Picking the Right Orthotic
Why Consider Orthotics?
Do you have foot pain or heel pain? This is the number one reason why your patients should consider custom orthotics. If that is not enough of a reason then maybe the overall health of your feet will be enough. Insoles can improve
– The alignment of your feet
– Your body’s ability to sense and respond quickly to nerve impulses(or sensory feedback) coming from the feet
– Stabilize the ankles
– Improve overall balance.
Orthotics is capable of helping with a wide variety of different pains besides just foot and ankle pain. Foot and ankle pain can contribute to back and spinal column pain. So the better aligned a patients feet are and the straighter your posture is the less back pain a patient will experience. Foot pain is even linked to neck, should and headaches. Basically the more stable your patient’s feet are, the less pain they will experience.
Common Types of Pain Issues
Here is a list of common foot pains so that you can better inform your patients of what may be the best way to help their pain.
1. Pronation – Pronation is what happens when your feet roll inward too much as each foot hits the ground. This can cause wear and tear on the tendons and muscles as well as flattening of the arch over time.
2. Supination – Supination is what happens when your feet roll outward too much. This can cause sprains and even ligament ruptures.
3. Heel pain (Plantar fasciitis) – This is one of the most common causes of foot pain. It occurs when you strain the ligament that supports your arch.
4. Bunions – When your big toe swells up at the first joint, it is likely you are suffering from a bunion. Bunions can be caused by genetics, arthritis, different lengths in the legs and other reasons.
5. Hammertoes – Hammertoes are a condition where the toes always look like they are slightly curved down. This is often due to genetics or a weak muscle, or even shoes that don’t fit correctly.
6. Calluses – When you have gait issues, sometimes your weight falls unevenly on the balls of your feet, causing calluses (thickened areas of skin) to develop. Other conditions like neuropathy (peripheral nerve damage to the feet) can also lead to the development of calluses.
Understanding Different insoles
The next step, after understanding your foot pain, is understanding the different types of orthotics. Some are designed to help treat just one specific issue while others are multi-purpose in their design. There is even orthotics made specifically to help athletes. Here is a list of the most common types of orthotics.
1. Insoles for Comfort – These insoles are designed to minimize wear and tear on feet from daily life, standing for work, exercise or athletic activities, and other regular pursuits. You can think of these more like preventative inserts.
2. Insoles for Support – This category of insoles recognizes that the time for prevention has passed. Foot pain is now a reality, so it is a matter of identifying what type(s) of foot pain you are having and how best to relieve it. The common reasons for foot pain listed in this guide can all be addressed through the addition of support insoles.
3. High or Low Volume Insoles – This type of insole is specifically designed to adjust the fit of shoes. Both types of insoles are designed to minimize free space within the shoes so your feet and ankles bear less risk of injury. High volume insoles are often used with hiking or ski boots or other athletic shoes. Low volume insoles are better paired with work or casual shoes (depending on whether you are wearing hose or socks and how thick they may be).
The Right Fit
The Great Part about custom orthotics is that any of the orthotics can be made to fit your patients. Since orthotics are made per-order, as the doctor you must work with your patients in order to find out what type of orthotic fits their specific needs. After that is figured out the next step is to leave the rest up to your Custom Orthotic lab.