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Walking the Walk: How Custom Orthotics Can Fix Common Gait Problems

Posted by | 01-11-2020

The way you walk, referred to as your gait, can be a strong indicator of the overall health of your feet. Pigeon toe, arthritis and even birth defects can all contribute to an abnormal gait. And if left untreated, an uneven gait can cause serious problems in other areas of your health. But did you know that correcting your gait can be as simple as using custom orthotics? Let’s explore how these unique devices can treat common gait problems. 

Repositions the feet

Orthotics can reposition your feet so that they’re in line with your ankles. Too often, an abnormal gait is due to the misalignment of these two things. Customized inserts can get your feet and ankles in the correct position by targeting unusual motions that occur in your walking pattern or gait cycle. When used correctly, they can redirect your feet and ankles to break any abnormalities. 

Reduces pain

When you’re in pain, you may walk in unusual ways to help alleviate the discomfort. Over time, this coping mechanism can become part of your gait cycle. But custom orthotics can reduce pain, eventually correcting the way you walk. If you’re suffering from Achilles Tendonitis or Plantar Fasciitis, these specially-designed inserts could be very effective. 

Alleviates discomfort from medical conditions

Oftentimes, people think of foot abnormalities as a comfort issue. But in some cases, you could be suffering from an underlying medical condition. Diabetes, for example, can cause numbness in the legs; which then spreads to the feet. Although medical intervention is important, custom orthotics can also help. A chiropodist can design a pair of devices that will not only provide support where needed, but also correct alignment issues and other abnormalities. 

Fixes posture

The way your feet absorb and distribute weight can have a tremendous impact on the rest of your body, particularly your posture. Custom orthotics do much more than simply cushion the heel. They can actually lift the arch to an optimal height that allows the feet to become more balanced. This, in turn, will give your legs and hips the support they need to straighten out your posture. 

Treats overpronation and supination

Pronation refers to the natural movement of your feet when you walk or run. In overpronation, the ankle will roll too far downward and inward with every step. In other words, the ankle keeps on rolling when the toes should be pushing off. Over time, the entire body will begin to absorb shock in all the wrong places. 

Supination occurs when your ankle rolls to the outside edge of your foot. The foot naturally turns when you push off with your toe as the heel first lifts off the ground. But if this turning continues throughout the toe push-off, your body weight isn’t transferring correctly to the big toe. This extra stress can trigger a painful chain reaction all the way up to your hips. 

Custom orthotics can fix pronation and supination issues, ultimately correcting your gait. Not only can they provide much-needed support to the ankles, but also provide a stable base. 

Custom orthotics with Physiomed

Our foot health specialists have the expertise to determine whether these specially-designed medical devices are right for you. After a detailed examination of your feet, we’ll conduct an analysis of your walking patterns or gait including a check for bone misalignments, flat feet, and a series of other indicators. 

Depending on your results, we’ll either recommend functional or accommodative orthotics. Functional models are made of a semi-rigid material, designed to control abnormal movements while offering stability. Accommodative orthotics are much softer, providing additional support and cushioning. These inserts are more suitable for seniors, or those with sensitive feet. Whether your gait problems stem from misalignment or chronic pain, Physiomed can help you heal from the ground up; so you can get back to walking with confidence. 

For more information on treating common gait problems or to book an assessment, contact us here.  

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Dr. Scott Wilson is the Founder & Chairman of Physiomed; one of Canada’s largest franchised networks of inter-disciplinary healthcare clinics. A graduate of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Dr. Wilson founded Physiomed in 1994 and has since grown Physiomed to over 30 clinics in Southern Ontario and British Columbia. With hundreds of practitioners from over a dozen disciplines, Dr. Wilson and Physiomed have helped over 100,000 Canadians with physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, orthotic therapy, compression therapy and clinical conditioning as part of a program of rehabilitation and health optimization. In addition to helping patients improve their physical and mental well-being, Dr. Wilson has also mentored hundreds of practitioners to provide better care while enjoying more fulfilling careers. He is also a keynote speaker on many health related topics including how physiotherapy, chiropractic and health & wellness treatment can help with stress, weight loss, and unlocking the true potential within to achieve lasting physical well-being.

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