Anyone who has done even a little research knows that many structural problems in the human body start in the feet. It also stands to reason that these same problems can be treated and even fixed through the feet. One way that health professionals tend to the feet to treat other issues is with custom orthotics.
What Are They?
Custom orthotics are three-dimensional inserts that fit inside your shoes and are designed to ease pain. They are medical devices that are custom-designed for your feet and your feet only. When used according to instructions, they will correct imbalances that are causing you pain in your feet or other areas.
Custom orthotics will decrease the pressure in high-pressure areas, they will balance your foot alignment and provide cushioning for your feet.
Custom orthotics are used to relieve symptoms of several common issues or injuries. They can also provide support for patients with conditions like diabetes and arthritis. Some of the common conditions helped by wearing custom orthotics include:
- Plantar Fasciitis – this usually refers to inflammation in the fibrous band that runs along the bottom of the foot. This area is not very flexible, and even the simplest movements like walking can cause pain with plantar fasciitis.
- Knee Pain – knee injuries suffered in sports or just from the wear and tear of everyday life might warrant the use of a custom orthotic for treatment. If you feel pain using stairs, jumping or even just walking, you may want to give custom orthotics a try.
- Shin Splints – excessive stretching of the muscles along the shin bone may cause what is commonly known as shin splints. Custom orthotics can help if the problem is caused by over pronation of the ankle or a heavy heel strike when you walk or run.
Custom orthotics are usually meant as a complement to other treatments like ice, massage, stretching and physiotherapy.
What to Expect
When you first try your custom orthotics, it’s not uncommon for them to feel strange on your feet. You shouldn’t feel any new pain if they are fitted properly, and it won’t be too long before realignment occurs and you start feeling better.
Does This Sound Like You?
Some common symptoms or situations that may benefit from a custom orthotic include:
- Standing on hard surfaces for hours each day.
- Playing physical sports regularly.
- Prior knee, back or neck injuries.
- One leg shorter than the other.
- Knock knees or bow legs
- Obvious foot issues (corns, bunions, flat feet).
Johnathan Gaunt is a chiropractor & blogger based in Toronto who enjoys sharing his knowledge of custom orthotics online.