The Advantages of Custom Orthotics
A train rolling along a railroad goes where it needs to because the track guides it. This is similar to using orthotics to guide your foot or ankle in its intended motion. There are some conditions that try to take your foot and ankle joints off the rails, but Mikol Anderson, DPM can prescribe custom orthotics to help you move naturally and keep you on track.
Custom Orthotic Devices
Orthotics are medical, orthopedic devices that are used in conjunction with conservative treatment methods for a variety of different ailments. They are crafted to the unique specifications of your feet and fit within regular footwear in order to allow normal movement. When ailments are discovered early on, custom orthotics can even prevent the necessity of surgery by slowing progression and keeping problems at bay.
Custom orthotics are created in various sizes and shapes, and from a variety of materials to achieve any of several different objectives. They can be used to protect feet from injury, correct abnormal biomechanics, or combine protective function with motion control. Types of orthotics include:
- Soft Orthotics – Soft orthotics are typically prescribed to absorb shock, increase your balance, and/or relieve pressure on sore or uncomfortable areas of your foot. Foot deformities (bunions, hammertoes), arthritis, and diabetic ulcers are all situations in which you could benefit from soft orthotic devices. In order to provide superior cushioning, this type is constructed from soft materials and may extend along the length of the entire foot.
- Rigid Orthotics – Whereas soft orthotics serve to decrease pressure and protect the foot, rigid models are used to restrict or control abnormal biomechanical processes. In order 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.
- Semi-Rigid Orthotics – When you need both the cushioning benefits of soft orthotics with the motion-controlling aspects of rigid ones, Dr. Mikol Anderson 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.
Not Just for Runners!
Runners certainly benefit from the use of custom orthotics, but the conditions that orthotics treat are quite varied. In fact, they are often used as treatment for people who may never even set foot on a track! Orthotic inserts can be used to provide arch support and improve biomechanics, but they are also used to eliminate pain or discomfort and permit the healing of various foot conditions.
Two of the most common conditions that orthotics can help with are flat feet and excessively high arches. These anatomical situations often lead to pronation issues with walking and running which in turn can lead to injury. Orthotic inserts can provide the natural arch support that an individual should experience, and they can also correct alignment and bad biomechanics, minimizing any pain associated with these conditions.
Other conditions orthotics can treat include plantar fasciitis, hammer toe, neuropathic ulceration, bunions, Morton’s neuroma, limb length deformity, and corns and calluses.
Not All Orthotics Are the Same
There are as many types of orthotic inserts as there are conditions that benefit from using them as part of a treatment plan. Heel wedges are used to guide the foot into turning either inward or outward and prevent the ankle region from sliding down the incline. Heel flares are used to prevent inward or outward turning and offer stability. Sole wedges are used to promote healthy pronation or supination, depending on their lateral or medial construction. Rocket bars are used to shift the rollover point from the metatarsal head to the metatarsal shaft to prevent discomfort in patients who have foot ulcers. Toe crests fill the void under the phalanges that are closer to the body and are often placed behind the second, third, and fourth toes to reduce stress.
Whereas many orthotics are designed to slip inside your shoes and reside there, unseen, sometimes it is necessary for Anderson Foot & Ankle Clinic to prescribe orthotic braces for patients. Ankle-foot orthotics (AFOs) are designed to control the ankle’s position and motion to compensate for deformities and weakness caused by conditions like arthritis or drop foot. AFOs are used to treat peripheral neuropathy, disorders that affect muscle function, and stroke patients.
No matter what type of orthotic is the right type for you, Anderson Foot & Ankle Clinic will make sure you are prescribed custom orthotic inserts that alleviate pain and discomfort. If you experience any of the conditions orthotics treat, contact our Salt Lake City, UT, office at (801) 269-9939 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Mikol Anderson today!