Could You Benefit from Custom Orthotics?
Foot pain is not an uncommon problem. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, nearly 75% of the American population experiences foot pain. Sometimes, this pain is chronic and limiting. Foot pain can make it difficult to walk, work, exercise, and truly enjoy life to the fullest extent. Despite this, and despite survey respondents stating that they would be more active if their foot pain were relieved, many people do not seek treatment for their podiatric symptoms. Perhaps they don’t seek help because they aren’t sure what can be done besides anti-inflammatory drugs or rest. From our experience, many of the most common reasons for foot pain can be managed with custom orthotics. We’ll discuss those here.
What Are Custom Orthotics?
You’ve no doubt seen shoe inserts at your local retailer or sporting goods store. These insoles are made to increase comfort and better support the foot. For the average person, a store-bought insert may be suitable. This doesn’t apply to everyone. For people with chronic foot pain, a custom orthotic may be ideal. This process involves a thorough examination and fitting that includes numerous measurements and observation of gate (walking posture). Measurements guide the fabrication of orthotic inserts that perfectly match one’s feet.
Being designed for specific measurements, custom orthotics are commonly made to address particular conditions. These include:
Bunions develop when the big toe leans inward toward the second toe. This curve exerts pressure on the lower toe joint, eventually leading to its displacement. Bunions can cause deformity around the lower toe joint that results in a visible and painful bump on the outside of the foot. Severe bunions can force the big toe over adjacent toes.
Along the bottom of the foot, we have a strong band of tissue called the plantar fascia. This band starts at the heel and extends toward the toes. The plantar fascia can get inflamed, leading to chronic pain that often localizes in the heel area on the bottom of the foot. Plantar fasciitis can be extremely painful and difficult to correct without proper podiatric care.
In addition to joints, muscles, and plantar fascia, the feet also have many tendons. Like the plantar fascia, tendons can become inflamed. Often it is the posterior tendon that suffers irritation. This tendon extends from the inside of the ankle to the middle of the foot to support the arch.
Calcifications of bone can form nearly anywhere in the body where excessive wear and tear occurs. The heels take a lot of pounding just as we go about our daily lives. The growth of bony spurs on the heels can cause considerable pain as they press on tendons or soft tissues.