There are certainly times in life when all of us could use support. With regard to our feet, support is one the important elements—along with balance and cushioning—that can have an effect on our overall levels of health and comfort. When your feet need some help with support or restricting abnormal motion, the custom orthotics we prepare for you here at Eagle-Summit Foot & Ankle might just get the job done.
What’s the difference between custom orthotics and over-the-counter inserts?
As we look at orthotic devices, this is the best place to start. It is a common misconception that custom orthotics and store-bought inserts are the same thing. This is simply not the case. The key word in making the distinction is “custom.” The medical devices we prepare for you in our Colorado podiatrist offices are customized to accommodate your unique foot shape and work in conjunction with how your feet actually move.
The mass-produced inserts found on retail store shelves rely on a “one size fits all” approach that can offer extra cushioning and some arch support, but these are not intended, and should not be used to, treat medical conditions. There is also the possibility that a pair of store-bought inserts can hide or mask a foot or ankle issue that should be treated by a professional.
What can custom foot orthotics do?
Custom orthotic devices are rather versatile and can be used to treat a wide range of foot and ankle conditions. There are essentially two classifications of custom orthotics:
- Functional orthotics, which are used to control abnormal motion. This can be effective in correcting faulty biomechanics and thereby treating discomfort in the feet, ankles, legs, thighs, and lower back.
- Accommodative orthotics, which are designed to provide extra cushioning and support to specific, targeted areas of the foot. These are often used to care for diabetic foot ulcers, calluses, and other delicate conditions or issues.
The material an orthotic is constructed from can further define its intended function. Devices that are made out of rigid materials tend to fall into the functional category and often focus on controlling and restricting motion for the two major joints of the foot that are found beneath the ankle.
Soft materials provide additional cushioning and padding and can be worn under the sole of the foot, which further absorbs shock and relieves pressure from sensitive areas. Semi-rigid devices, which typically consist of a mix of rigid and soft materials, are often used in treating flat feet, as well as providing additional stability and support for sports or other physical activities.
Are they right for me?
Conditions that benefit from custom orthotics include hammertoes,bunions, arch issues, heel pain, neuromas, and Achilles tendinitis. In some cases, orthotic devices can even help to prevent an otherwise necessary surgery.
Whether or not a custom orthotic device is going to help your specific foot or ankle issue will depend on several different factors. The best way to find out if these valuable medical tools are right for you is to contact Eagle-Summit Foot & Ankle and schedule an appointment with our doctors. He can perform a biomechanical exam of your lower limbs, take measurements, and even order X-rays to fully understand the issue affecting you. After a thorough evaluation, we will discuss the results with you and potentially recommend orthotics as part of your treatment.
Call Eagle-Summit Foot & Ankle at (970) 949-0500 to reach our Avon office or (970) 668-4565 to connect with our Frisco, CO office. You can also schedule an appointment for either location online today.