If you’re experiencing aching pains in your feet, it may be time to visit your chiropractor for some custom orthotics. Orthotics are used to treat a wide range of foot and ankle deformities, but they also have the power to remedy other ailments in your legs and back. But what are they, and how can they help you? In this article, we’re going to break down the world of orthotics, including what they are, what options are available, what conditions they treat, and more.
What are Orthotics?
Orthotics are special medical devices worn in your shoes. They’re custom made to fit your feet, and can be used to treat a range of issues from aching heels to deformed ankles to back pain.
Orthotics range in quality, design and materials, and not every product is made equal. If you’re experiencing pain in your feet, ankles or legs, the best thing to do is visit a chiropractor or a podiatrist (a doctor specializing in foot care), or just your regular doctor. From there, you’ll receive a written prescription for orthotics, and your local chiropractor will get them built for your feet.
Orthotics are covered by most extended health plans – usually at least 80% is covered if the orthotic is prescribed as a medical necessity.
Common Misconception: Orthotics vs. Inserts
There is a big conception out there in the world of footcare that needs to be addressed before we go any further. There is a version of orthotics you can buy at drug stores without a prescription called ‘inserts’, which are very different from orthotics, despite looking very similar.
Inserts are made of gel, plastic, or foam, and are inserted into your shoes to provide comfort. They can provide some extra cushioning for your feet, but they do not correct any issues. After all, they are not custom made for your feet. While your shoes will feel more comfortable, they’re usually a waste of time and money if you’re experiencing pain in your feet. They simply act as a mask without providing any real treatment.
Custom orthotics on the other hand are prescribed and custom made to treat specific issues. They will also make your shoes more comfortable, but you can be sure that the root issues will be addressed too.
How Orthotics Can Help
If your foot is not moving normally and causing you pain, that is where orthotics can make a big impact. Orthotics can correct and even reverse abnormal foot movement by providing proper support and promoting good function. They also provide an extra level of comfort for your knees, feet and ankles. As a result, the original pain in your feet, ankles and even legs or back will be relieved.
Orthotics are often one piece in a treatment regimen designed to correct your feet problems. Along with custom orthotics, some type of physical therapy exercises and possibly medication will be prescribed. By wearing custom made orthotics and following your prescribed regimen, you can heal the ailments in your feet and even avoid the need for invasive surgery.
Types of Orthotics
Orthotics can be made in different ways with a variety of materials – not all are created equal. After a professional casts, impressions, or scans your feet to make custom orthotics that fit perfectly, the construction will begin.
Rigid orthotics, otherwise known as “functional orthotics”, are typically made from plastic or carbon fiber. These types of orthotics are best for closed toed and low-heeled shoes that are used for walking. Rigid orthotics work great to address aching pain in your feet plus pain the lower back and legs.
Soft orthotics, otherwise known as “accommodative orthotics”, are made from softer materials designed to provide cushioning for conditions like ulcers.
Conditions Orthotics Can Treat
Custom orthotics can be used to treat a number of conditions including some that may surprise you. Here are some of the more common issues they can help with:
- Arthritis: Arthritis can be quite painful in your feet and legs, forcing your body to overcompensate and walk abnormally.
- Heel spurs: When you have heel spurs, that means a little excess bone has developed in the back or bottom of your heel, which can be quite uncomfortable.
- Plantar fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of tissue in your feet, and is caused by your shoes, walking surfaces or physical activity.
- Sports injuries: The feet and ankles are common victims of sports related injuries, which are often treated with orthotics.
- Bunions: Bunions are bumps and swelling on your toe that can cause painful deformities.
- Hammer toes: Hammer toes are a common side effect of bunions, causing pain to surrounding toes and the ball of your foot.
- Bursitis: Bursitis is a painful type of inflammation where you heel or toes develop fluid-filled sacs.
If you’re experiencing any kind of pain or discomfort in your feet, ankles or legs, visit your local chiropractor. At Sardis Chiropractic, we offer a friendly and effective orthotics service that covers both prescription and non-prescription products. Contact us today to ask a question or book your next appointment: