Orthotics help to prevent and treat the effects of a variety of structural and functional conditions that affect the feet, which in turn provides pain relief. This is accomplished by supporting the structures of our feet and promoting healthy biomechanics when we move:
The term “biomechanics” refers to the way we move our muscles and joints. You can think of our body’s movement like a machine: it has many components (our muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments) that work together in a certain way – like a team – to help us move. Each component has a role to play, and the way one works affects the others. When one component of the machine doesn’t do its job, the other parts can’t function properly, which can then have an overall impact on the biomechanical “machine” that is our body.
Biomechanics play a crucial role in how we use our feet: Abnormal biomechanics cause an imbalance of muscles in our feet, which leads to a variety of foot conditions. Conversely, a variety of foot issues can lead to abnormal biomechanics. By correcting any biomechanical irregularities, it ensures we are using our muscles the way they were intended to be used when we walk, which in turn will reduce pain and help treat a variety of foot issues. This is where orthotics come into play:
Orthotics are designed to offset the effects of various foot issues and conditions: they support your body weight, encourage healthy biomechanical movement and redistribute pressure evenly along the bottom of the foot. This alleviates any excess strain your condition may have on your muscles and joints – it in essence functions like a replacement part in the machine, so that other parts of the machine can then function properly and not get damaged. Because they are created from plaster molds of your feet, they provide targeted support exactly where you need it.
The customizability of orthotics is also beneficial for structural issues and functional abnormalities in the feet, such as flat feet, high arches, bunions, hammer toes. These issues disrupt our gait and imbalance the joints and muscles in our feet. By reducing muscle imbalances, these foot deformities can be suppressed.
Custom orthotics are created from raw materials using a three-dimensional model of your actual feet. In other words, they are built from scratch just for you to meet your specific and unique needs.
With the exception of runner’s orthotics, which are made from a more pliable combination of leather and cork, most custom orthotics are constructed from rigid or semi-rigid high-density plastic or fibreglass, and their primary role is to correct improper alignment of the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments of your feet and ankles in order to prevent and relieve pain and discomfort resulting from musculoskeletal abnormalities, whether genetic, age-related, or the result of ill-fitting shoes or overuse.
Whereas custom orthotics are structured and corrective, over-the-counter insoles offer arch support based on a standard last and a neutral setting. They can be soft or firm and offer comfort and cushioning. If your feet have a visible deformity, excess width, or exhibit ongoing symptoms, a custom device may be a better selection for you.
Functional orthotics are made with the purpose of functionally changing your gait and stance to improve performance and slow progression of any foot deformity and muscle imbalances caused by biomechanical abnormalities.
Accommodative orthotics are made to accommodate any existing deformity or fat pad loss that cannot be corrected with a functional orthotic. Accommodative devices are made for persons with rigid joints and sometimes arthritis. They are generally softer and work to redistribute pressures that can lead to painful callus and corns or heel fissures.
Orthotics are custom made; all raw materials can be ordered to clinician specifications. They can also be made to take up a certain amount of space in your shoe – this is referred to as “volume”. A “high volume” orthotic takes up more space in the shoe than a “low volume” orthotic.
Below are some common orthotic types and where they would be useful:
Custom orthotics can be made for nearly every type of shoe including:
Click here for more information on how you can get your custom orthotics at Feet First Clinic. Book your assessment today with the booking form below or contact us at 416-769-FEET(3338) – no referral required.
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