What can custom orthotics do for you?
Orthotics, also known as shoe inserts, help correct the mechanics of your foot. These devices can be used to treat an array of foot problems including hammertoes, foot ulcers, heel pain, bunions, and even back pain. Many of these conditions develop as a result of poor foot mechanics. At our office we use the PedAlign system.
We use Pedalign digital orthotics at our office. This company utilizes technology from both NASA and MIT to produce three dimensional imaging of the feet, which produce a 100% accurate custom digital orthotic. And they also produce a lifetime warranty on them.
Orthotic devices come in many shapes, sizes, and materials and fall into three main categories: those designed to change foot function, those that are primarily protective in nature, and those that combine functional control and protection.
Rigid orthotic devices are designed to control function and are used primarily for walking or dress shoes. They are often composed of a firm material, such as plastic or carbon fiber. Rigid orthotics are made from a mold after a podiatrist takes a plaster cast or other kind of image of the foot. Rigid orthotics control motion in the two major foot joints that lie directly below the ankle joint and may improve or eliminate strains, aches, and pains in the legs, thighs, and lower back.
Soft orthotics are generally used to absorb shock, increase balance, and take pressure off uncomfortable or sore spots. They are usually effective for diabetic, arthritic, and deformed feet. Soft orthotics are typically made up of soft, cushioned materials so that they can be worn against the sole of the foot, extending from the heel past the ball of the foot, including the toes. Like rigid orthotics, soft orthotics are also made from a mold after a podiatrist takes a plaster cast or other kind of image of the foot.
Semi-rigid orthotics provide foot balance for walking or participating in sports. The typical semi-rigid orthotic is made up of layers of soft material, reinforced with more rigid materials. Semi-rigid orthotics are often prescribed for children to treat flatfoot and in-toeing or out-toeing disorders. These orthotics are also used to help athletes mitigate pain while they train and compete.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between store arch supports and custom orthotitcs?
Custom orthotics are designed to correct your instability. The amount of support provided by a store bought orthotic is disappointing for podiatrists. Brands like Dr. Scholl’s refer to their products as custom inserts but it is not custom to the individual patient, because one foot is different than the other and each individual has different foot structures. Each type of structure requires a different kind of alignment.
Store bought inserts are not really custom and can be pricey. These can also give you a false hope thinking that they could help you. They are really not any different than just an insert.