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The Ultimate Guide to Foot Orthotics

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Foot orthotics are biomechanical devices used to treat a number of foot conditions by improving posture  and alignment. They reduce strain and bring relief to overworked muscles that have had to compensate for misaligned feet and ankles.

Orthotics are also used to alleviate foot, lower back and knee pain caused by a variety of medical issues. In short, orthotics correct biomechanical imbalances to restore normal, pain-free foot function.

Who Can Benefit From Orthotics?

Diabetics

People with diabetes are likely to experience neuropathy or nerve damage in their feet. This causes loss of sensation, making them less capable of sensing any foot issues. Orthotics help to protect their feet by providing additional cushion as well as an extra level of support.

This also leaves them more susceptible to blisters, ulcers, and other foot injuries they may not be aware of until the damage is already done.

Diabetics are also prone to developing infections, due to their weakened immune system, so proper orthotics are  essential to their overall health.

People With Underlying Medical Conditions

Custom orthotics are commonly used to treat a variety of medical conditions. These devices correct posture, improve gait, and reduce pain for those suffering from various foot deformities. Foot orthoses may also be used as an alternative to more invasive medical interventions.

People With Foot and Ankle Pain

Foot and ankle pain aren’t always caused by an underlying disease. Ill-fitting shoes, a past injury, standing, walking or running for prolonged periods of time can also be a source of  foot and ankle pain.

Custom orthotics can play a major role in improving your alignment, and reducing your pain and discomfort. These devices not only reduce pain, the added support and improved alignment will lower your risk of developing a more painful medical condition in the future such as metatarsalgia or heel spurs.

People With Knee Pain

Walking, jumping and running not only affects your feet and ankles but your knees as well. Knee pain caused by repetitive stress on your joints from these activities can also be alleviated with custom foot orthotics.

Shock absorption and proper alignment are two major benefits of wearing custom orthotics to reduce knee pain and inflammation. The shock absorption in orthotics helps to evenly distribute the amount of pressure and force placed on your knees with each step.

Proper alignment improves your gait and reduces the amount of stress placed on the knees, resulting in less pain.

People With Sciatica and Lower Back Pain

Custom foot orthoses have been proven to significantly reduce lower back and sciatic pain. Again, these devices help keep the body in proper alignment and provide additional cushion to absorb the impact of walking, running, and other physical activities.

By cushioning and evenly distributing this pressure, orthotics help correct your gait, or pattern of walking. This reduces the amount of impact on the joints, decreases pain, inflammation and strain on the lower back muscles.

Athletes

Custom orthotics have been proven advantageous for athletes looking to improve their overall performance by providing much-needed support during high-impact activities. Many of them are tasked with running for extended periods of time, placing even more stress on the muscles and joints, as well as causing fatigue. 

In addition to supporting the feet and ankles, these biomechanical devices improve comfort, absorb shock, reduce the risk of injury, and decrease fatigue, which in turn improves overall athletic performance.

Common Conditions Treated with Orthotics

High Arches

When the arch of your foot is very pronounced and doesn’t touch the ground when standing. This creates added pressure on the heel and ball of the foot, straining the muscles. If left untreated, high arches may lead to other conditions such as knee pain, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis, or painfully inflamed heels.

Custom orthotics support high arches, alleviating muscle strain by providing cushioned support. Supination may also be a symptom of high arch foot pain.

Flat Feet

When there is no arch in the foot, and the entire sole of the foot touches the ground. Flat feet may be the result of an injury, occur naturally from aging, or if the arches of the feet failed to develop during childhood.

This condition may be responsible for foot pain, particularly in the arch or heel, as well as ankle and back pain.

Supination

When weight is placed on the outside of the foot while walking or running. Custom orthotics correct this by improving poor posture and misalignment. These devices control the motion of the foot, eliminating excess strain on the ankles by supporting the arch and heel.

Shoes with uneven wear on the outside are a sign of supination.

Pronation

When weight is placed on the inside of the foot while walking or running. The uneven weight distribution may cause ankle, arch and heel pain. If left untreated, the pain could radiate up to the knees and lower back.

Custom orthotics help to evenly distribute your weight, providing support and comfort while assisting you in maintaining proper alignment. Shoes with uneven wear on the inside are a sign of pronation.

Bunions

A bony protrusion on the joint at the base of the big toe. Bunions develop when the big toe is pushed inward toward the rest of the toes, resulting in a painful bump on the outside of the foot. They may be genetic or caused by wearing tight shoes. In some cases, bunions may be associated with arthritis.

Custom made orthotics are a great non-invasive intervention to alleviate bunion pain by taking pressure off of the joints and improving the biomechanics of the foot.  

Heel Spurs

Bony growths that develop around the heel bone. Pain and inflammation is caused when heel spurs press against soft tissues while running, walking or jumping. The repetitive stress of these activities, along with a lack of proper foot support may cause heel spurs to develop over time.

The support of custom orthotics helps to reduce pain and inflammation, as well as slow the development of heel spurs.

Metatarsalgia

Occurs when the nerves in the metatarsals, the bones in the middle of the foot, press against one another. This causes pain and inflammation to the ball of the foot, which is exacerbated by walking, running, and other physical activities.

Metatarsalgia may develop from foot deformities, wearing ill-fitting shoes, or excessive jumping and running. Orthotic intervention helps to off-load pressure on the ball of the foot, alleviating pain, and reducing swelling.

