Learn What To Look For In Orthotic Devices.
Improper foot alignment can cause aches and pains in the feet, legs, and back. Orthotics are shoe inserts that support and realign the feet. Orthotics are essentially wedges of varying shapes that you place under your feet to fix the way that you walk or run. Although orthotics primarily impact the position of your feet, they also affect the alignment of your ankles, hips, knees, and lower back.
Orthotics help relieve foot pain among people with various foot and ankle problems, including heel spurs, diabetes-related foot problems, and plantar fasciitis. Orthotics is a broad term that is used to refer to an array of different devices for your feet, from the pre-fabricated arch supports available at your local drugstore to custom-made orthotics cast from molds of your feet. Orthotics are available over the counter or with a medical prescription. A licensed podiatrist can prescribe orthotics to prevent and/or treat lower extremity pain and injury.
Finding the Right Orthotics for Your Feet
If you have low arched feet or flat feet, it means that there is little to no space between the arch of your foot and the floor when you are standing. If you have this foot type, opt for rigid orthotics, which are inflexible and offer good arch support. Rigid orthotics control foot motion. You can tell whether orthotics are rigid by pushing down the arch. If the orthotic doesn’t collapse under the pressure, you will know that it’s rigid enough.
If you have high arched feet, or feet with a large gap between the arch and the floor while standing, then you will need soft orthotics. Soft orthotics are cushioned and flexible. They absorb shock, enhance balance, provide arch support, and relieve pressure from sore spots. You should replace soft orthotics as soon as they lose their shock absorption capabilities. Soft orthotics are often prescribed to people with diabetes, arthritis, or deformed feet.
Semi-rigid orthotics provide the control of rigid orthotics and the cushioning of soft orthotics. Semi-rigid orthotics help balance your feet while you walk or play sports. They consist of multiple layers of soft material interspersed with harder materials. Semi-rigid orthotics are often recommended for children who have flat feet or intoeing/outoeing problems.
Breaking in Orthotics
Your feet, legs, or lower back may feel sore when you first start using orthotics. This is normal, but you can minimize the soreness by breaking your orthotics in. Insert the orthotics in the shoes that you will be using the most. Get used to your new orthotics while you are going about normal daily activities, like working, shopping, or going to school. On the first day, wear the orthotics for just two hours. Gradually increase the amount of time you wear the orthotics by two hours each day. If your feet get sore, just wear the orthotics for the same amount of time each day until the soreness goes away.
Avoid One-Size-Fits-All Solutions: Get Custom Orthotics From A Seattle Podiatrist
Some people may benefit from using over-the-counter orthotics, but if you’re dealing with biomechanical issues, it would be best to visit a Seattle podiatrist to have custom orthotics made for you. To be evaluated and fitted for orthotics, please contact the Integrative Foot & Ankle Centers of Washington today. We have locations in Kirkland, Renton, Everett, and Redmond. Call (425) 678-3877 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment with our podiatry team.