Orthotics are custom-made shoe inserts, developed from an electronic scanning or a plaster cast of the foot, which is form-fitted to the foot
An orthotic is designed to guide the mechanics of the foot to a precise degree which help the muscles and tendons to perform more efficiently.
There are different types of orthotics designed for different activities, various shoe gear and various foot ailments. People wearing orthotics may experience relief from previous pain and symptoms, and prevent recurrence of foot, leg and other skeletal pains and conditions.
Orthotics fall into three broad categories: rigid, soft and semi-rigid.
- Rigid orthotics are designed to control function. They may be made of a firm material, such as plastic or graphite.
- Soft orthotics help absorb shock and take pressure off uncomfortable or sore spots
- Semi-rigid orthotics provide dynamic balance of the foot while walking or participating in sports
Almost anyone can benefit from orthotics. Orthotics can alleviate many common foot problems that cause pain and discomfort in otherwise healthy people. Orthotics can help in situations of:
- Abnormal shoe wear (one side of the sole of the shoe wears out faster than the other)
- Flat feet
- High-arched foot structure
- Heel pain
- Callus formation
- Chronic heel (plantar fasciitis), knee, or low back pain
- Frequent ankle sprains
- Gait abnormalities (feet point inward or excessively outward during walking)
- Shin pain (shin splints)
When to see a Podiatrist
A Podiatrist can assess your feet in order to decrease the chance of potential future problems. Since orthotics can work in a preventative fashion to avoid potential foot problems, they may be indicated in some cases even though you are not experiencing pain.
An orthotic provides the support, stability, cushioning, and alignment necessary to keep the feet, ankles, and lower body comfortable, healthy, and pain-free. The most effective orthotics are custom-made devices that are crafted to meet the specific needs of a particular individual.
Podiatrists have an important role to play in preventing and managing foot problems. Prompt action is important. Problems which are left without assessment or treatment may result in major health risks.