It won’t be too long now until Halloween has finally arrived. Given the fact stores have been featuring Halloween merchandise since August, this probably feels a bit overdue.
Along with all the costumes, decorations, and candy on store racks and shelves, you’ve probably seen frosted pumpkin-shaped cookies in the bakery section. Of course, bakeries usually have themed cookies for all seasons and holidays. When they do, you can bet the bakers aren’t shaping each one by hand!
Taking a “cookie cutter” approach is certainly fine when making cookies. It gets the job done in a quick manner. Mass-production techniques aren’t always so ideal, however.
When you think about your own uniqueness—and all 7.5+ billion of us humans are quite unique—one area you probably don’t give much thought to is your feet. Now, we can’t say this for sure, but it’s a pretty good bet that manufacturers of off-the-shelf shoe inserts aren’t thinking about the uniqueness of your feet either.
See, most of us—to illustrate the previous point, we can’t even say “all of us”! —have 26 bones, 33 joints, and over a hundred muscles and connective tissues in each foot. With so many different parts, there is a lot of room for variance. And that’s important to know as we look at the difference between custom orthotics and shoe inserts.
In this context, inserts refer to non-prescription insoles you can purchased at retail stores or over-the-counter at pharmacies. These shoe inserts may provide extra cushioning or arch support, but are not intended to actually treat foot and ankle problems
Conversely, orthotics are prescribed medical devices customized just for you, and used to correct biomechanical issues and provide additional support for the entire foot. These medical devices are crafted to precisely match the contours of your unique feet. They are used to treat a wide range of medical issues as diverse as bunions, cavus foot (high, rigid foot arches), hammertoe, metatarsalgia (forefoot pain), and plantar fasciitis.
Whereas those inserts bought over-the-counter provide some additional arch support, they are not customized to take into account your actual arch height and pronation pattern. The orthotics we prescribe, however, work with your actual foot structure and can address gait abnormalities.
Generally speaking, orthotics are either functional or accommodative. If we need to treat a pronation problem for example, we may prescribe functional orthotics constructed from sturdy materials that will restrict abnormal motion. Accommodative orthotic devices are softer and may be prescribed to provide additional cushioning and offload pressure from specific areas.
When Halloween finally rolls around, there will be plenty of treats – including frosted cookies! If you’re suffering from foot pain, you may need to “treat” your feet with a pair of custom orthotics.
Remember, Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates is here to take away your lower limb pain and keep your feet safe. Contact us today through our online form or simply call (309) 661-9975 and one of our team members will be happy to help!