Custom orthotics are special shoe inserts designed to help treat many types of foot problems. They work by relieving pressure on the foot and, or realigning your feet, and they can also help decrease pain in your lower back, knees, ankles and feet. Custom orthotics are often just one part of a treatment plan for many common foot issues.
If you are experiencing foot pain, our chiropractor and physiotherapists at True Life Wellness and Physiotherapy can help. We can assess, diagnose and treat your pain effectively. If you require custom-made orthotic inserts for everyday wear, they will be part of your overall individualized treatment plan.
What factors can affect the success of custom orthotics?
You might have heard someone tell you that custom orthotics are a waste of money. However, this misconception is often caused by using a pair of custom orthotics that are no longer effective in managing pain. If your orthotics are not helping to manage the pain, here are a few possible reasons why:
- The custom orthotics are more than 1-1.5 years old
- The shoes you are trying to wear the custom-made orthotics in are not correct (not deep enough to accommodate the custom-made orthotics)
- Your feet have changed
- Your foot condition has exacerbated
Also, it’s important to remember that while you can treat many foot problems with custom orthotics, they are not a one-fit solution for everyone. Therefore, it’s best to get your foot pain assessed by a medical professional.
Are custom orthotics recommended for diabetic patients?
Diabetes and foot problems, unfortunately, go hand-in-hand. People with diabetes are often prone to diabetic foot ulcers and other slow-healing wounds on their feet caused by pressure or friction from incorrectly fitted shoes. Diabetes can also cause nerve damage and affect blood circulation, affecting the patient’s ability to feel pain in their feet and making it difficult for minor cuts or wounds to heal in a timely manner.
Foot care for people with diabetes starts with prevention, which is why custom orthotics are incredibly beneficial. They can redistribute pressure throughout the foot to avoid excessive pressure or friction, preventing the risk of pressure sores or minor friction wounds such as blisters.
How can I identify if I need custom orthotics?
Most adults, teenagers, and young children can benefit from orthotics. Here are four common signs you may need custom orthotics:
- The soles of your shoes have worn out unevenly
- You have flat feet or a high arch in your foot which is aggravating your knee or possible back pain
- You stand for prolonged periods during the day
- You are experiencing significant pain in your foot or heel with activity (standing, playing sports, getting up first thing in the morning, etc.)
Remember: Any type of foot pain is not okay. However, there are numerous reasons why your feet could be hurting. Therefore, it’s important to speak with a trained healthcare professional to help determine the cause of your pain and whether custom orthotics can help.
Here are some possible reasons why your chiropractor or physiotherapist may recommend orthotics:
- If you need to improve your ankle or foot function
- If your ankles need extra support
- If you need to correct a foot deformity
- If you recently injured your foot or leg and need to prevent further injury
How should I wear custom orthotics?
When you first begin wearing orthotics, you will want to introduce them gradually to avoid any unnecessary discomfort, such as foot pain or blisters. It’s best to wear them in your regular shoes that you wear daily. Also, make sure that the pair of shoes you choose to wear your orthotics in are still in good shape. Otherwise, you will have to buy a new pair of shoes prior to starting to wear the custom orthotics. Start by wearing them for one hour on the first day, two hours on the second day, and on day three, wear them for three hours, and so on. Continue to increase wearing the custom orthotics by one hour each day until you can consistently wear them for eight hours.
It can take up to a month before you can wear them all day comfortably. If you still feel discomfort after the break-in period, you may need to have your orthotics adjusted.
Note: You should only use one pair of shoes while you adjust to your orthotics. Also, make sure you wear socks or stockings to avoid any skin irritation.
What are the different types of custom orthotics?
Also known as “accommodative” orthotics, these are designed to provide extra cushioning to any sore areas on the bottom of your feet while standing. These orthotics are made using soft, compressible materials for cushioned support. Soft orthotics are ideal for individuals requiring more cushioning than support (diabetic individuals or elderly individuals with osteoarthritis.)
Most commonly used when someone has flat feet, these orthotics provide cushioning and stability. They are also great for children with in-or-out-toeing disorders and help athletes reduce pain while training and competing. Also, this type of orthotic helps to manage a common foot condition known as plantar fasciitis.
The semi-rigid orthotics, also known as “functional” orthotics, are made using more rigid materials, such as plastic or carbon fibre. They are designed for use in walking shoes to provide more stability and prevent painful movements. They can help with leg and thigh pain, foot strains and lower back pain.
Ankle-foot orthosis (AFOs)
AFOs are a type of orthotic that begins below the knee, extends past the ankle and ends under the foot. These braces are designed to support and strengthen a weak or deformed ankle.
Does plantar fasciitis have a cure?
One of the most common causes of heel/foot pain is plantar fasciitis. When the plantar fascia tissue that runs from your heel to your toes is overstretched, it can lead to microscopic tears that result in pain and inflammation.
When plantar fasciitis goes untreated, it can lead to complications such as chronic heel/foot pain, which can result in secondary knee, hip and even back pain. While the pain can subside, it never resolves completely. The condition becomes chronic in nature, rendering its ugly head intermittently. Using custom orthotics as part of your treatment care plan relieves stress on the bottom of your feet by distributing the pressure placed on your heel/foot and therefore treating your plantar fasciitis.
Give us a call today to see how our chiropractor and physiotherapists can help your feet feel better by booking a consultation.
Call and schedule your initial consultation with the friendly staff members at True Life Physiotherapy & Wellness, today.