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What are Orthotics and Why Would I Need Them?

If you’ve been living with chronic foot or heel pain, you may have heard that custom orthotics could offer pain relief.  But what are orthotics? And how are they different from over-the-counter shoe inserts?

Well, for our patients, they’re often the solution to chronic pain. That was the case for Cheryl L, who recently shared: “Dr. Fiala gave me a good explanation of what caused stab-like pain in my foot. He provided an upgrade to the cushion of my orthotics.”

Now, our patients are the proof that orthotics can help you manage your foot pain. But we want you to understand how and why they work. So keep reading to get a better understanding of the ways an orthotic device can support your feet to eliminate discomfort.

What is an Orthotic?

Unlike a shoe insert or a Dr Scholls scanned device, an orthotic is a prescription medical device.  When prescribed by our podiatrists, we mold this device to the exact shape of your foot and design your orthotic to fit inside your shoes. Once completed, the devices correct your unique biomechanical issues (from high arches to flat feet, they are designed to help!) so that you can walk more comfortably.

Basically, orthotics restore your balance and improve your gait. That way, you can take pressure off your feet, which could help prevent diabetic foot complications, as well as other chronic foot problems.

 How Can Orthotics Help Your Feet? custom orthotics can help prevent bunions

Orthotics provide foot pain relief in three important ways:

1.      Balancing out your body, from head to toe

While you may think of orthotics as medical devices for the feet, they actually support your entire body. After all, your feet are the basis for every step you take. So, when they’re better supported, your entire body moves in alignment. And that means wearing your orthotics may eliminate knee or back pain, as well.

Once you slip orthotics into your shoes, you’ll move with a more natural gait. And that means you’ll perform better with athletics. It could also improve your runs. Or simply allow you to walk through your day without worrying about pain or pressure on your feet.

2.      Injury Prevention

We so many overuse injuries that develop because your body is out of balance. When that happens, some areas of your body take more pressure than others, and that’s when trouble happens. But when you add orthotics to the mix, everything changes.

Suddenly, your body is more stable. That means your weight distributes evenly across both feet and legs. And, as a result, one foot bone or muscle is less likely to shoulder an unfair burden of body weight. So you’re also less likely to develop an overuse injury such as shin splints or plantar fasciitis.

3.      A More Supportive Alternative to OTC Shoe Inserts

If you walk through a drugstore, you’ll see many different types of shoe inserts. They’re cushioned, cheap and widely available. So why would you spring for a more expensive medical device? Well, here’s the deal: while OTC inserts can offer a bit more cushioning, that’s where their effectiveness ends.

Yes, they’ll offer a bit of support to your feet. But they wear out quickly. And they certainly can’t correct biomechanical concerns, or prevent foot injuries. Instead, they may give you a false sense of security, leaving you thinking you’re protected from injuries. In the long run, though, they can’t protect you. And your foot pain will stick around or return quickly.

Want lasting relief from foot pain? Or are you ready to train more effectively, without fear of injury? We’re here to help. Reach out to our office for an immediate appointment. We’ll get you scheduled for a custom orthotic consultation and see if this medical device is right for you!