How Do Orthotics Work?
By Irving M. Luftig, BSC, DPM
August 27, 2020
Category: Foot Care
A healthy body starts with healthy, happy feet. After all, your feet have to do a lot of heavy lifting, providing your body with a sturdy foundation and support to walk, run, and climb stairs. Of course, many people will deal with biomechanical problems in their feet due to flat feet, high arches, or other structural abnormalities. The good news is that something as simple as custom orthotics can provide your feet with the support they need to both prevent and manage foot and leg pain and other problems.
What are orthotics?
These specialized shoe inserts are a little different from the ones you can find at your local drugstore. Orthotics are special, custom-made shoe inserts designed and fabricated by your podiatrist to specifically fit your foot and its unique needs. There are many reasons why a podiatrist may recommend orthotics.
Sometimes orthotics are used to alleviate symptoms and improve common foot, leg, or even back problems, while other times your podiatrist may recommend them to improve the support and health of your feet to prevent problems in the first place.
Do I need orthotics?
Orthotics is just one way to treat foot and leg problems and your doctor may recommend orthotics if you are dealing with,
Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
- Leg, hip, or back pain
- Flat feet
- High arches
- Plantar fasciitis
- Certain injuries to the foot or ankle
While orthotics are typically not the sole treatment option, your podiatrist may prescribe orthotics along with other treatment options including stretching, pain-relieving medication, ice or heat therapy, and bracing or compression.
Orthotics can help people of all ages and backgrounds, from athletic kids and adults to those who are overweight and seniors. Feet continue to change as we get older, and as aches and pains set in, custom orthotics could be what you need to help make getting around as easy as it once was.
Types of Orthotics
There are many different kinds of materials that can be used to create orthotics. The type of condition you are dealing with will most likely help your podiatrist determine which material to use.
Orthotics range from soft and flexible to hard and rigid. Those with plantar fasciitis or diabetic feet are more likely to benefit from the cushioning and additional support of soft orthotics while athletes and those who often wear dress shoes are more likely to benefit from rigid orthotics.
If you are interested in orthotics and how they could help you, talk with your podiatrist to learn more.