What Are Orthotics and Why Use Them?
Put simply, orthotics are medical devices customized for your feet. They can be used for different purposes and fall into one of two general categories – functional and accommodative. Functional orthotics are constructed from sturdy materials and prescribed to restrict motion. Accommodative orthotics tend to be made from softer materials and can provide additional cushioning to account for structural abnormalities.
There are almost as many specific types of orthotic inserts as there are conditions that benefit from using them as part of a treatment plan. Some examples include:
- Heel wedges used to guide the foot into turning either inward or outward and prevent the ankle region from sliding down the incline.
- Heel flares used to prevent inward or outward turning and offer stability.
- Sole wedges used to promote healthy pronation or supination, depending on their lateral or medial construction.
- Rocket bars used to shift the rollover point from the metatarsal head to the metatarsal shaft to prevent discomfort in patients who have foot ulcers.
- Toe crests used to fill the void under the under phalanges that are closer to the body and are often placed behind the second, third, and fourth toes to reduce stress.
In response to “why use custom orthotics,” the answer is simply “because they work.” These medical devices take into account your unique foot structure and biomechanics. This enables us to offload pressure from specific areas and provide structural realignment.
Orthotics and Running Pain
When you experience pain or discomfort in your knees, hips, or lower back from running, but aren’t sure where it’s coming from, take a look at your feet. If you have either high arches or flat feet, and a majority of people have one or the other, the condition is going to affect your biomechanics when you run. The good news about this is that we can help.
A pair of custom orthotics will help correct your biomechanics so your feet go through a proper rolling motion with every step you take. This will have a positive impact on the rest of your body, especially your knees. Now, before you go out and purchase a pair of inserts from a department store, it is important to note they are not customized to your specific body. A better move is coming in and seeing us at HFAA to have your feet measured for a custom fit.