What Are Orthotics?

Oct 20, 2022
What Are Orthotics?
Orthotics are shoe inserts that support your feet during abnormal movement to help reduce foot pain. Designed to improve foot function, an orthotic device may be either mass-produced or custom-made, depending on your particular needs. The aim of all...

Orthotics are shoe inserts that support your feet during abnormal movement to help reduce foot pain. Designed to improve foot function, an orthotic device may be either mass-produced or custom-made, depending on your particular needs. The aim of all orthotic devices, however, is to absorb shock and cushion feet while boosting comfort levels as you go about your day-to-day life.

If you’re experiencing foot pain, heel pain, or ankle problems in California and want to know more about how custom orthotics work, book an appointment today at Align Foot & Ankle Center’s Camarillo or Santa Barbara office to see how our podiatrists can help you.

What Are Orthotics?

Foot Conditions Treated With Orthotics

Custom orthotics work for numerous foot problems by helping correct foot deformities. These shoe inserts also provide support for the ankle when it leans inward or outward, helping reduce gait issues due to pronation and supination and reducing risks of ankle sprains. Some other foot conditions treated with custom orthotics include:

  • Flat feet
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • High arches
  • Hammer toes
  • Heel spurs
  • Bunions
  • Fallen arches
  • Achilles tendinopathy

Side effects caused by foot pain, such as back pain, knee pain, and arthritis, may also benefit from custom foot orthotics that improve balance, provide arch support and relieve uncomfortable sore spots.

Types of Orthotics

There are three main types of orthotics: soft, semi-rigid and rigid. The soft ones fall under the category of accommodative foot orthotics, while the semi-rigid and rigid options are called functional foot orthotics. The type of shoe inserts you need to address your foot pain or heel pain depends on the part of your feet that requires extra support. For example, soft materials like memory foam that you find in an over-the-counter shoe insert usually work fine when your feet feel tired and you just want extra cushioning. If you have a more severe foot problem, however, you may require prescription orthotics.

When you see a podiatrist at Align Foot & Ankle Center for foot pain, we assess whether we need to prescribe orthotics to correct your issues. Semi-rigid prescription orthotics can help with a flat foot problem by providing extra stability, which may help correct an irregular walking pattern that can cause knee, back or hip issues down the road. Wearing orthotics with a rigid design prevents abnormal foot movement like supination and pronation to reduce ankle sprains and pain.

What to Look for in Custom Orthotics

When you’re looking for the best solution to your foot pain, heel pain or ankle problems, look for custom orthotics that meet the standards of the California Podiatric Medical Association and the American Podiatric Medical Association. Podiatric professionals like those at Align Foot & Ankle Center help patients explore their foot care options and select high-quality foot orthoses that address their specific needs and provide optimal support and relief.

What Are Orthotics?

How Do Orthotics Benefit You?

Wearing custom orthotics benefits you in numerous ways, even if you don’t necessarily have foot pain. For example, if you work at a job that requires you to be on your feet most of the day, custom orthotics that keep your feet well aligned can even aid you in preventing issues in the future. Likewise, if you have back or knee pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, an irregular walking pattern, or other lower extremity issues, custom orthotics can reduce discomfort without the need for invasive treatments.

Provide Foot Support and Alignment

The right foot orthotics deliver excellent arch support, no matter if you have flat feet or some other foot problem. Reliable arch supports ensure stability while you’re standing and walking, and that’s why the podiatry specialists at Align Foot & Ankle Center recommend orthotics with a custom fit to ensure optimal balance and alignment. These foot orthoses help improve your quality of life by reducing heel pain from plantar fasciitis and making you more conscientious of foot care.

Relieve Uncomfortable or Sore Spots

Not only do misalignments in the feet feel painful when you stand or walk, but they also have the potential to create issues with your gait. These lower extremity issues may arise for numerous reasons, including various foot conditions and diseases like diabetes. That’s why a doctor’s prescription for custom orthotics from Align Foot & Ankle Center can help relieve uncomfortable or sore spots that can create an irregular walking pattern.

Protect Ankle, Knee, and Hip Joints

Vigorous activities like running and jumping, or even low-intensity exercises like walking, apply force to not only your feet but also your ankle, knees, legs, and spine. This pressure is often equal to several times the weight of your body, and this can be especially damaging to joints when you’re overweight, have flat feet, or must stand on your feet for long hours. Fortunately, custom orthotics can help balance the load on your feet and absorb shock when you walk to reduce pain, protect joints and encourage more activity in older adults.

Reduce Workout Pain and Injury Risks

Custom orthotics that support healthy feet may help you prevent injuries during workouts or while playing your favorite sports. From the studio or gym to the track or trail, the right shoe inserts help you ward off heel pain issues like plantar fasciitis and cushion your feet for more comfortable workouts. If you have existing foot problems, custom orthotics can help you enjoy pain-free workouts with flat feet, fallen arches, and other various foot conditions.

Where to Get Help With Foot Issues

While it might be tempting to grab a shoe insert pack off the rack at the drugstore, not all orthotics are created equal. In some cases, the wrong orthotic can cause even more foot pain. Off-the-rack inserts don’t offer the custom fit of prescription foot orthotics like those you can get at Align Foot & Ankle Center, where we prescribe orthotics tailored perfectly to your feet and medical conditions. Start the foot pain and pressure relief process in motion today by booking an appointment with our podiatry professionals. In Santa Barbara, call (805) 965-1515, or in Camarillo, call (805) 482-0711.