Foot orthotics are shoe inserts that help ease foot pain caused by foot imbalances. They are typically made from soft compression materials designed to absorb shock, increase balance, and relieve pressure on uncomfortable or sore spots. A podiatrist or doctor specializing in foot care is typically the person to recommend this type of shoe insert. Here’s how they can help you:
Reduces Pain in the Heel
As the major weight-bearing structure of your body, your feet need extra support. Unlike the heel pads or shoe inserts you can buy at your local sports store, a podiatrist customizes orthotics for you and your foot and ankle.
They work in several ways to ease pain and prevent injuries, including helping your muscles do more work and releasing pressure from key spots on your feet. They can help you return to the activities you love without discomfort or injury when used properly.
Heel pain, often characterized by stabbing pain when you take your first steps in the morning, is typically caused by over-flattening of the feet or excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. An orthotic that conforms very closely to the foot arch decreases this tension and keeps the foot from becoming flat or longer, thereby reducing the pain in the heel. In addition, foot orthotics Ottawa are often designed to reduce the stress placed on the Achilles tendon, another key heel component that can lead to pain and injury.
Reduces Stress on the Foot and Ankle
Foot orthotics help ease pain by reducing stress on the feet, ankles, and lower legs. This allows your body to function properly, improving your alignment and balance. These devices also help cushion and take pressure off sore or uncomfortable areas, such as bunions or arthritic joints. Soft orthotics are made from materials like foam, leather, and plastics. Rigid orthotics are made from a firm material such as carbon fiber or plastic. These devices control motion and function in two major foot joints directly below the ankle. They support the arch of your feet and even out pressure, preventing imbalances in the feet that can cause pain in the knees, hips, and back. They also help to relieve pain and improve posture.
Relieves Pressure on the Arches
If you suffer from flat feet, a podiatrist may recommend that you wear orthotics to correct the biomechanical problems with walking and standing. They’ll start by asking about your symptoms and doing a physical exam. They may also suggest other treatments, such as better shoes, exercise, and weight loss to ease your pain. Over-the-counter shoe inserts, such as gel insoles, can relieve pain by adding cushioning to your shoes. However, these don’t provide arch support or address the underlying problem. Getting custom orthotics designed for your feet will correct the core structural imbalances that cause your pain and make you feel more comfortable and balanced when walking or running. Your orthotics will likely feel uncomfortable at first. This is because they’re helping to support the arches and redistribute pressure from areas with too much of it.
Many over-the-counter shoe inserts – such as arch supports and gel insoles – can relieve foot and heel pain by providing extra cushioning inside your shoes. These products do not require a doctor’s prescription. They are usually made from flexible materials, like foam or gel, to fit into any shoe. A podiatrist will only recommend orthotics if other treatments, such as better footwear and physical therapy exercises aimed at strengthening your feet and ankles, aren’t helping to alleviate your symptoms. They may also use diagnostic tools, such as pads, to see how your feet strike the ground when you walk. Other traditional imaging methods, such as X-rays or bone scans, assess the severity of your foot conditions.