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Foot Orthotics 101

Foot Orthotics 101

There’s nothing better than coming home after a long day at work, kicking off your shoes, and putting up your feet. 

Unfortunately, when your feet are chronically in pain, it can become difficult for you to do the things you need (and want) to do. Aside from begging your significant other to give you a foot massage every night, what can you do to relieve some of that foot pain?

One of the quickest, and easiest ways to take some of the pressure off of your feet is to invest in custom orthotics. In this article, we’ll review the reasons you may need orthotics, what types of orthotics are available, and how to find the orthotic that will fit you like Cinderella’s slipper.

When to Consider Orthotics

The primary goals of foot orthotics are to reduce pain and improve posture, which means there are various reasons to consider them. If you’re working with a physical therapist, they can confirm whether or not orthotics are right for you. 

Orthotics are commonly used for patients who:

  • Are recovering from surgery or injury
  • Want to improve their foot or ankle function
  • Need extra ankle support
  • Want to reduce the chance of future injury
  • Want to relieve pressure on certain parts of their feet

Additionally, orthotics are often recommended for patients who are diagnosed with:

  • Arthritis
  • Bunions
  • Bursitis
  • Diabetes
  • Flat Feet
  • Hammer Toes
  • Heel Spurs
  • High Arches
  • Plantar Fasciitis

In short, if your feet are constantly aching, and you need to take some of the pressure off them, it may be time to consider orthotics.

The Different Types of Orthotics

As you know, you can go into any drugstore and buy shoe inserts. The issue with over-the-counter style orthotics is that they aren’t made for your feet and their specific problems. They’re simply generic inserts that you have to adjust to fit your shoe and hope for the best. 

Custom orthotics, while more expensive, will do more for your feet in the long run because they’re made to support the individual areas of your feet that need extra cushion and support. The type of orthotic you’re prescribed will depend on why you need the orthotic in the first place.

The material used in a custom orthotic can either be rigid or accommodative. Rigid inserts are usually made from carbon fibre and plastic materials, while accommodative inserts are made from soft, flexible materials.

Your custom orthotic can be an insert that cushions your foot from toe to heel, or an insert that only covers a specific area of your foot. For example, it’s extremely common for people to have custom orthotics that just support their heels.

In some cases, custom orthotics can extend up to the lower calf to act as an ankle brace, as well as a foot support.

How to Choose the Right Insert for You

When deciding on the best orthotic for you, it’s essential to talk to a podiatrist or physical therapist to get a professional opinion on what the right inserts are for your feet.

As you shop for a custom orthotic, look for a provider that:

  • Takes extensive and accurate measurements, so your inserts fit
  • Has demonstrated that their products reduce pain and chance of future injury
  • Considers your normal posture when developing your inserts
  • Accounts for any lower back or knee pain you have when designing your inserts
  • Understands your career requirements, and the activities or hobbies you engage in to ensure the inserts will support you through every aspect of your life

Your orthotics should be as unique as you are. There’s no reason to settle for generic, cookie-cutter inserts. 

Getting the Right Fit

At Emerald Hills Physio & Sports Clinic, we believe in providing you with relief from whatever is causing your foot pain. Our biomechanical custom orthotics are custom-tailored to suit your needs and help get you back on your feet.

To visit one of our physiotherapists and learn more about which custom foot orthotics may be right for you, call us at 780-417-5500 or fill out our contact form.