Whether you’re a pro athlete or someone who spends a lot of time on their feet, anyone can benefit from custom orthotics. These special devices can alleviate or prevent pain in the feet, heels or ankles. A well-designed orthotic can also do the following:
- Control foot function
- Correct alignment issues
- Improve stability
- Reduce painful muscle strain by modifying weight-bearing areas
- Improve overall function of the knees and hips
Custom orthotics are very different from over-the-counter insoles. That’s because they’re specially created to conform to the unique shape of your feet. Although most orthotics were once thick and clunky, today’s selections are made from ultra-thin materials and feel lighter in the shoes.
A Chiropodist or other qualified healthcare professional can help determine whether you need a custom foot device. In fact, your entire family could benefit from treatments that support the feet and lower limbs. But until you get a chance to seek expert advice, here are 5 signs that you may require custom orthotics.
1. Foot pain
This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people unnecessarily suffer through foot pain. Long-term exposure to bad footwear can cause significant health problems. High heels and pointed-toe shoes are particularly hard on the feet. So is footwear that doesn’t fit properly or conform to the shape of your feet -- as this can cause destructive stress and fatigue. If you’re experiencing pain, no matter how mild, speak to an expert at Physiomed. Our foot specialists can identify what’s causing the discomfort, and create custom orthotics to address the issue.
2. Heel pain
Pain in the heel area is not normal. Heel discomfort could be a sign of something much more serious. Plantar Fasciitis is a condition caused by severe inflammation of the tissue that supports the arch of the foot. When this tissue is stretched too far, it can cause painful tears. Custom orthotics can help treat Plantar Fasciitis by supporting the soles, and restoring the normal biomechanics of your feet.
3. Hip problems
It may be hard to believe that foot issues can cause major problems in the hips, but there is a direct correlation. Your hips are the largest joints in your body. And along with the knees, they’re responsible for supporting your weight as you stand and walk. Poor walking habits can actually cause or worsen hip pain, especially if you’ve suffered injury to this area in the past.
A pair of high-quality orthotics can treat hip problems by healing from the ground up. Specially designed insoles that address problems in alignment, stability and support can significantly reduce pain in the hips.
If you’re interested in custom orthotics, the team at Physiomed can help. Our treatment plans involve a medical exam of your feet, followed by a biomechanical assessment and gait analysis of your walking patterns.
4. Worn out shoes
Take a good look at your everyday shoes. Their deterioration can say a lot about your feet. For example, does it look like one side of the sole is more worn out than the other? This may signal foot pronation (where the foot rolls inward) or supination (where the ankles turn out).
Are there signs of wear-and-tear on the heel or toe areas? This could mean you’re unknowingly digging your toes into the pavement each step you take, or simply putting too much pressure on the heels when you walk. Meanwhile, if one shoe looks more worn than the other, you may have a discrepancy in leg length.
Custom orthotics are most effective when worn inside a well-made pair of orthopaedic shoes. At Physiomed, we can design special shoes for specific activities, such as running or hiking. Depending on the results of our assessment, we’ll recommend either functional or accommodative orthopaedic shoes. Functional orthopaedic shoes are designed to control abnormal movements -- while accommodative ones provide additional support and cushioning.
5. Wet Test Results
Earlier we mentioned foot pronation and supination. One of the easiest ways to see if you suffer from either is to take the Wet Test. Stand on a piece of paper towel with wet feet, then examine your footprint. A footprint without a C-curve in the arch could mean you’re a pronator, meaning your foot rolls inward. But a prominent C-curve may suggest you’re a spinator, which means your ankles tend to turn out. If you notice any of these signs, speak to one of our foot specialists because you may benefit from one of our products.
Whether you’re a child or senior, custom orthotics are perfect for any age. So bring the entire family to Physiomed to see if these special devices are the solution for you.
For more information on custom orthotics or to book an assessment, contact us here.