Posts for category: Orthotics
Custom orthotics are removable shoe inserts that provide greater arch support and stability to the feet and ankles. There are different types of orthotics available depending on the issue and level of support that is needed. Basic orthotics are sold over the counter, but a custom pair designed specifically for your foot will provide optimal support and comfort.
When are Custom Orthotics Necessary?
Podiatrists typically recommend custom orthotics for people with flat feet, or very high arches. One of the most common signs that you may benefit from a pair of orthotics is heel pain (although you may also experience pain and swelling in other parts of the foot). You may also experience pain and swelling after normal and relatively low impact activities like standing or walking.
A good way to figure out if you are having pronation issues is to examine the soles of your shoes and sneakers. If the soles and insoles tend to become visibly more worn on one side, it may be a sign that your alignment is off and you are over or under pronating. A podiatrist may ask you to walk in your bare feet to observe your stride and gait (known as a gait analysis). If you experience persistent pain, swelling, or stiffness, especially after exercise or after long periods of rest, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist.
Types of Custom Orthotics
There are a few different types of custom orthotics designs available depending on your needs.
Functional (also known as rigid) orthotics are made of harder materials and are usually prescribed for pronation problems or joint issues like arthritis.
Accommodative orthotics are designed to provide more cushioning and support and are typically prescribed for problems like plantar fasciitis and bunions.
In addition to improving your gait and foot and ankle alignment, custom orthotics can help to prevent related strains and injuries and relieve back, joint, and knee pain if it is caused by issues with your arches and pronation.
LeBron James has been known to throw his shoes into the crowd after a game as souvenirs. At one game this gesture was followed by an announcement asking the person who caught them to come to the scorers’ table. Why? Because LeBron had forgotten to take his inserts out, and he wanted them back! Years ago few athletes wore orthotic inserts, but in recent years more and more players are finding that these supports help manage their foot pain and may even increase their performance.
Two types of orthotics for athletes are generally used: those that provide general cushioning and support and those that try to compensate for faulty mechanics in the foot. Over-the-counter inserts are often used for painful calluses or because the foot has lost some of its natural padding. They can be of foam, gel, or plastic, and they protect the feet from hard surfaces that can irritate the skin or bone structure.
The second type provides support for the heel and the arch, to help spread the weight more evenly over the whole foot. They help correct the pressure resulting from over-pronation, fallen arches, or tendon problems like plantar fasciitis. They can also help reduce the pain resulting from a faulty gait. This type is usually made of more rigid plastic or graphite. Some people try an over-the-counter orthotic, but it is best to use those that are custom designed for your particular foot and your specific problem.
Dr. Howard Schaengold specializes in sports medicine and can fit you with a custom orthotic that is best for your feet. If you participate in athletics and have noticed pain after activity, contact The Plateau Foot & Ankle Clinic for an evaluation. Our office in Sammamish, WA, serves the surrounding Bellevue, Issaquah, and Redmond communities as well. Call us at (425) 868-3338 today, and get yourself back in the game without pain!