Achilles tendonitis

A common occurrence in athletes. Achilles tendonitis occurs when there is an injury to the tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone.

Signs and symptoms may include; tight calf muscles and warmth radiating around the heel, or pain after physical activity. You may also experience heel pain and stiffness in the morning.

Orthotic devices help to reduce tension on the tendons and reduce pain by supporting the heel and stabilizing the joints.


Types of Orthotics

As the only rehabilitation clinic in Barrie to offer 3D printed orthotics, we use cutting edge technology to create custom orthotics that fit like a glove for a large assortment of sports,  activities, and everyday wear.

Below you’ll find a list of some of the types of 3D orthotics we create here at ProMotion Healthcare.

Medical

For treatment of:

Arthritis- Inflammation of one or more joints, causing stiffness and pain

Tendonitis- Inflammation of the tissue connecting muscle to bone

Bursitis- Inflammation of the joint cushions

Plantar Fasciitis- Inflammation of the heel that runs along the bottom of the foot

Bunions- A bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe

Heel Spurs- A bony growth that develops around the heel bone

Diabetic Neuropathy- Nerve damage that can occur with diabetes

High Arches- An abnormally raised arch of the foot

Flat Feet- Underdeveloped arches

Metatarsalgia- Pain the front of your foot, just below 2nd and 3rd toes

Sports

  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Skiing
  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Running

Safety Shoes and Work Boots

  • Steel toe boots
  • Nursing shoes
  • Slip resistant safety shoes
  • Electrical hazard boots and shoes

Casual

  • Flats
  • Sandals
  • Loafers
  • Sneakers
  • Canvas shoes
  • Boat shoes
  • Ankle boots
  • Orthopedic shoes

Kids

  • Sports
  • Casual
  • And more!

With our state of the art Tiger 3D foot scan, you name it, we can create it!

Over the Counter Insoles VS Custom 3D Orthotics

Over the Counter

OTC insoles can be purchased at any drugstore without prescription. They are mass produced and no customization is available. Although reasonably priced, store bought insoles are an ineffective option when seeking relief from foot pain.

This is because the materials used to make them are too soft, causing them to lose their shape very quickly. Store-bought insoles are a temporary fix at best, and they do not improve the biomechanics of the foot.

Custom 3D Orthotics

3D orthotics are prescription medical devices used to relieve pain caused by various medical conditions. They correct biomechanical imbalances experienced while walking, running, and jumping. These custom orthotics are created especially for you, using a 3D scan of your foot.

Our custom orthotics are created using the Tiger 3D scan, making them superior to any over the counter product on the market. This trailblazing technology creates shoe inserts made from high-quality materials, that last for years, and guarantee the perfect fit. Our 3D orthotics are even covered by most insurance companies.

At ProMotion Healthcare in Barrie, we perform a thorough examination and evaluation prior to fitting you for your custom 3D orthotics. This is to guarantee that the end product is catered to your specific needs.

Click here to learn more about the process of being fitted for 3D orthotics at our rehabilitation center and schedule an appointment!

Common Casting Methods for Custom Orthotics

Foam- Feet are placed in a box filled with soft foam, and then the orthopedist pushes the patient’s foot down into the foam based on what they feel is the ideal amount of weight to be placed on the orthotics.

This method is less than accurate because there may be too much or too little pressure applied to the mold, creating for poor-fitting orthotics, resulting in a less than effective finished product.

Plaster- This method is messy as well as inconvenient. While laying or sitting down, the foot is covered in plaster and placed into a mold. It takes quite a while to dry, and again, doesn’t provide the most accurate results.

The plaster method is also non-weight bearing because the patient is not standing, so a perfect fit is not guaranteed..

3D Scanning- The 3D Tiger scan is by far the superior option, it is a weight-bearing scan that takes between 5-15 seconds per foot and uses 40,000 pressure points to evaluate your feet, creating the most accurate custom orthotics available.

These exceptional orthoses are versatile, long-lasting, and covered by most insurance companies.


The Benefits of 3D Orthotics

Pain Relief- Alleviates pain caused by biomechanical misalignment.

Joint Protection- Custom orthotics protect your joints by evenly distributing your weight and absorbing the impact of walking, running and jumping.

Support- Provides you with stability and support while walking, standing or engaged in physical activity..

Injury Prevention- Proper foot alignment helps to prevent injury to the muscles, joints and tendons.

Durable- They are made of high-quality materials, providing you with comfort for years to come.

Versatile- They can be built into a wide variety of footwear including Finn Comfort, Birkenstock, Dansko, sandals, running shoes and much more. They are perfect for all lifestyles and activity levels.

Affordable- Our 3D orthotics are covered by most insurance companies.

Conclusion

Improved balance and alignment from proper foot care is essential to your overall health and quality of life. Misaligned feet and poor posture can cause unnecessary strain on your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, causing fatigue, pain, and discomfort.

Foot pain that goes untreated can be a catalyst for other painful, more serious issues later. Everything starts at the feet. If they aren’t properly aligned, ankle, knee and lower back pain are just around the corner, so it’s best to address foot pain sooner than later.

Don’t wait until your foot pain passes the point of orthotics to more invasive interventions, contact ProMotion Healthcare in Barrie to learn more about the benefits of 3D orthotics by scheduling your free consultation today!

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