What are Orthotics?
Orthotics are shoe inserts designed to support the feet and relieve pain associated with many podiatric issues, from arthritis to foot deformities. Many pharmacies sell generic orthotics. While off-the-shelf options are relatively cheap, they may not provide much relief and are likely to wear out quickly.
Most podiatrists recommend custom orthotics designed to control the alignment of the wearer’s foot and provide adequate cushioning. Some orthotics are made using soft compression materials and are very comfortable to wear. Others are made using rigid materials such as plastic or carbon fiber, helping to support the wearer’s arches.
What Can Orthotics Do?
A helpful analogy here would be to think of orthotics like a pair of glasses for your feet and arches. If you have a foot that is imbalanced or unstable, the orthotics can reposition them and support them so that they function as intended.
But even that analogy doesn’t quite work, because glasses won’t improve the quality of your biological eyes. Wearing the right pair of orthotics, however, can help the muscles of the bottom of your foot heal and get stronger, so they’re better able to resist gravity and reduce pain.
(This doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily be able to stop wearing orthotics entirely, but it does help make your orthotics perform better and last longer, and reduces your overall risk of recurring heel pain.)
As mentioned, custom orthotics can address a range of conditions affecting the heel and foot structure. Specially fitted orthotics help reduce pain, improve mobility, enhance posture and balance, reduce the likelihood of falls, and prevent the need for more invasive treatments, such as surgery.
The right pair of orthotics will not only provide cushioning for the heel itself but also support the arch and keep it from collapsing. For one, that means the plantar fascia ligament isn’t going to be overstretched to the same degree (which is the cause of plantar fasciitis, the main heel pain diagnosis). And two, your feet and legs will be in better alignment with one another, and forces will be better distributed across the entire foot (and away from the heel).
Orthotics will treat heel pain by helping to reduce pressure on and around your heel while supporting the broader foot. In so doing, orthotics can aid recovery and prevent further damage to the foot. Many people wear orthotics as a preventative, long-term measure to tackle heel pain.
Get the Help Your Heels Need!
Heel pain affects millions of Americans every year. Fortunately, most cases of heel pain are highly treatable.
The expert team at Sunshein Podiatry Associates has helped countless patients from throughout the Centerville and Dayton areas overcome their heel pain through treatments such as orthotics, laser therapy, and more. We understand that every patient and every case is unique, and work hard to provide personalized treatment options that are both effective and appropriate for your lifestyle.
If you’re tired of limping around and avoiding your favorite activities due to heel pain, we’re here to help. Schedule an appointment with Sunshine Podiatry by calling (937) 435-7477, or fill out our online contact form, and regain control of your life free of heel pain!