Orthotics, otherwise known as insoles, footbeds or inserts, are commonly used to help us when we experience discomfort on our feet. Feet come in all shapes and sizes, so there are bound to be a few that don’t agree with something as inflexible as the ground. Almost anyone can reap the benefits of an orthopedic insert or shoe. Although, they may be more useful to some than others. The following are some common signs you should look out for that can let you know when it’s time for you to try out orthotics for your feet.
What are orthotics?
Custom orthotics are inserts that you can put in your shoes. These are made from a mold or imprint of your own feel and they are designed to help your feet move in the correct way. They can aid in providing the proper arch support and help distribute pressure evenly along the bottom of your feet while you walk, run or play. Orthotics can also help to keep all of the joints in your feet and legs aligned properly.
A pair of properly fitted orthotics is able to position the feet in a neutral and stable position. Correct foot position creates stability and reduces any pain in your feet, as well as solves other related issues.
- You experience foot pain.
This can be an obvious sign. But if you feel pain in your feet, knee, or even the lower back or hips, then you might want to look into custom orthotics which can help you get rid of it. This is because if our feet are not healthy or in pain, it usually causes a ripple effect upwards to the rest of our body and our spine. Individuals with musculoskeletal conditions such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, rheumatoid arthritis or achilles tendonitis often find that custom orthotics help to manage their pain.
If you do experience pain in these ways, the first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with your chiropractor who can help you with discussing treatment plans and options.
- You stand up for more than five hours each day.
When you stand up for a majority of your day this can cause a condition called plantar fasciitis, and it affects a ligament called the plantar fascia which extends from your heel to your toes on the bottom of your foot. Orthotics can help relieve tension in this ligament, and the stress from standing on your feet all day.
- Check to see if your shoes are worn out and where.
While it’s normal for our shoes to go through a lot of wear and tear and our soles to flatten out, checking to see where the tread of the shoes has worn down can give you a look into your foot health. If you see that the tread is worn down more on one side, this is a sign that your foot is rolling inwards (pronating) or turning outwards (supinating). Orthotics can help you with pronation or supination by preventing it.
- You have an abnormal gait when you walk.
Orthotics can help correct your gait when you are walking or running because they are able to fix pelvic asymmetry.
- You have no arch or a high arch in your foot.
Having very high or very low arches in your feet can cause issues as well. Regular shoes might not be able to provide your feet with the proper support. By using orthotics you can get the support you need in a way that regular shoes can’t provide.
- You suffered an injury on a lower limb.
If you recently had an injury to your knee, hips, leg or ankle, this could be affecting the pressure on your feet. This can affect the way you walk as a result. Orthotics can help to correct your walk.
- You are a diabetic individual who is experiencing complications.
Individuals with diabetes can help manage their foot health with orthotics because they are able to distribute pressure evenly along the foot.
Should you wear orthotics all the time?
Just like a pair of glasses, orthotics can help you when you are wearing them. You should consider your own lifestyle to determine the answer to this question. You might encounter situations where it’s not feasible or preferable to wear your orthotics. For example, if you are having a beach day you might choose to leave your insoles at home in favour of flip flops.
If you are ever wondering whether or not to use your custom orthotics you simply need to ask yourself whether or not you are in pain, or think you will be in pain. If so, then it’s best to use them.
Do I need custom orthotics or do the over-the-counter orthotics work?
Physicians recommend you to try out OTC orthotics before you take the plunge and invest in custom orthotics. You might find that they work for you and your needs. Ordering customer orthotics can be time intensive, some individuals wait weeks to have them made and in addition they can be quite costly. These days, your insurance company most likely won’t cover the costs. Paying for orthotics can cost around $400 depending on the market.
While it doesn’t hurt to look around and try OTC orthotics, a podiatrist or physical therapist consultation can help you in a larger treatment scheme for your foot health. Orthotics should not be considered the end-all be-all of treatments, but they should be looked at like a prop to aid treatment. Working with a PT for mobility, balance and strength will help you create longer term solutions to address your foot problems.
Karthik Talwar is a content writer for BreezeMaxWeb that helps businesses showcase their brand through enticing copy. When he is not working, he enjoys exploring new places and trying new foods.