Orthotics are a common treatment used to help people manage daily foot pain and other foot issues. However, you may be wondering why you need orthotics and exactly how they could benefit you. While visiting a podiatrist for a proper examination is crucial for a correct diagnosis, understanding the reasons for getting orthotics can help you make an informed decision.
The Purpose of Orthotics
Orthotics are custom-made inserts used to correct biomechanical foot issues that affect how you walk, run, and stand. They can also help patients with foot pain caused by diabetes, arthritis, bursitis, and plantar fasciitis. Their purpose is to correct abnormal function of the foot.
How Do Orthotics Differ From Normal Inserts?
Inserts and orthotics are very similar in that you wear them inside your shoes for extra support—however, inserts are not used to correct significant foot problems, nor do you need a prescription to buy them. Orthotics, on the other hand, are custom-made, prescription inserts used to treat serious foot problems.
Common Reasons You Might Need Orthotics
Patients get orthotics for many reasons, and understanding those reasons can help you determine if orthotics are right for you. Here are a few reasons one might need orthotics:
Foot pain. While foot pain may seem like an obvious reason to wear an orthotic device, there is a significant amount of people who suffer daily with unnecessary foot pain. Ill-fitting shoes play a large role in chronic foot pain, so it’s important to wear shoes that conform to the natural shape of your foot. Adding orthotic inserts to the soles of your shoes can reduce daily foot pain.
Heel pain. Though heel and foot pain both affect your feet, severe heel pain can actually be a sign of a condition known as plantar fasciitis. You will need custom-made orthotics to treat this condition.
Issues with your arch. If you have no natural arch in your foot, or a high arch, wearing regular shoes will not give your feet the support they need.
Issues with pronation. Our feet naturally turn, but sometimes patients’ feet have too much or too little turn to them, creating an issue with the alignment of their feet. To correct this, orthotics are used to correctly align the feet and reduce foot exhaustion and pain. To test for under- or over-pronation of your feet, wet your foot and then step on a blank piece of paper. There should be a natural c-curve in your footprint. A prominent c-curve suggests under-pronation and no curve suggests over-pronation.
Talk to Your Podiatrist
If you are one of many Americans suffering from chronic foot pain, it might be time to talk to your podiatrist about treatment options to help relieve you of foot pain. Foot Specialists of Birmingham is here to help you get back on your feet, pain free. Contact us today for an appointment.