Much like tires on a car give a vehicle a foundation of support for stability and performance, our feet function to do the same for us. When tires get old and worn, and don't offer the same support and stability that they once did, we simply replace them. Unfortunately we cannot replace our feet! Our only option is to give them the correct mechanical support so that they can continue to function as they were intended to. Custom orthotic therapy allows one to correct faulty foot mechanics by normalizing motion and offering shock absorption. Orthotics are mechanical aids that fit into your shoes as comfortably as an insole - and they have the advantage of having been custom made from precise imprints of your feet.
Some individuals may experience symptoms of faulty foot mechanics which may include but are not limited to: localized foot pain, bunions or hammer toes, arch or heel pain, leg, ankle, hip, and knee pain, and back pain. Others may not have obvious symptoms of faulty foot mechanics but may still benefit from orthotic therapy to prevent long-term problems. This may include individuals who spend a good portion of the day standing or walking on hard surfaces, individuals with a family history of foot related problems, and individuals who participate in sports such as tennis, golf, basketball, volleyball, or running on a regular basis. Faulty foot mechanics arise for different reasons ranging from genetic predisposition, to the normal aging process where ligaments, muscles and joints fail to support our bodies like they once did.
Custom-made orthotics can relieve many different types of pain arising from faulty foot mechanics, including:
- Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are the most common causes of heel pain. These problems usually occur in foot pronation (feet that roll inward). Pronation forces the heel to strike the ground abnormally, and places abnormal stresses on the heel and plantar fascia that causes pain which will become progressively worse. The custom made orthotic is constructed to allow the heel to strike the ground in the correct manner by eliminating pronation, cushioning the heel, and supporting the arch.
- The usual causes of arch pain are flat feet, prolonged standing, walking and running, and the normal aging process. Custom-made orthotics gently support the arch, causing pain to disappear, and ensuring that the arch will drop no further and that the effects of aging on the feet are slowed.
Pain caused by running, walking, and other athletics
- It is no coincidence that many professional athletes use custom-made orthotics. Custom-made orthotics keep the feet in their most efficient alignment, allowing the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments to work optimally. They also protect the heel, arch, and forefoot from the increased stress that prolonged running and sports activity produce. Whether it is to prevent problems, relieve pain, or increase efficiency, all runners and other athletes benefit from custom-made orthotics.
Pain related to Diabetes
- Due to a thinning of the protective fatty pad on the bottom of the foot, circulatory problems, and loss of sensation or decreased feeling (neuropathy), diabetics encounter more severe foot problems than non-diabetics. Pressure sores, chronic painful areas, and ulcers are best treated with supportive custom-made orthotics featuring modern materials that can eliminate pain, protect painful areas, and decrease the chance of ulcerations occurring.
Pain experienced by senior citizens
- The aging process affects the feet and ankles just as it affects every other part of the body. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments become loose and weaker; bones lose calcium reducing their strength; and the fatty pads on the bottoms of our feet, which protect and cushion the bones, become thinner and can nearly disappear. Custom-made orthotics will gently support the bones of the feet. There are special materials used in the construction of custom orthotics that can mimic the foot's natural fatty pad and eliminate the pain of protruding bones and bone spurs. Custom-made orthotics can also keep the foot from turning and twisting while walking, making each step secure and pain-free resulting in less falls.
Ankle, Leg, Knee, Hip, and Low Back Pain
- If your feet are not giving your body a balanced and efficient base of support, mechanical stress will be transferred to joints away from the feet resulting in painful conditions such as Achilles tendonosis, shin splints, knee pain, hip pain, and low back pain.
The feet are an individual's contact points with the ground, so how they support the rest of the body is critical. Our feet have nearly 100 individual working parts, which all have to function together to provide proper stability and balance. While simple, commercially made devices such as heel cushions, or shock absorbing insoles for shoes can be purchased over-the-counter in drug stores or other retail establishments, they are made for the general public and may not be addressing the specific needs of your feet. The most effective orthotics are custom-designed devices specifically crafted to meet the needs of the particular individual. Mechanical dysfunction in our feet has the ability to put undue stress on other parts of the body, predisposing us to wear and tear and injury. Prevention and correction is key!