Custom Orthotics Are for More than Heel Pain!
Ask what custom orthotic inserts are for, and the first answer you’ll likely hear is “heel pain!”
And that’s a very good answer, certainly. Custom orthotics can be an immense help in many instances of heel pain, especially if an abnormal foot structure requires extra cushioning and corrective support. Many types of heel and arch pain fit this category, and we often will recommend custom orthotics in these cases.
But custom orthotics can do far more than relieve heel pain. They can serve helpful roles in addressing other conditions as well – including pain in other areas. They also have great potential as preventative and even performance-enhancing tools.
So don’t be surprised if custom orthotics come up in ways you might not expect. We describe a few of these ways below, but you can never know exactly what kinds of treatments might be best for your situation without seeking professional care. Never hesitate to contact us for any foot or ankle conditions you may be experiencing.
Protection for Diabetic Feet
The cushioning and corrective support that custom orthotics provide can mean a great deal for patients living with diabetes – even those who currently aren’t having any major problems with their feet!
Over time, the complications of diabetes can take a considerable toll on the feet. Any type of injury or irritation could go unnoticed due to nerve damage, and eventually worsen into an ulcer that is wide open to infection.
It is essential to avoid as much potential damage to the feet as possible while still keeping patients able to do the things they love. Orthotic inserts, as part of an overall diabetic foot care plan, can provide a balance of protection and mobility to allow for both.
We discuss the benefits of custom orthotics for diabetic feet more in another blog post.
Slowing or Stopping Progression of a Foot Deformity
Problems such as bunions or hammertoes can cause plenty of pain and aggravation, and they only tend to get worse over time.
The more pressure that is exerted on the unstable joints at the root of these problems, the more the toes will shift over the years. It’s a lot like leaning on a loose fence post.
Custom orthotics can be part of a management plan by helping to take excess pressure away from an afflicted joint. The less stress placed on the joint, the less it might move out of position.
The earlier you address a bunion, hammertoe, or similar case with orthotics, the better the effect tends to be. Never wait until things get “bad enough” to reach out to us!
Relief for Pain Farther Up the Body
Yes, custom orthotics can help relieve sources of foot and ankle pain, but they can have a positive effect as you move up the body, too!
The feet and ankles are a foundational point of the body when we stand and move. And, just like the foundation of a house, an abnormality in structure there can lead to problems developing in multiple other areas as well.
Faults in motion caused by structural abnormalities can force muscles and bones higher up to have to adjust to best accommodate those movements. This can cause strain in the knees, legs, hips, or lower back.
Address the foundation, though, and that extra strain can be taken off connected areas, resulting in greater comfort all around.
Improving Athletic Performance
Let’s go back real quick to how shifted foundations can cause physical stress and require other parts of the body to adjust to accommodate them in different ways.
In order to do so, the body often has to use muscles in new ways to add stability. This often requires energy to do well.
For example, let’s say you overpronate – meaning that your feet roll inward too far when you walk or run. That bit of extra motion in itself expends some energy, and so does any shift your lower legs or knees must make to maintain stability.
Provide corrective support to fix that pronation issue, and it saves up a decent amount of energy over the long run (no pun intended). Not only that, but you’ll feel a lot better too, and be at a lower risk for sports injuries. It’s a winning situation all around!
How Might Custom Orthotics Help You?
Custom orthotics have helped our patients in a wide variety of ways, and they might be a source of needed relief for you, too!
But we also don’t want to sound like a broken record here. Orthotics are not the be-all, end-all treatment for every foot or ankle problem we see. Sometimes they are just the thing. Other times they might be considered as part of a larger plan. And other times they won’t be effective at all and something else must be recommended instead.
Whatever the best route is to getting you the results you need, we will perform a comprehensive evaluation and work to find it. Call our Chandler office at (480) 963-9000 to schedule an appointment.