Your feet are basically the literal and physical foundation of your entire body.
If you’re suffering from pain in your feet, legs, or even your back, you’ll most likely want to find out what’s causing that pain and how you can relieve it. Although mild levels of pain in these areas can sometimes disappear on their own over time, severe pain can often become chronic if ignored. Thankfully, orthotics might just be the answer to your pain.
Orthotics are medical devices placed inside your footwear to improve quality of life by reducing pain and increasing functionality. Often referred to as orthotic insoles, inserts, or devices, these foot orthoses are used to help promote correct alignment by offloading, correcting, or supporting your feet, whether you’re using them to stand, walk, or run. They can be used to successfully treat foot pain, as well as pain in the heels, ankles, legs, knees, hips, and back by altering the biomechanics of your feet
Prescription orthotics are designed with computer-aided milling or 3D printing after a laser scan has been taken off your feet, and are manufactured using high-quality materials so they can last for many years. Because each corrective innersole has been designed and customized specifically for each individual in order to treat their particular problems, no two people are able to use the same orthotic.
Orthotics can be used to treat a wide variety of painful conditions in the back, knees, ankles, heels, arches, or even your toes. The design and features of your orthotic device will provide the most suitable treatment, depending on which ailments you have. For example, foot orthotics may be suggested by your podiatrists if you’ve been suffering from high levels of pain in the lower limbs and feet, or your foot pain has been getting consistently worse over a period of time.
Orthotics are also not usually a standalone treatment, as podiatrists will also recommend doing certain exercises and wearing different footwear, as well as prescribing medication sometimes as well. And while custom orthotics are commonly prescribed to alleviate or prevent pain, they are also used to help improve the general functionality of your feet, such as your balance, your posture, or how you walk.
Accommodative or soft orthotics: These orthotics are manufactured using soft materials that provide your feet with support from extra cushioning for the treatment of painful or uncomfortable medical conditions. They can be used for correct support when there are calluses or diabetic ulcers on the soles of the foot, and the primary goal is to provide relief from foot pain and fatigue.
Functional or rigid orthotics: Manufactured using semi-rigid materials like graphite or plastic, these orthoses are used when pain is being created by abnormal foot motion which can lead to further pain or injuries. These orthotics have built-in supports that are designed specifically to prevent arch collapse or limit excess movement of the ankles.
When orthotics are used correctly as prescribed by podiatrists, many patients report positive improvements and decreased levels of pain in their feet. For some people, orthotics also improved their overall posture which allowed them to participate in more physical activities without feeling any pain. Plus with fewer aches and pains in their back and hips, improved foot posture also helps with bone and spinal structure. There has also been a number of clinical research and studies that have shown that foot orthotics that have been prescribed by a podiatrist can decrease pain and improve foot function.
Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, Yahoo! News and Influencive. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.