Who Needs Orthotics?

While there are surgical procedures that can treat foot deformities and other foot issues, conservative treatments are often all that’s needed to restore comfort and mobility. 

Orthotics are just such a solution. These are devices that you insert into your shoes to help prevent and treat a wide range of foot issues.  

At Premier Foot & Ankle, our excellent podiatry team puts your foot and ankle health first. In this blog, they explain more about what orthotics are and the conditions they can treat.

What are orthotics?

Orthotics are inserts that go in your shoes, and they’re designed to alleviate foot pain, support your feet, and help compensate for foot issues, such as bunions and plantar fasciitis. 

Depending on their purpose, orthotics can be firm or soft, and they can be made from a range of materials. In order to determine which type may help you, your doctor will examine your feet, talk with you about your condition, history, and symptoms, and take X-rays if necessary. 

What conditions can orthotics treat?

Orthotics can treat a number of conditions, including the following:

Foot deformities 

If you have bunions or hammertoe, orthotics can help. Hammertoe develops because the muscles and ligaments in a toe get out of balance. This leads the toe to form a bend.

A bunion, which is a bony bump that develops at the base of the big toe, can develop due to genetics or pressure placed on the toe. Orthotics can support your feet and help keep the condition from worsening.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition in which the thick ligament band that connects your toes to your heel becomes inflamed. The condition can cause sharp, even burning pain in your heel or along the bottom of your foot. Orthotics can support your heel to help relieve the pain.

Foot abnormalities

Certain abnormalities can prevent your weight from being distributed evenly on the bottoms of your feet when you walk or run. For example, people with flat feet are likely to have overpronation, which is where the foot rolls inward too much. And people with high arches tend toward oversupination, which is where the foot rolls outward excessively.

These problems can affect how you walk, which can lead to other types of discomfort, such as back and hip pain. These conditions can also make you prone to injury. Custom orthotics can compensate for the problem so your gait isn’t impaired.

Chronic conditions

Certain conditions can affect the feet in many ways. For example, diabetes can cause neuropathy, in which you may lose feeling in your feet. This can lead to foot ulcers and infections.

Another example is rheumatoid arthritis. This condition can contribute to overpronation, oversupination, and stability problems, as well as bunions, corns, and calluses. Orthotics can provide cushioning and protection.

Bursitis

The bursa, which are sacs filled with fluid, are strategically located all over the body, and they help ease rubbing and friction between tissues, such as bone and muscle. If these sacs become inflamed, the condition is called bursitis. Orthotics can support the heel and arch to help relieve pain and pressure.

Foot injuries

As your foot or ankle heals from injury or surgery, orthotics can provide protection and support healing.

Corns and calluses

If areas on your feet are exposed to prolonged friction and rubbing, you might develop corns or calluses. Corns and calluses are thickened and hardened patches of skin. They can develop because of a foot abnormality or by wearing ill-fitting shoes. Orthotics can prevent corns and calluses from developing or prevent them from worsening if they’re present. 

What kinds of orthotics are there? 

At Premier Foot & Ankle, your doctor may recommend nonprescription orthotics that you can buy at the drugstore or prescribe custom orthotics. It will depend on your particular problem. Furthermore, your doctor may recommend orthotics as a standalone treatment or as a  complement to other treatments. 

If your doctor recommends custom orthotics, there are two kinds: functional orthotics and accommodative orthotics.

Functional orthotics correct mechanical problems, such as oversupination. They also provide cushioning and help prevent repetitive stress injuries. Accommodative orthotics help relieve pain and rectify ankle and foot issues. These orthotics are often used with pediatric podiatry when treating congenital problems or birth defects. 

If you have foot issues and want to see if orthotics can help you, book an appointment online or over the phone with Premier Foot & Ankle today.

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