Orthotics is a branch of medicine that deals with the research and use of special medically prescribed foot devices that go into your shoes and footwear. They’re specifically designed to target biomechanical foot problems such as issues with walking, running or even standing. Left unaddressed these issues can hinder your quality of life and your day-to-day movement.
Orthotics can also help manage conditions such as Plantar Fasciitis, which when coupled with targeted treatments and physical therapy, can make for a great holistic podiatric treatment plan. They can be used on a daily basis and help you manage conditions which can flare up when neglected.
To be prescribed orthotics, your doctor will do an in depth examination of your foot, taking 3D scans and observing how you walk, stand and the movement of your feet, legs and hips. This is a way of checking if there’s anything out of the ordinary that they can pick up on, both externally and internally.
Scans and examinations are followed by your podiatrist making a very precise mold of your feet to get the exact, customized shape to replicate. The mold is then used then by a professional who makes the orthotic you need.
Depending on what your condition or issue is you will be given either:
- A rigid orthotic, which is hard and often made of plastic or carbon fiber and can be worn with closed shoes in order to alleviate foot, ankle, leg and back pains and strains.
- A soft orthotic, which is made of softer compression materials and work by targeting specific conditions such as plantar fasciitis or soreness. Less compact than rigid orthotics, these usually require medicated footwear along with them.
If you feel like your foot is not working the way it should, or more evidently you’re in pain or experiencing discomfort, it might be worth getting your foot checked. It may not be anything at all, or it could be one of the following problems that orthotic devices can treat:
- Foot pain
- Back pain
- Achilles tendon
Orthotic devices are simple but effective and can help alleviate several symptoms and foot problems. They’re more expensive than your average insert, which is due to the process that goes into making them and the functionality they offer. They’re a long term investment which can last you for years with proper care.