Our hope at Sunshein Podiatry Associates is always that nonsurgical treatment options will be able to effectively address your foot or ankle problem. Whether conservative care is the best course of treatment for your condition—or if surgery is necessary—depends, of course, on the nature of your particular lower limb issue.
The good news is that there are many nonsurgical options Dr. Kevin Sunshein can use to develop a conservative treatment plan for you. One of those potential options is custom orthotics, which could be the pathway to finding the pain relief you seek.
Why Custom Orthotics Help with Foot Pain
Custom orthotics are medical devices customized for your feet. They can be used to provide the proper arch support you need, which corrects pronation abnormalities.
It is important to note that custom orthotics are not the same as shoe inserts you can buy at department stores or off the shelf at pharmacies. The key difference is that custom orthotics are carefully crafted to work in accordance with your unique foot structure and arch support needs. If you simply are looking for extra cushioning, inserts are fine. If you are experiencing foot pain and need a medical solution, come see us here at Sunshein Podiatry Associates.
Orthotics are certainly beneficial for correcting problems caused by high and low foot arches, but they are also used in treatment for a wide range of other conditions as well, like heel pain. As with the case of arch abnormality, the shoe inserts found in stores cannot accommodate these conditions. Let’s take a look at other foot problems that can be treated with custom orthotics.
Conditions Custom Orthotics Help Treat
One of the most common conditions that custom orthotics can help treat is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain in the heel and arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot. The plantar fascia attaches to the heel and supports your arch, which is made up of several smaller ligaments. When you take a step, the tension on the plantar fascia helps your toes push off the ground and helps you walk and run. Custom orthotics may be right for you if you are suffering from severe pain in your plantar fascia.
Bunions are another common condition that custom orthotics can help treat. A bunion is a big toe deformity in which the big toe points outward away from the foot and the first metatarsal bone shifts toward the big toe. This deformity can cause the big toe to rub against the second toe, which can cause pain and irritation. Bunions can also make it difficult to find shoes that fit comfortably. Custom orthotics can help keep your toes in place while also distributing your weight evenly on your feet. These orthotics will also have some cushioning to provide comfort and support for each of your feet.
Another common condition that custom orthotics can help treat is hammertoes. A hammertoe is the result of a middle toe joint that can no longer lie straight on its own. The joint remains in a bent position at rest, giving the toe the appearance of a piano hammer.
Hammertoes often develop from a combination of tight or shortened toe flexor tendons and connective tissue, and weak muscles in the ball of the foot. Other times, they are caused by wearing shoes with too high of a heel (especially women’s high-heeled shoes) that push the toes down into the ground. This can compress the joint of the affected toe, making it more difficult to extend.
Treatment options for hammertoes include wearing less constrictive shoes, or orthotics, which are designed to relieve the pain in the area. Custom orthotics will help in seeking to provide support while also helping to straighten out your bent toes.
If you have pain in your feet or knees when you run, but aren’t sure what’s causing it, there is a decent chance the answer is your foot structure. When your foot arches are either too low or too high, it affects how your feet pronate when you run. Abnormal pronation patterns can lead to foot pain and difficulty.
Pronation is the biomechanical process in which your foot rolls inward during the ground portion of every step – from the heel striking the ground through the final push of your toes. This rolling motion can be either excessive (overpronation) or not enough (supination), depending on whether you have flat feet or high arches. Either abnormal pronation disrupts the normal distribution of force loads across the foot. Overpronation leads to extra pressure on the inner edge of the foot, whereas supination causes the outer edge to absorb more force.
Custom orthotics will help to fix your abnormal pronation by providing support to your feet and forcing them into the correct position with every step. This will also help to force the rest of your body (ankles, knees, hips, and back) into the best position.
This is why it is important to wear your orthotics as much as possible (even around your home) to keep you from returning to pain with unsupported feet and pronation. If you have issues with your pronation pattern, it could be time to ask Dr. Sunshein about orthotics.
Another common condition that custom orthotics can help treat is arthritis. Arthritis is a general term for conditions that affect the joints and surrounding tissues. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is the breakdown of cartilage — the firm, rubbery tissue that covers the ends of bones and allows joints to move smoothly.
Custom orthotics can help relieve the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis by providing support and cushioning for the joints. Orthotics can also help improve your balance and the alignment of your joints, which can help reduce the burden on your joints.
Diabetic Foot Care
Diabetic foot care is an important part of managing diabetes. People with diabetes are at risk for developing foot problems, such as nerve damage, poor blood circulation, and infections. Foot problems can lead to serious complications, such as amputation.
The most important things you can do to prevent foot problems are to control your blood sugar levels and examine your feet daily. You should report any problems to Dr. Sunshein. Wearing shoes that fit well and providing support for your feet is also important. If you have diabetes, custom orthotics can help provide support for your feet and relieve pressure on your joints, while protecting your feet from harm.
Types of Custom Orthotics
Custom orthotics come in various sizes and shapes and are constructed from a variety of materials, to achieve any of several different objectives. Typically, orthotics are used to protect feet from injury, correct abnormal biomechanics, or combine protective function with motion control.
Soft orthotics are typically prescribed to absorb shock, increase your balance, and/or relieve pressure on sore or uncomfortable areas in your foot. Foot deformities (bunions, hammertoes), arthritis, and diabetic foot care are all reasons you could benefit from soft orthotic devices. To provide superior cushioning, they are constructed from soft materials and may extend along the length of the entire foot.
Whereas soft orthotics serve to decrease pressure and protect the foot, rigid models are used to restrict or control abnormal biomechanical processes. To do so, this type of medical device has a solid construction necessary for regulating movement. Rigid orthotics are constructed from plastic, carbon fiber, or other firm materials. They are often intended to be worn in walking or dress shoes and can help alleviate or eliminate foot pain, aches, or strain in the lower limbs.
When you need both the cushioning benefits of soft orthotics with the motion-controlling aspects of rigid ones, Dr. Sunshein might prescribe a semi-rigid version. These usually combine layers of soft materials and are reinforced with rigid ones to provide structure, improve balance, and still offer a certain degree of cushioning. They are especially excellent for athletic use and may be prescribed to athletes who experience pain while training or competing. Children with certain issues, including flatfoot conditions, can also benefit from this particular orthotic style.
Get Professional Foot Care and Custom Orthotics From Sunsehin Podiatry Associates
Sunshein Podiatry Associates are ready to help you with any foot or ankle condition causing you pain or difficulty. Custom orthotics might be the nonsurgical treatment option that works for you, so let Dr. Sunshein create a pair for you. Start your path to pain-free living by calling (937) 435-7477 to request an appointment at our office. You can also use our online form to connect with us today!
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