapists are fully trained to diagnose the need for orthotics, and can create orthotics to meet your exact needs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.