Foot and heel pain can have a huge impact on your quality of life. From the pain itself, to subsequent inbalances in your posture and gait that then lead to back aches, headaches, tension and more severe foot concern, it’s well worth getting foot pain treated as soon as it occurs.
But it can be hard to know the best way to start caring for this part of the body. It’s difficult in the course of daily life to stay off your feet entirely, and anyway exercise is generally required for healing most conditions. Long term use of pain killers isn’t recommended.
Orthotics could well provide the solution for becoming pain free. Used to treat foot pain of many types, prescription orthotics provide relief by redistributing weight and pressure.
At Foot Solutions, we are specialists in all things feet. Our friendly team of foot experts can assess your gait and foot health, and if needed create custom orthotics to alleviate foot pain and reduce foot problems. Here’s our guide to orthotics and the foot conditions they can help with.
What are orthotics?
Orthotics are shoe inserts designed to help soothe foot pain by alleviating pressure, redistributing weight, and helping foot alignment.
Custom orthotics are made specifically for your feet, after a careful assessment of your condition and thorough fitting process.
What can custom orthotics do?
Orthotics are shoe inserts that work like shock absorbers, removing pressure and stress from painful areas in the foot and ankle. They can also prevent foot deformity or keep it from getting worse, better position the foot inside the shoe and improve the overall way that the foot and lower leg move.
These effects are beneficial for many problematic foot conditions, from minor foot issues through to more severe foot pain. What is more, they can often help with other joint pain in other parts of your body – once you are moving in a properly aligned way, you’ll be amazed at the aches, pains, and minor problems that disappear.
By treating the body holistically, starting with proper care of the feet, you can recover your health and wellbeing.
Which conditions can benefit from custom orthotics?
Orthotics can help with a whole range of foot and heel pain problems.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. The condition can be greatly eased with the use of orthotics.
Heel spurs occur when the heel bone grows excessively. Heel pain is then likely, with potential for swelling and inflammation. Support in the right areas of your shoes can alleiviate pressure and reduce patients suffering.
Flat feet can cause pain throughout your feet, legs and back. Orthotics can support the feet to a better position, reducing the harmful effects of flat feet.
Having high arches puts increased pressure on the front and ball of the foot. This in turn can then lead to conditions such as plantar fasciitis and knee pain, as well as arch pain itself. Supporting the arches of your feet can prevent future injuries.
These often occur as a side effect of bunions on the big toe. They cause second-toe pain and deformities on the ball of the foot. Orthotics can provide additional support to the feet and reduce the likelihood that hammer toes will worsen.
Why are custom orthotics better than over the counter inserts?
There are some situations in which over the counter inserts will work well to reduce pain and heal your feet. For instance, gel insoles can provide cushioning to greatly reduce general foot pain, while arch supports can help correct flat feet.
However, most conditions affect a patient’s feet individually. No two feet are quite the same, and a foot specialist can treat more severe forms of foot problems with greater effectiveness by assessing the patient’s foot and creating high quality inserts specific to their condition and needs.
What is the process for creating orthotics?
When creating an orthotic, the aim is to address the individual foot structure of the patient. This means obtaining a unique fit is critical.
In most cases, an impression of the patient’s foot will be taken, either using a 3D scan or a plaster cast. The specific materials for the orthotic will then be carefully chosen, once again uniquely picked in order to address the patient’s condition. This could mean softer materials if there are painful calluses to consider; more rigid materials if the problem is one of abnormal motion or over pronation.
Once the orthotic is created, the patient will come in for further fittings and adjustments if necessary. Customisations will be made to make sure the orthotic fits the patient’s shoes.
Can orthotics treat all types of foot and heel pain?
Although orthotics are incredibly useful, if you are suffering with severe foot or heel pain we would always recommend that you see a doctor specialising in the foot and ankle areas. Orthotics and over the counter inserts cannot deal with serious biomechanical problems, and it’s always wise to seek specialist professional medical advice.
Orthotics will often be prescribed in conjunction with other treatments, in order to tackle a problem from several angles. For instance, it may be advisable to also change your footwear, as correctly fitting footwear can frequently make a huge difference to foot comfort.
Where can I get custom orthotics?
If you think your foot condition could be helped with prescription orthotics, book an appointment at Foot Solutions today. Our team of friendly foot experts will assess your feet, and establish whether orthotics or other treatment technologies could help you become pain free and get back on your feet.