If every step you take is painful… should you buy insoles, OTC orthotics or custom orthotics?

If you were not lucky enough to be born with “perfect feet”… then you may need some help to properly support and preserve the shape of the foot. Unfortunately, 90% of the world’s population falls into this category! For those who do not have a normal or neutral foot – you may suffer with painful heels, have balance issues or experience pain that radiates to other parts of the body. Luckily, there is help for the foot – an amazing wonder of structural design!

A properly functioning foot takes many steps per day!

According to recent studies, the average American adult walks between 5,000 – 7,000 steps per day. This is about half of the recommended “10,000 steps per day goal” that reduces health concerns and improves fitness. Women generally walk fewer steps than men, and those with larger BMI also take fewer steps.

Taking all these steps throughout the day require the foot – the body’s foundation, to endure a tremendous amount of shock. Just as a building necessitates a strong foundation, so does the human body. A structural imbalance can cause a building to collapse… a structural imbalance caused by a foot problem can produce pain or symptoms to radiate from the foot to other parts of the body. The result may be painful heels, plantar fasciitis, bunion pain, neuroma and nerve pain, ankle pain… and if extreme, excessive pronation – which causes the weight of the body to stay on the inner edge of the sole. The foot will roll inward more than the ideal fifteen percent. Excessive pronation may lead to:

  • ankle turning
  • arch drops
  • shin splints
  • hip pain
  • low back pain
  • sciatica
  • neck pain
  • headaches
  • poor posture
  • balance issues

Stop the progression of symptoms and speak with a Podiatrist – a foot specialist to properly diagnose and determine the best course of treatment – including orthotics.

So many options!

Which option is best to correct structural foot issues and reduce pain?

The main goal of insoles is to provide comfort and protection. An insole is the inside liner of a shoe or sneaker. They are either stitched into the footwear or may be removable. Generally, they are thin, soft and flexible. Insoles are placed inside the shoe/sneaker and often available at a drug store – ranging in price from $5 – $20. To help with abnormal foot motion, arch support (only one of the three arches), and distribute pressure between the heel and forefoot – a pre-fabricated orthotic device (more rigid than an insole) is available at many sporting good stores and range in price from $25 – $80. This generic, plastic device is placed into a shoe/sneaker, but only helps a limited number of people. Some people experience foot pain from orthotics that are pre-fabricated.

Who needs custom foot orthotics?

A custom foot orthotic is designed for YOUR foot! A Podiatrist conducts an in-depth consultation, health history, along with a thorough and comprehensive biomechanical and gait examination. A custom orthotic is created by taking a mold – utilizing a casting or impression technique (using plaster, fiberglass or foam) for specific and accurate measurements, to ensure a proper fit. The cast is then sent to the lab, which is specific to the patient and the patient’s condition. Custom molded foot orthotics generally last 7 – 12 years and may be covered by health insurance.

A custom molded orthotic offers a multitude of benefits:

  • Helps maintain the foot’s three-arch structure (plantar vault) to correct foot, knee, hip and spine alignment.
  • Allows flexibility to adjust to changes in terrain.
  • Decreases pronation.
  • Provides cushioning, support, protection and momentum for movement.
  • Helps to evenly distribute weight bearing pressure.
  • Can reduce injuries – for children, teenagers and adults of all ages.

Once your orthotics are ready (1 -2 weeks), you will begin wearing them gradually – with guidance from the Podiatrist. Understanding the science behind custom molded foot orthotics helps prevents foot pain from orthotics. In addition, lifestyle recommendations – including proper footwear will be provided.

Stand, walk, jog or run more comfortably with a custom molded foot orthotic. They often help athletes, those who work out, as well as people with diabetes by eliminating pressure points that cause diabetic ulcers.

Custom molded orthotics support the three arches, 26 bones and 33 joints – along with the 100+ muscles, tendons and ligaments in the foot. Do not reach for insoles at the pharmacy or pre-fabricated orthotics if you are seeking the perfect fit!

If you are suffering with painful heels, have poor arch support or experience balance issues… do not wait. Custom molded foot orthotics can improve posture, enhance chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy and acupuncture. Schedule an appointment for a consultation to determine if a custom molded orthotic can help you!