Our feet are truly amazing. When functioning properly, our feet support and balance the weight of the entire body and absorb the significant impacts of that body when it is in motion. Ligaments, muscles, tendons, and bones—over 100 working parts in each foot—collaborate to do this important work.
With so many parts working together, it is probably no surprise that any number of issues can lead to foot pain. In fact, foot pain is so common that a poll conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association discovered that more than 50 percent of Americans had missed a day of work due to a problem with their feet.
What Are Custom Orthotics?
You have probably seen—maybe you even use—the sorts of shoe inserts that are available at many drug stores, shoe stores, or athletic gear outlets. These off-the-shelf products are extremely common and can, in some circumstances, be temporarily helpful for people who are experiencing foot pain.
Often, these mass-produced products don’t offer real relief. However, that relief is available through custom orthotics.
The key here is the word “custom.” Custom orthotics are inserts for your shoes that are made specifically for your feet. Using plaster, foam, or a digital process, a model of your feet is made. The orthotic device your podiatrist has prescribed is then made just for you.
Your custom orthotics will be designed to correct the biomechanics of your feet. That is to say, they help ensure your feet remain in their natural, healthy position (your doctor may call this the “subtalar neutral position”) so that they can function properly. Because everyone’s neutral position is different, custom orthotics are often the best choice for the correction of your individual problems.
Some orthotics, known as functional orthotics, help control abnormal motion in your feet. Others, known as accommodative orthotics, are softer and intended to provide extra cushioning and support for the feet.
What Conditions Can Be Treated With Custom Orthotics?
Custom orthotics can be an effective option for a wide array of conditions. Here are some—but certainly not all—of the foot issues that might be alleviated by custom orthotics:
- Injuries of various kinds. If you live an active life or your work requires you to be on your feet most of the time, you may suffer an injury to your feet or ankles. Custom orthotics can often support the healing process after an injury.
- Diabetes. A condition known as diabetic neuropathy can cause a person with diabetes to lose sensation in their feet. Custom orthotics can help limit excess pressure and stress on the feet—helping the person avoid the development of foot ulcers.
- Back pain. Sometimes your back hurts not because you have injured it directly, but due to poor positioning of the feet. Custom orthotics can correct the positioning—which in turn will ease your back pain.
- High arches. If your arches are abnormally high, you are likely experiencing added stress in the muscles of your feet. This can lead to issues like knee pain, plantar fasciitis, and shin splints. By controlling the inward or outward rolling of your feet, custom orthotics can help address this condition and the issues that often accompany it.
- Heel spurs. Some people have pain in their heels due to excess bone growth. Whether the bone grows on the bottom or the back of the heel, custom orthotics can be used to provide support for the foot and to reduce inflammation caused by heel spurs.
Custom Orthotics Are Just a Part of Our Commitment to Customized Care
When prescribed after a thorough exam by a podiatrist, custom orthotics can be truly life-changing. If you are suffering from foot pain, the time to see us is now. Simply fill out our contact form or call us at (904) 236-5023 to set up an appointment in our Nocatee or Jacksonville offices.