Your feet are highly complex and strong structures that contain 26 bones and 33 joints. They carry your full body weight when you are standing on them. While they can take a lot of pressure and strain, it is highly likely that you may injure or overuse them at some point.
So, to assist in the many things that can go wrong with your feet and ankles, your podiatrist may recommend custom orthotics. Read on to learn what orthotics are and how they can benefit your podiatric health.
What are Custom Orthotics?
Custom orthotics are specially crafted shoe inserts that people wear to support their feet and relieve pain, swelling, soreness, and more. A podiatrist may prescribe custom orthotics to be worn on a daily basis to treat a long list of foot and ankle problems.
Examples of foot and ankle conditions that can improve with the use of custom orthotics are:
- Corns and calluses
- Flat feet (fallen arches) in both children and adults
- Hammer or claw toes
- Diabetic foot ulcers
- Overpronation, a gait issue
- Plantar fasciitis in the arch of the foot
- Heel spurs
- Differences in limb length
- Metatarsalgia (pain in the forefoot)
Orthotics are considered a conservative treatment option and are a great alternative to corrective surgeryand other invasive treatments in many cases.
How Are Custom Orthotics Made?
Highly accurate computerized gait analysis and in-office foot and ankle castings give podiatrists the information they need to make the orthotics. Foot and ankle doctors send the information to special labs, where experts make the orthotics according to the doctor’s exact specifications. The result is a high-quality product specifically designed for the individual and their unique needs and foot health goals.
Orthotics can be soft, semi-rigid, or rigid depending on the material used and the therapeutic outcomes the patient and doctor are looking for. Whichever material is chosen, professionally made custom orthotics are of superior craftsmanship, and they can last for many years. They can be adjusted or remade as the patient’s condition changes.
When you see a podiatrist for custom orthotics, you can expect a hands-on examination, a discussion of any lower extremity symptoms you may be experiencing, and a digital gait analysis to understand your pattern of placing your feet as you ambulate.
What Are the Benefits of Custom Orthotics?
There are many benefits of custom orthotics that a lot of people suffering from various foot and ankle symptoms can take advantage of. Benefits include:
- Properly aligning the ankle and foot when standing
- Correcting gait issues, such as toeing in
- Even weight distribution on the heel, forefoot, and toes
- Reduction of pressure and friction on the skin of the feet
- Less foot, ankle, knee, hip, and lower back pain
- Straighter overall posture
- Cushioning of sore, tender areas of the foot and ankle
- Supporting the arches
- Protecting wounds and areas of weakness and deformity, such as high arches
- Offloading weight from wounds and incision lines
- Accommodating deformities, such as hammertoes
- Stabilizing weak ankles
- Reduction of stress and pressure during walking, running, and jumping
- Fewer foot and ankle injuries
- Improvement of balance, coordination, and range of motion
- Better ability to stand, walk, run, or play for longer periods of time
- More confidence in a wide range of movements
- Prevention of overuse injuries in the lower legs (shin splints and Achilles tendonitis, as examples)
- Reduced or eliminated need for corrective surgery
Custom Orthotics in Rhode Island And Massachusetts
At the Foot & Ankle Institute of New England, our three podiatrists are Dr. Candace Criscione, Dr. Robert Gallucci, and Dr. Stephen Rogers. They are experts in foot and ankle surgery and in conservative treatment options, such as stem cell and platelet-rich plasma therapies, pediatric foot care, and more.
If you have foot and ankle pain or are concerned about a wound or possible deformity, please contact one of our three New England area offices for a consultation.
For our Warwickoffice, please call (401) 738-7750, for our Middletown office, please call (401) 217-4444, and for our Fall River office, please call (508) 679-3700. Or, if you prefer, request your visit online.