For those with chronic foot pain, it can be downright impossible to achieve pain management on a substantial level. But if you wear custom orthotics with your shoes, long-lasting comfort may be just around the corner.
Custom orthotic insoles are among the most popular medical devices chiropodists offer their patients. Per Harvard Health , foot specialists prescribe orthotic inserts when the “muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, or bones are not in an optimal functional position and are causing pain, discomfort, and fatigue.” The key word here is “custom,” meaning these insoles are specifically designed for your unique needs and tailor-made to target each individual’s chronic pain. They are not the same as insoles you can buy over the counter, which appeal to the masses.
But it’s not enough to simply take our word for it. Understanding the science behind custom orthotics and how they aid so many different foot issues is important. In today’s blog, we’ll explore three main topics:
- How custom orthotics treat chronic foot pain
- What conditions can you treat with custom orthotics?
- How to acquire custom orthotics
How Custom Orthotics Treat Chronic Foot Pain
Orthotics have one main job: to correct the foot’s walking and standing position.
Those with a painful foot condition, or those predisposed to developing one due to flat feet or high arches, often adapt slightly unusual walking patterns to compensate for their less-than-ideal foot structure. The two main ways we do this include:
- Overpronation (flat feet): When the foot and ankle roll slightly inward and downward with every step. In this case, orthotics adjust your foot’s position by offering sufficient arch support.
- Underpronation/Supination (high arches): When the foot’s heel leans outward, putting excess weight on the outer edge of the foot. Orthotics can correct this by stabilizing the foot’s steps.
Orthotics also help with chronic foot pain caused by joint and muscle conditions like arthritis and pain caused by severe foot deformities, such as bunions and hammertoes.
They do this by placing the foot in a position that reduces excess force and pressure on the foot’s mot vulnerable and painful areas during movement. Not only does this relieve strain, but proper alignment of the feet can also help avoid future back, knee and hip pain.
What Foot Conditions Can You Treat With Custom Orthotics?
Custom insoles can help treat a wide array of common foot issues. Some of these:
- Plantar fasciitis: Orthotics support the foot’s arch and provide extra cushioning and shock absorption for the heel.
- Osteoarthritis: Orthotics immobilize, support, or correct the joints’ movements while stabilizing walking.
- Bunions: Orthotics help reduce excessive pressure on the big toe joint.
- Morton’s neuroma: Orthotics prevent the rolling together of bones in the metatarsal arch (the arch responsible for distributing weight, located just behind the ball of the foot).
- Metatarsalgia: Semirigid orthotics reduce pressure in painful areas and support the feet.
- Achille’s Tendonitis: Orthotics reduce the load and strain on the Achille’s tendon while supporting the foot as the tissue heals.
- Gout: Supportive orthotics with sufficient cushioning can help with gout attacks by reducing joint pressure.
- Hammertoes: Orthotics counteract the muscle-tendon imbalance that causes hammertoes. They also align the bones in the foot and provide cushioning in crucial areas.
How to Acquire Custom Orthotics
The best way to secure the perfect pair of custom insoles is to schedule the appropriate appointments with your chiropodist.
They start with a thorough biomechanical assessment that includes a test of your range of motion and weight-bearing tendencies, as well as a gait analysis.
Following this, your chiropodist will use one of several casting techniques to make custom orthotics by capturing your foot in the ideal position. And lastly, you can schedule an appointment for a fitting when your orthotics arrive to ensure they’re working properly.
Check out our main orthotics page to read more about securing custom orthotics. You can also learn more about the benefits of custom orthotics and the several different kinds by viewing our comprehensive guide to orthotics.