Did you know orthotics can help you to promote better foot positioning? That means if you've got flat feet that cause you pain in not only your foot but also your back or ankles, you can alleviate that pain with a bit of custom foot support.
It's true! Orthotics can actually help you to improve your overall strength and flexibility, no matter where you are on the spectrum, from people who need custom orthotics to those who don't and want to promote better foot health and positioning.
There are tons to learn from the benefits of orthotics, to when you should seek this option due to excessive pain or a medical condition. This post is going to cover how orthotics can help to reduce pain in your feet, legs, and back.
We will also cover how to get started with orthotics, their benefits, and when you should use orthotic options. You'll find a bit of a history brief as well.
Keep reading to find out about how you can use an orthotic approach to alleviate acute or chronic pain.
The History of Orthotics
Orthotics have been around for centuries; however, they only became popular in the early 1900s. They were first used as a way to correct deformities in children. They were also used to improve posture and to help with walking. Today, orthotics are commonly used to treat a variety of conditions.
We've come a long way in podiatry, from only using this technology that has so much potential for just children with deformities to using them now to treat medical conditions in everyone and to even increase athletic performance.
What Are Orthotics?
Orthotics are devices that are used to help correct and improve foot function. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your feet or ankles, the best advice is to start the process by talking to your doctor about whether orthotics might be appropriate for the pain you may be experiencing.
This option can provide relief from pain and improve foot function so that you can get back to doing the things you love.
What Can Orthotics Help With?
Orthotics can help improve your balance and stability, which can reduce the risk of falls.
They can also help to correct any abnormal walking patterns, which can lead to improved posture and reduced pain. Additionally, orthotics can improve blood circulation and joint function.
If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain, it is important to consult with a podiatrist to see if orthotics may be right for you. Take a look at how orthotics can specifically help you regarding certain conditions.
Custom foot support provides cushioning for the heel, toes, and foot. This can bring relief to your foot, which can relieve stress that carries upward to your back.
Custom inserts provide additional and potentially well-needed support. This can help to absorb more shock and give more cushioning to your feet when worn in diabetic shoes.
Orthotics can work as levelers, which can help to reduce pain caused by bunions when worn in shoes that are properly sized.
Orthotics can exert a force that straightens the foot by using that force on the muscles that bend your toes.
Orthotics can help to reduce abnormalities with foot functioning and to give you a bit of extra support to assist with bursitis.
Balancing your body, aligning your spine, and giving you an option with heel stabilization and a lower supportive arch can help with flat feet.
Orthotics provide a way to retrain your feet and your lower leg muscles. This provides support without causing pain to pressure points.
Orthotics help to redistribute your body's weight over the surface of the bottom of your foot. This will assist in providing the best support for higher arches.
Supporting your arch and giving you cushioning for heel pads that may be deteriorating is the purpose of using orthotics for this condition.
Orthotics can be custom made which is the purpose of seeing your doctor first, or you could purchase them off the shelf. So, product availability is another benefit in itself. With that being said, you may be wondering where you can buy them.
Although they are more expensive, they offer a better fit and are more comfortable. Off the shelf, orthotics are less expensive, but they may not fit as well and may not be as comfortable. This is not to say not to get orthotic options from any place other than a doctor’s office. It does, however, stress the point to make sure you’re aware of your needs.
Custom Orthotics - Different Types
While there are many different types of orthotics, including orthotics for children, they can all be broken down into two main categories.
Rigid orthotics are simply options constructed from plastic, carbon fiber, or basically, any rigid material. They help to reduce pain in your feet and excessive strain on your lower limbs. They can be pretty uncomfortable to wear at first, but with some getting used to, they normally become painless.
Soft orthotics are the opposite; they are made from soft materials. They can possibly extend the length of your foot but provide superior cushioning. They are great options but may not fully address structural support that your foot may need.
How to Wear Orthotics
When preparing to wear your orthotics, lay them flat on the bottom surface of the shoe. Try not to "rock" your foot into the shoe. Place them as far back into the cup of the heel as you can get them, and try to keep them towards the back of the heel itself. Additionally, make sure to wear them over your original shoe insole.
Side Effects of Orthotics
Using orthotics may not be the best choice for everyone. Why not? Well, because there can be some side effects to using them for prolonged periods or for the wrong reasons. There can also be additional side effects of orthotics if you don't actually need them for any health reason at all but decide to use them anyway.
