Custom orthotics have increased in popularity as foot, knee, hip, and back pain continue to be a problem many people experience. Many people are hesitant to invest in the custom shoe orthotics when there are so many less expensive options that you can get at your regular superstore. While store-bought orthotics can offer some customization depending on the pain you may experience, ultimately, there is some level of generic features that cannot be avoided.
The Customization Factor
Custom orthotics are designed specifically for your body and the way you distribute your weight across your feet. No two custom orthotics are created exactly the same because no two people stand, walk, and distribute weight the same way. When you are evaluated for custom orthotics, there are a few steps your doctor will take you through.
This part of the evaluation may feature both weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing assessments. The weight-bearing assessment will focus on the alignment of the body in relation to the foot on the ground while standing upright, as well as walking and/or running. Your doctor may do this analysis on the floor, an impression mat, and/or a treadmill in order to gain a complete understanding of your body's relationship with your foot. The non-weight-bearing assessment may involve scans and physical measurements that analyze the different planes of your foot in order to see any imbalances that may be present.
Casting and Creation
After your evaluation is complete, your feet will be casted in order to build the orthotics to your body. The plaster will harden to your feet while you are seated in a neutral, non-weight-bearing position. Using the casts of your feet and the measurements taken during the biomechanical evaluation, your custom shoe orthotics will be created with plastic, graphite and cushioning materials that will help to streamline your gait.
Over time, your doctor will evaluate your custom orthotics to look for signs of wear that would indicate it is time to get new orthotics or make changes to your prescription.
Wearing Custom Orthotics
Custom shoe orthotics are much like a new pair of shoes; they must be broken in at first. You may experience some discomfort at first, your orthotics are, in fact, modifying the relationship between your body and your feet, which can be a major change. We recommend that you start by wearing your orthotics for just a few hours on the first day and then increase by hourly increments until you are comfortable wearing them all day long. If you are still experiencing discomfort after the initial break-in period, schedule an appointment with your doctor to make an adjustment to your orthotics.
How Do Custom Orthotics Work?
Custom orthotics are based on a prescription that guides your foot into an ideal position at every stage of walking and running. The inflexible materials used, such as plastics and graphite provide resistance to the foot to keep the lower body in the proper position. The prescriptions for custom orthotics take into account weight and activity level to ensure that the right amount of each material is used to provide an adequate amount of resistance to keep the body aligned. Alternatively, the cushioning materials, such as foam and neoprene, help absorb weight as it is distributed across the foot. This provides stress relief in the lower body, especially in the ligaments of the feet and legs.
Custom orthotics also provide support for the connective tissues in the lower body. This reduces muscle fatigue and helps prevent instability in the foot and legs.
If you experience foot, knee, hip, or back pain, custom orthotics may be the solution. Contact Ideal Health today to set up a consultation.