Get On Your Feet!
Your feet serve as a strong base to your body when you’re standing and walking. There are times, however, when your feet and body may benefit from extra support by wearing custom foot orthotics.
Foot orthotics are not just “arch supports,” although this term is often used to describe them. They perform functions that make your everyday activities more comfortable and efficient by altering the angles at which the feet strike the ground when standing, walking, jogging, running, and jumping. A foot orthotic is a device that can be inserted into the shoe to support, align, prevent and or accommodate foot deformities and improve foot function. Used in conjunction with appropriate footwear, a foot orthotic can be effective in helping to treat a number of foot and lower limb problems including heel, arch and forefoot pain, shin splints, as well as pain and complications related to health conditions such as diabetes and arthritis.
Orthotics can help a range of foot and health conditions including:
- Achilles Tendinitis
- Ankle Sprains
- Foot Numbness
- Lower Back Pain
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Prosterior Tibal Weakness
- Shin Splints
- Tired Feet
From mild discomfort in the foot and knee to severe problems, a foot orthotic can help a wide range of patients.
Benefits of Custom Orthotics & Insoles:
- Control biomechanical alignment
- Correct or accommodate deformity
- Protect and support an injury
- Assist in rehabilitation
- Reduce pain
- Increase mobility
Chiropractors are trained to assess if and when custom orthotics may benefit a patient. As part of the assessment, a chiropractor’s evaluation may include observation, gait analysis, functional analysis and neurological and orthopedic testing among others. This will help the chiropractor determine if custom orthotics are appropriate for a patient. In some cases, off-the-shelf orthotics may be best suited to meet the needs and goals of the patient. However, in cases where structural deformities exist and correction may be required, chiropractors will typically refer to a colleague, like a podiatrist, to co-manage the condition.
The lifespan of a foot orthotic varies from patient to patient. The materials used to make the foot orthotic, the patient’s foot structure, current levels of activity, age and physical condition all have an impact on the lifespan of a foot orthotic. The shell of the foot orthotic is the strong material that shapes it. It generally lasts longer than the top cover (the material used as an interface between the shell and the patient’s foot). The materials often used as top covers will compress over time but can easily be replaced. The lifespan of a foot orthotic should be measured not by when the finishing touches (the cover material) wear out but by how long it meets the foot’s changing needs for support, correction and pressure redistribution. If your symptoms begin to return it is a good idea to have your orthotic reassessed to determine if modifications or a new device are necessary.
The underlying problem doesn’t always stem from the source of pain—a foot dysfunction (e.g., over pronation) can cause pain in other parts of the body. For more information on foot dysfunction, CLICK HERE to watch a video on biomechanics and the gait cycle. The value of chiropractic training in the field of orthotics, when considering all therapeutic options, involves assessing the entire lower kinetic chain for patients presenting with non-foot pain.
Next time you visit your chiropractor, ask whether orthotics may be appropriate for you.