Who needs orthotics?
Orthotics benefit people with foot pain or discomfort due to imbalance. Some imbalances are obvious, such as flat feet, excessive pronation, bow legs, knock knees, pigeon-toes, “duck feet” or high-arched feet. However, many foot deformities are subtle, and are not detected until symptoms occur.
People who must walk or stand excessively at their work will also benefit from the comfort of orthotics.
For those who are active in sports, orthotics will often increase endurance, performance and strength.
For overweight individuals, orthotics will help to counteract the extra stress on the feet. Small problems are often magnified due to the increased weight.
Orthotics will benefit people with special needs, such as diabetics or the elderly. These individuals need accommodation or increased softness in the orthotic. Orthotics can work in a preventative manner to avoid the development of future foot problems, such as skin ulcerations.
What specific conditions may be helped?
If you have arch pain, heel pain, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, shin splints, calluses, corns, bunions, or hammer toes, cramping, aching or tired legs, you can achieve an improvement. Certain types of leg, lower back and neck pain can be alleviated. The support that is provided helps control excessive pronation and helps with mid-foot, heel, ankle, knee, hip, and lower back pain. If you have a neuroma, geriatric, or diabetic foot problem, orthotics can provide you with needed protection and comfort.
Imbalance in your feet can distort the skeletal architecture of your body. While foot orthotics will not make a marked improvement in posture, they may eliminate posture problems or pain caused by your feet.
Why do I need orthotics?
Although the human body is an amazing structure, it does have some design problems. It is intended to support and balance a large, tall and often heavy structure, on two very small surfaces. The force through a foot during normal walking is enormous. This force is increased greatly during sports activities. Imbalances of the bones of the feet can result in abnormal foot motion. This can impair foot function which can result in abnormal rotation of the legs, and sometimes affect the knees, hips or back. If we combine these tremendous forces with the need for precise balance, we can see how small structural changes in the foot can make significant differences. Orthotics help to improve those structural changes.
Orthotics are particularly effective in relieving the fatigue and discomfort associated with “aging” feet. Years of walking and standing often cause the development of arthritis within the foot.
Won’t a store-bought arch support work as well?
Arch supports merely push against the arch when you are standing, and are not designed with the dynamic needs of your foot in mind. Although a $15.00 arch support can be of some help, they are very limited, and are manufactured in bulk to fit an “average foot” (whatever that is).
Just like eyeglasses must be designed to meet the specific needs of your eyes, orthotics must be designed to treat the unique requirements of your feet.
If I use orthotics, will I become dependent on them?
No. Orthotics simply allow the muscles, tendons and bones of the feet and lower legs to function at their highest potential.
How are orthotics made?
Your individual foot structure is captured in foot mold or impression. The orthotics are then fabricated, using these measurements, by a state-of-the-art computerized equipment, based upon your requirements. They are made from a variety of materials, depending upon your specific condition, activities, occupation, physical stature and the types of shoes in which you will be wearing them.
What are the special needs of people who engage in sports?
Sports activities result in unusually high amounts of movement and pressure on the foot. Slight imbalances in the foot not dangerous or detectable under everyday circumstances may render you vulnerable to injury with the extra stress of sports activity. By eliminating the need for your muscles to compensate for these “hidden” imbalances, orthotics reduce fatigue and promote the kind of efficient “muscle memory” that’s crucial to outstanding performance. Orthotics help absorb these pressures, and can reduce abnormal rotation and side-to-side movement. Walkers, runners, rollerbladers/skaters, tennis players, cyclists, skiers, baseball players, soccer players, or anyone who engages in sports will benefit.
It is important to note that by aiding foot control or movement, orthotics not only improve the function of the feet, but also of the legs and torso as well. Often the difference is noted immediately.