Orthotics are mechanical devices that are designed and engineered to provide a degree of motion-free walking. They are most often used in patients with pain and weakness in the foot. There are five orthotic devices commonly used for this purpose: cushioned heel units, inserts (known as orthotics insoles or shanks), foot braces, and customised orthotics. Why do you need orthotics?
In previous articles, we explored four Orthotics Adelaide conditions common to the lower extremity: overpronation (also known as rolling or sagging of the foot), sesamoiditis (painful inflammation of the medial arches), magnetism (knock-knee or knee joint deviation of the femur), and flat foot. These conditions are primarily caused by an imbalance of the forces that act on the foot, with overpronation placing greater force on the foot’s outer side and sesamoiditis placing greater force on the inner side. Overpronation can be treated with orthotics; malletism usually requires surgery. Shingles of the foot can be fixed by orthotics or with surgery. These conditions all result in pain when walking.
Now let’s examine the four orthotics categories to see how orthotics affect the patient. Cushioned heel units improve the gait and cushion of the foot. They are often made from the same materials used in athletic shoes, making them comfortable to wear. Properly-designed orthotics will not only provide increased comfort, but should also be effective at preventing injury, minimising nerve irritation, and improving flexibility and strength in the toes.
Custom orthotics are custom-fitted orthotics that are produced to order based on a patient’s particular needs. Typically, they are made from high-quality surgical steel. Because orthotics need to fit well, they should be carefully measured so that the patient receives an orthotic that is the proper size. Any substandard orthotics may cause pain and other symptoms. Also, because orthotics need to work with the foot’s bone structure, they need to be specially crafted to fit properly. Because orthotics need to be customised, many times they are not covered by insurance.
Orthotics Adelaide can correct anyone or more problems that you may have. They can restore abnormal foot shape, such as flat feet or overpronation (feet rolling in or flattening out). They can also correct issues that occur from overutilisation of your walking shoes, such as excessive pronation or sagging jowls due to excessive use of the running muscles and tendons in the neck and face area. Running injuries are common among orthotic users, and orthotics help reduce the chance of injury while walking.
Overuse of your feet and increased arches can lead to pain, inflammation, and even damage to your feet. Custom orthotics are specifically designed to fit your feet, and they are adjusted to provide support to help relieve pain and correct structural imbalances. Often, orthotics help alleviate pain for people who do not experience any pain associated with overuse of their feet.
If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, a common cause of heel pain, orthotics may provide the necessary relief to eliminate the pain associated with this condition. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the fascia that runs along the bottom of your feet is inflamed. It can result from wearing uncomfortable shoes, having a high arch, or lacking proper foot support. Orthotics help to correct foot alignment, strengthen the fascia, and reduce inflammation. The longer you use orthotics to correct your plantar fasciitis, the less likely you will develop it again in the future.
If you have chronic foot pain and cannot wear standard orthotics due to pain, you may want to consider custom orthotics. Custom orthotics are made to fit your foot so that they are comfortable and provide the level of support you need. You can select from a wide variety of inserts to meet your needs. Some inserts are made to conform to your foot shape while others are made to provide more arch support. Custom orthotics also provide added cushioning around the outside of your shoe, which reduces fatigue and improves circulation. Because orthotics help you walk and function better, they can significantly improve your quality of life.