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Your Guide To Orthotics

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When something is wrong with your foot or gait, it can lead to severe pain in the foot, leg, and back. In some cases, surgery may be necessary, but many people find relief with orthotics. If you would like to know more about orthotics to see if they are right for you, keep reading.

What Are Shoe Orthotics?

An orthotic is a tool used to help alleviate many foot conditions. You can only get orthotics with a prescription from your doctor, but you can buy over-the-counter shoe inserts. They usually provide more cushioning, which can help if you stand on your feet all day, but over-the-counter products can't correct food problems like prescription orthotics can.

Another advantage to orthotics is that because they are prescribed, they are custom-made to fit your foot. This makes them more efficient at fixing issues. They come in many styles to treat different conditions, but many are designed to provide better arch support.

What Are the Types of Orthotics?

Orthotics come in rigid, semirigid, and soft. Rigid orthotics are designed to help change the shape of your foot. They are typically made from hard plastic, which forces your foot to bend to fit the orthotics, putting it in a more natural position. This takes strain and stress off parts of the foot, including the ligaments and muscles. With the foot in the correct position, it helps take the strain off the legs and lower back.

Semirigid orthotics are usually reserved for people who are active. They have a combination of soft and hard materials, which makes them durable but flexible. These are designed to better support the foot during high-impact movements.

Finally, soft orthotics are like over-the-counter inserts. They don't adjust the position of the foot; instead, they take pressure off painful points. They also absorb a lot of the impact each time your foot hits the ground.

What Conditions Do Orthotics Treat?

Orthotics treat a wide variety of foot issues, such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Bunions
  • Bursitis
  • Flat feet
  • Hammer toe
  • Heel spurs
  • High arches
  • Plantar fasciitis

In addition, because it takes pressure off certain points, it can help if you have diabetes, which often presents with neuropathy. This condition makes the feet feel numb, so you may not realize your foot hurts until an ulcer develops.

Of course, if you don't use your orthotic, it won't do anything. Even if the orthotic feels odd at first, give it time. Make sure to wear it in appropriate shoes too. Wearing it with slip-on shoes, for example, may not help because your foot doesn't have as much support and stability when compared to a tied shoe.

A good shoe orthotic can drastically change your life by reducing foot, leg, and back pain. It can make it easier to walk and run again. If you would like to know more about orthotics, contact a podiatrist in your area.