Custom orthotics have been an extremely effective tool in helping many of our patients find relief from persistent pain and discomfort. Depending on your circumstances, they may be effective for you, too.
The key is in the “custom” part of their name.
Who Can Custom Orthotics Help?
Custom orthotic inserts can be useful in providing both cushioning and corrective support within the feet. They can help redistribute weight across the feet as you stand and move, taking excess pressure away from more vulnerable areas.
Conditions that orthotics might be prescribed for include, but aren’t limited to:
- Pain or discomfort caused by an abnormal foot structure, such as flat feet or high arches (this pain can even be present in the knees, legs, hips, or back)
- Pain or discomfort caused by a gait abnormality, such as overpronation (i.e. the foot rolling too far inward while walking)
- Bunions, hammertoes, and other foot deformities, to help take pressure off unstable joints
- Diabetic foot care, to address “hot spots” that may be more susceptible to friction and wounds
- Sports injuries, to offload pressure, aid in recovery, and help prevent future injuries
Of course, not all instances of the above conditions will benefit from custom orthotics. Only after a thorough evaluation can we determine whether custom orthotics or other treatments may be better for a patient’s particular needs.
The Value of Custom Orthotics
You might think that, if orthotics can be so useful, then a pair of prefabricated inserts from the store would be a wise decision. But that is often not the case!
Custom orthotics are designed specifically to the shape and needs of your feet, much like a pair of eyeglasses are made to fit the specific needs of only one pair of eyes. We capture a model of each foot shape, then prescribe specific thicknesses and types of materials depending on what issues need to be addressed.
This does mean that custom orthotics are typically higher-priced than prefabricated inserts, but they are also often much more effective and last much longer.
That said, If we believe a prefabricated insert might do the trick for you, we will say so. We will only recommend custom orthotics if we believe you truly need them.
Additionally, many insurance plans will fully cover a pair of custom orthotics each year. If this is the case, you have little reason to not take advantage of this annually. Even if your current pair of custom orthotics are still functioning well, having a second pair will help prolong the lives of both pairs and keep you from having to switch inserts between shoes so often.
Will Custom Orthotics “Fix” the Problem?
In a vast majority of cases, the proper use of custom orthotics help patients find substantial-to-full relief from pains, aches, and other symptoms that the orthotics can help address.
However, while many custom orthotics are designed to provide corrective support and motion control for certain conditions, they are not like braces on teeth that will eventually realign the structure of the foot. For most adults, the only method that can provide full, permanent correction is surgery – and custom orthotics are often seen as a preferable alternative.
This means that custom orthotics are a long-term form of a treatment. If you stop wearing them, symptoms are likely to return – and, in fact, we see that happen all the time. But with periodic refurbishment and replacement, custom orthotics can keep you much more comfortable for many more years to come.
Get Help for Persistent Pain & Discomfort
If chronic pain in your feet or ankles (or even your knees, hips, or back) has been a consistent impediment, there’s a good chance that the biomechanics of your feet are playing a role. If so, orthotics may provide just the relief you need – whether on their own or as part of an overall treatment plan.
We’ll help you figure out the source of your pain and make an informed decision about your treatment options. Schedule an appointment by calling either of our two offices or by filing out our online contact form.
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