Orthotics: Customized Foot Care
Sometimes people and objects need a little extra support to avoid serious damage. What do you do when you pack a box full of glass cups or vases to prevent them from breaking? You fill the spaces between them with padding, whether you use packing paper or Styrofoam or bubble wrap. If your chair is wobbling because one leg is too short, you find a foam pad or other support to fill that gap and stabilize the whole thing. Sometimes your feet and ankles deal with a lot of limiting pain. Cushioning or stabilization can offer some relief, which is where special insoles called orthotics come in.
What Are They?
Orthotics are a special shoe inserts designed to fit inside normal footwear and add padding, support, or even correct conditions in your feet and ankles. They are prescribed and molded by an experienced podiatrist, who uses them to help relieve pain brought on by pressure or incorrect biomechanics. They are usually categorized by their use: functional, accommodative, or a combination of those. The functional type is created to control abnormal motion. They help the foot deal with a biomechanical weakness that’s causing injuries or pain. Accommodative types have softer insoles, designed to offer extra padding and cushioned support. They help the foot deal with pressure areas and rubbing.
These prescription insoles are different from the shoe inserts or arch supports you grab off the shelf at a convenience store or pharmacy. Because they are custom made for your unique feet and individual discomfort, they are able to effectively target your pain and correct preexisting conditions. The pre-fabricated inserts you buy in a store or order online are created to deal with average feet and general issues, which means they cannot correct unique biomechanical problems. In some cases, they can be helpful for providing a layer of cushioning and support. The wrong type of supports, however, can painfully change the way you walk or add pressure to a different part of your foot, causing more damage than good.
How Are They Made?
The shape, design, and purpose of the custom orthotics depend on your symptoms and an evaluation by an experienced podiatrist, like Dr. Joel W. Brook or Dr. David R. Northcutt. They complete a full exam to determine what your exact needs are. Once they have determined how an orthotic would help you, they take measurements. The doctors use digital scanning and gait analysis technology to capture the shape and contours of your feet, as well as record how they adjust when you stand or walk. With a complete analysis of your lower limbs, they then mold your shoe inserts to meet your needs and match your feet. That way your insoles, arch supports, heel cups, or any other orthotics are customized to your unique feet and movement style.
Foot pain can limit the mobility and independence of anyone, from a professional athlete to a stay-at-home-mom or office worker. They good news is that many painful problems that affect the lower limbs are easily treatable with prescription orthotics. If you or someone you care about is struggling with lower limb pain, contact the experts at Dallas Podiatry Works to see if molded inserts could help you regain your mobility. Call either of our two offices—(972) 566-7474 for the Dallas location, or (972) 943-3323 for the Plano office—or fill out the form on the website contact page to reach us for more information or an appointment.