Increased soreness, numbness, neuropathic pain to your lower extremities, and even pain in your knees are just a few of the side effects. Stress from the orthotics can often cause weakness to the feet or ankles.
If your orthotics weren't made correctly or don't have a fit contoured to your needs, you may suffer from not only increased soreness but also worsening of any current conditions. They can also cause a start to create orthopedic issues if you weren't initially suffering.
It's important to know when it's appropriate to use orthotics. You should consider using them if you have experienced an injury to a lower limb or if you have excessive foot pain or swelling. You should also consider using them if you have a neurological issue or an inflammatory disorder such as arthritis.
Orthotics can be helpful for people who suffer from foot problems and injuries. So, talk to your doctor first before making any decisions about using them.
Remember, if you don't need orthotic insoles, then it's probably not worth it to start using them. This is because there is a possibility of some unwanted side effects. However, if they were recommended by a medical professional, then they are likely necessary and can improve your quality of life.
When Should You Use Orthotic Options?
Here are a few reasons you should consider orthotics for your feet. Many abnormalities can cause pain in your feet, ankles, legs, knees, and even your hips. The idea of orthotics is to provide a custom-made solution (think, shoe inserts) to support abnormal foot mechanics and abnormal motion such as supination or pronation.
By the way, overpronation means that your foot rolls inward when you move. Supination is when your body's weight rolls onto the outer edges of your feet. Essentially, it's just inward vs. outward.
Now that we've covered that, let's dive a bit deeper into reasons why you may want to consider orthotic options.
Relieve Excessive Pain
Orthotics can be used to relieve pain caused by excessive weight, typically on the heels of the feet. This pain can range anywhere from a dull ache to a sharp shooting pain.
Orthotics are also used as a preventative measure against bone and joint deterioration that could be caused by weight-bearing activity. This is great for people who already have bone damage or conditions such as Osteoarthritis.
A Complete Alternative to Surgery
If you're looking for an alternative to surgery, like a heel spur operation, then orthotics can be a great option. Surgery is often costly and recovery times are longer. This is especially the case with older individuals or anyone who may have suffered traumas in the heels of their feet.
Orthotics make sense in this situation because they have been shown to change the biomechanics of a person's gait, which reduces pain and stress on the foot while promoting better balance. You can also use custom footwear as an alternative to bunion surgery if you're suffering from bunion pain.
Orthotics can absolutely help to increase your energy. They also promote good posture and prevent injuries, which helps you feel better all around! Not only that, but they are comfortable as well after you get used to them.
It's easy to see how these small investments in your health will pay off for years down the road with increased energy throughout the day and less time spent suffering from common foot problems like plantar fasciitis or general heel pain.
They can be used to increase physical performance with less chance of injury or pain-related issues. When your pain is significantly reduced, you may notice a higher sense of energy and productivity.
Now that you have a better idea of the reasons that orthotics should be used, you may find that this option could be in your best interest.
What is the Cost of Orthotics?
Many people have issues with their feet that require the use of orthotics to ensure they are walking properly or to correct an issue with balance. They can run anywhere between $10-$1500. Sometimes, other factors for the cost will have to be considered, such as if you want to buy off the shelf or have them custom made.
For off-the-shelf options, the range could be between $10-$75. Personalized options may run you between $500-$1500.
Custom orthotics can be expensive, but using insurance for this issue is beneficial because it will help to pay for the expenses associated with treating foot problems so they don't become worse down the line.
Insurance can also provide coverage for other types of appliances that you may need due to medical conditions or deformities.
If you're not sure if orthotics are covered by your policy, call your insurance company and ask about them directly. Be sure to ask about any other devices that you think your podiatrist may suggest. If you don't already have insurance and would like to know a bit more about obtaining a great policy to match your needs, keep reading.
Caring for Your Feet with Orthotics
Remember that orthotics can be used to increase your quality of life and that's the main advantage. Even though orthotics might take a little while to get used to, it is worth the transition and investment to achieve better health.
Orthotic devices are not just for athletes or active individuals; they are beneficial in many situations! All people who want to improve their overall well-being could benefit from using an orthotic device every day.
You may even feel more comfortable wearing them during certain activities when compared with traditional footwear options. Just be sure to talk with your doctor first, as we've already stressed. Ready to dive in and also identify your options for coverage? Insurdinary can help. Let's get started.