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Foot Problems Orthotics Can Alleviate
What Are Orthotics?

Orthotics are devices designed to align the foot and ankle in the most anatomically efficient position without surgery. Orthotics are similar to insoles, except they are custom-made to correct your foot imbalance. They reduce stress and strain on your body by bringing your feet back into alignment, similar to how glasses work to reduce the strain on your eyes. Orthotics can include devices such as foot pads, shoe inserts, and ankle braces. Anyone with localized foot pain, bunions, arch, heel, leg, knee, hip, or back pain can use orthotics to help ease the pain.

Can orthotics help with your foot problems? Keep on reading to find out how your foot health can be improved by using orthotics.

Plantar FasciitisPlantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. It’s caused by trauma and stress to the heel and the gradual degeneration of the connective tissue that stretches along from our heel to the ball of the foot, also known as the plantar fascia. The pain can be described as a sharp stab or throbbing sensation as the tissue becomes inflamed in a cycle of over tightening and tearing.

Plantar fasciitis can be found in middle-aged men and women but is found in all age groups. People who are active and put a lot of stress on their feet like runners and athletes are at risk for plantar fasciitis. Some causes of plantar fasciitis are improper footwear, high arches, flat feet, excess weight, and strenuous activity.

Custom-made orthotics can be used to treat plantar fasciitis, as they minimize the stress and stretching of the plantar fascia. They help hold the adjustments and position the foot for healing while reducing the pain and discomfort that occurs when you stand or walk. Orthotics with arch support will reduce the strain on the plantar fascia.

Orthotics with a deep heel seat have a cushioning effect that will protect the heel bone. Orthotics with good shock absorption will alleviate the pressure on the heel and should be used in all shoes for the best results.

Flat Feet – Also known as “fallen arches,” this is where the main arch of the foot has collapsed. Flat feet can be caused by genetics or can just develop as you age. Sometimes flat feet can be a result of other health problems and injuries. Diseases such as cerebral palsy, diabetes, as well as obesity can lead to fallen arches. Flat feet can be a problem and result in a number of issues. It can be quite painful and lead to other foot and leg conditions like shin splints, bunions, hammer toe, and plantar fasciitis.

Although flat feet cannot be fixed with orthotics, they can provide support and help realign your body to help reduce pain and discomfort. Some orthotics can provide extreme cushioning targeted to support the arch of your feet. It’s not just the arch that needs support, some orthotics can be used to support the heel and ball of your foot, allowing you to have more arch support as well, while giving you more stability.

Bunions – Bunions are a bony protrusion that forms over the metatarsal bone of the big toe. This is caused when the big toe of the foot begins to deviate inward in the direction of the baby toe. Tight footwear like heels and narrow-toed shoes can increase the risk of bunion formation.

Orthotics custom-made for bunions can aid in relieving the pain caused by a bunion by redistributing the pressure and stopping it from progressing. Many orthotics do not work well to relieve bunion pain because they are made with an arch that is too low. The orthotic must act to help the first metatarsal bone angle down towards the floor.

Improper orthotics can lead to further issues and discomfort. To prevent this, orthotics custom made off a cast of your foot that is made with your first metatarsal bone pushed down and the orthotic must hug the arch of the foot very tightly.

Hammertoes – Hammertoe is when the toe bends abnormally at the first joint, causing the toe to be curled downward instead of straight. This occurs when the toe muscles become out of sync with one another. If left untreated, this condition can become permanent, so it is imperative to correct it at an early stage. Hammertoe can be quite painful, and if left untreated for a long period of time, surgery might be the only way to treat it. Some symptoms are corns on the top of the joint, pain, redness and swelling at the joint, and restriction of movement. Wearing tight shoes that squeeze the toes, flat feet, high arches, and arthritis can all be causes of hammertoe.

To prevent further progression, proper footwear is key. Hammertoe often occurs when an individual has flat feet or high arches. Customizing orthotics for these issues will also release pressure on the toes. The orthotics will support the arch and stabilize the foot, releasing pressure from the toes.

Achilles Tendonitis – The tendon that runs from the calf muscle down to the back of the heel bone is called the Achilles tendon. When the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed, it can be quite discomforting. Achilles Tendonitis is caused by a repetitive strain of the tendon and is usually seen in athletes, more commonly in individuals aged 30–40 who often engage in sports and those who don’t wear proper footwear. Symptoms include pain and stiffness of the lower leg and severe pain when jumping, stair climbing and running.

Preventing Achilles tendonitis before it occurs is the key to preventing long-term damage. Customer orthotics can provide support, stability, and shock absorption. Orthotics will provide support for the arches and prevents overpronation. They also prevent the Achilles tendon from being extended all the way, which provides more comfort for everyday activities.

For more information, please call Dynamic Physiotherapy at 289-201-2435 or contact us here.

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