Custom made foot orthotics.
Our feet are the foundation of our being. Surprisingly, most people ignore their feet until a problem arises. Only then do people start to appreciate their feet, and all that their feet do for them. Fortunately, there are many tools a Chiropodist can use to help with foot pain, one of these tools is orthotic therapy.
Orthotics can significantly improve the quality of one’s life.
What Are Orthotics?
Orthotics are inserts for your shoes designed to support your feet. Orthotics fall into two categories: over-the-counter and custom made.
Over-the-counter orthotics are generically made to a neutral foot type and can be purchased in a drug store. They vary in their ability to support your feet and may not address your specific needs.
Custom orthotics are made specifically for your feet. Custom measurements are taken, to ensure precise fitting of the size, width and contour of your feet.
Custom made Orthotics are a much more sophisticated version of over-the-counter orthotics.
Casting for custom orthotics can be taken in many ways. However, the College of Chiropodists of Ontario (our regulatory body) allows their regulated members to only cast for orthotics using a 3D laser scanner or by plaster casting. These two methods have been proven to have better outcomes for patients.
Custom made orthotics go far beyond what those drugstore inserts can do and provide relief from significant foot and leg pain, knee pain and back pain. In some cases, they can even help the wearer avoid surgery for conditions like flat feet.
What Conditions Can Orthotics Help With?
Orthotics can not only help with foot problems but also various other conditions. Let’s look at a few problems that orthotics can rectify.
Orthotics can help relieve pressure created by foot deformities and like high arches, flat feet, hammertoes, bunions, and heel spurs.
Since diabetics are at higher risk for foot complications, diabetic custom orthotics are a great way to help prevent problems from developing.
The feet and gait can be affected by neurological conditions like a stroke or Parkinson’s disease. Careful orthotic design can significantly help with these issues.
The feet can affect other parts of the body as well. For example, people commonly find relief from back pain by using orthotics when the problem lies within their feet.
Orthotics can also help with complications from certain diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and diabetes. They may also be used temporarily while healing from a foot or ankle injury.
Types of Orthotics
Orthotics come in a range of types and sizes. Some people require a full-shoe insert, whereas others may only need a small heel insert. Orthotics can also be longer, encompassing both the foot and the calf. This is called an AFO or an Ankle-Foot Orthosis.
Orthotics can be either rigid — made from plastic or carbon fibre — or accommodative — made from soft compression materials.
Rigid orthotics are typically used to correct structural problems with the foot. In other words, when your foot doesn’t function the way that it should.
Soft orthotics are used to provide cushioning and relieve pressure from foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
So many types of material exist to design orthotics with. Let your chiropodist help you chose what is best for your specific needs.
Are Orthotics Worth it?
Absolutely! Just ask a fellow orthotics wearer who can again do what they love because of their orthotics.
Chiropodists are the only health care professionals regulated in the area of Orthotics. What this means for you is that you can rest assured that we are required to give you the best care.
Orthotics are prescription medical devices, that may be covered by your insurance.
Can Orthotics Help with My Condition?
There are a number of conditions that orthotics can assist you with. For example, if you have any structural deformities, orthotics may relieve some of your symptoms. This can include:
- Flat feet
- Heel spurs
- High arches
There are some people that feel orthotics help with other conditions too. For instance, relief may be felt from back pain, arthritis and diabetes. Even if you are suffering from a foot or ankle injury, orthotics can be helpful for better mobility and relieving discomfort.
Will Orthotics Really Help?
There are some foot inserts that you can buy cheaply in your local drugstore. However, the inserts are generic for everyone. This means that they might not work for you. Instead, orthotics are custom-made just for you. This does mean they are more expensive, but some insurance policies will cover them.
Indeed, some people love orthotics and feel the relief they provide very quickly. However, some people are not fans of orthotics. We find that it is often down to the individual patient. For example, a lot of people will only use them a few times and then complain they feel no benefit. Alternatively, the foot specialist has not prescribed the correct orthotics in the first place.
We recommend trying orthotics out for yourself. Choose a professional and experienced foot specialist to help you and ensure you follow their advice