What Are Orthotics?
Orthotics, also known as foot orthoses, are specialized inserts or insoles that slide into your shoes and support your feet as you walk. They come in many different sizes and styles, but all are intended to accommodate or correct a structural, biomechanical, or medical condition causing pain or difficulty with your feet or ankles.
- Functional orthotics are primarily designed to alter the alignment or motion of your feet, and can also be used to treat specific injuries like shin splints or tendinitis. They tend to be made of rigid or semi-rigid materials.
- Accommodative orthotics are primarily designed to add cushioning and support to the feet, re-distributing body weight without changing the biomechanics. They tend to be softer and are great for foot wounds, arthritis, or rigid deformities.
Children, athletes, adults, and seniors alike can all benefit from the correct orthotic device. If you find that your feet, ankles, or legs are constantly in pain or fatigue easily, there is an excellent chance that orthotics can make a major difference in your life.
Prefabricated orthotics are mass produced, non-prescription inserts. You’ve probably seen them in stores or on TV.
At Freeland Foot & Ankle Clinic, we use prefabricated orthotics to help manage and relieve many different painful foot conditions. Although you can take your chances and buy an insert off the rack yourself, we strongly encourage you book and appointment with us first and let us help you choose. The wrong orthotics won’t do your feet much good. We carry a selection of brands and styles we know and trust, and can make sure you get inserts that will actually help you.
Custom orthotics are prescription inserts that are specially made just for you. At your appointment, we’ll use a foam box and/or plaster slipper cast to get exact, precise measurements of your foot shape and structure. Of course, we’ll also conduct a full physical examination and any additional tests that may be necessary to diagnose whatever foot problems you’re experiencing.
The measurements and our additional notes are sent to the lab, where your brand new pair of custom orthotics are made from scratch. Because they are designed to fit you and only you, they should provide a much more exact fit.
Conditions that Can Be Treated with Orthotics
Many painful conditions of the feet, ankles, and even knees, hips, and spine can be caused by misalignment or inefficient biomechanics in the feet and ankles. Orthotics may be considered to help treat, prevent, or manage conditions such as:
- Heel pain
- Sports injuries
- Deformities such as bunions, hammertoes, flat feet, or high arches
- Diabetic wounds
- Gait abnormalities
- Pain in the knees, hips, or back
What Type of Orthotic Do I Need?
Non-prescription orthotics have the advantage of being cheaper to purchase, and for many minor foot aches and pains they are sufficient to manage your pain. Sometimes it may be wise to try a prefabricated orthotic first and see if your symptoms go away.
Custom orthotics, because of their extra precision, can provide a greater degree of pain relief and treatment for a wider range of conditions. They are more expensive, but they are also usually more effective, and can last much longer with proper care.
Every situation is different. After your examination, Dr. Dailey will go through the pros and cons and make his recommendation for what type of orthotics will suit your condition and lifestyle best. To schedule your appointment with Dr. Dailey at the Freeland Foot & Ankle Clinic, please give us a call at (989) 695-6788.