Who needs a foot orthotic?
A foot orthotic can prove to be beneficial for you if you have biomechanical issues in your feet that result in pain or discomfort. When the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments or tendons in your feet are not functioning optimally to lend proper alignment while you stand or move, an orthotic can provide adequate support and prevent complications, fatigue and chronic pain. Although checking with a foot specialist and undergoing a thorough assessment is essential before you are prescribed orthotics.
What conditions can be managed using foot orthotics?
The conditions that can be managed using foot orthotics include:
Pronation: Commonly known as flat feet, it is a condition where the arches on the feet are not properly developed. This causes an inward rolling motion in the ankles and results in the knee, back, hip, or pelvic pain. If left unattended, flat feet can also cause long-term damage and chronic pain.
Supination: Supinated feet are those that have high arches and result in outward rolling motion in the ankles. The condition can lead to extra pressure on the foot, heel, and ball, causing pain and discomfort.
Arthritis: Arthritis is associated with foot pain and complications like joint inflammations, hammertoes and bunions.
Achilles Tendonitis: The inflammation of a tendon present above the heel.
Diabetes: Diabetes contributes to foot complications like the lack of sensation and increased risks of foot infections.
Plantar Fasciitis: A common condition that causes pain in the heels due to inflammation of a thick band of tissues at the bottom of the feet.
Morton’s Neuroma: Causes tissue thickening resulting in nerve irritation and pins and needles sensation.
Feet injuries: Risk of ankle sprains or other common feet injuries.
Foot Deformities: Bursitis, heel spurs, or any foot deformities.
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What do foot orthotics actually do?
Prescription foot orthoses (commonly called "orthotics") are precision medical devices that adjust and control the function of the foot and its alignment with the lower leg. They are used to treat/prevent injury-causing motions like excessive pronation (collapsing in) and supination (rolling out) and make standing, walking and running more effective. Some orthotics are designed to redistribute pressures on the bottom of your foot to alleviate pain from corns, calluses, and bony prominences. North Hill Foot & Ankle Clinic is your local clinic for orthotics in Calgary.
How can I know if my orthotics are helping my feet?
Your feet work extremely hard every day as the foundation of your entire body. Even the tiniest imbalance in your feet will have a negative impact on the rest of your body. You can completely eliminate the pain with prescription orthotics. These personalized orthotics are intended to help you regain normal foot balance and alignment. If they function as intended, you should have a significant reduction in any weariness or pain you were experiencing earlier.
What about the orthotics I see in the drug stores, mall kiosks, stands at the consumer shows or on late-night TV?
Many commercially available insoles are referred to as "orthotics." However, not all are appropriate for your use. While some are quality products made by reputable companies, others are "dressed up" simple insoles. The hard part is telling the difference. Getting the right orthotics for you begins with a thorough examination by the team at North Hill Foot & Ankle Clinic. Real custom-made prescription foot orthotics are made from a plaster cast (or a 3D laser scan) taken by a trained professional and made in a qualified, accredited lab.
Can orthotics be transferred from one pair of shoes to another?
Yes, they can be transferred between similar types of shoes. For example: if they were made primarily for athletic or walking type shoes, you could easily move them to another shoe of this type. However, you likely wouldn't be able to fit them in dress shoes (including high heels) or specialized footwear like ski boots or skates. Talk to Dr. Crosby about orthotics specifically designed for other shoe types.
Can orthotics provide relief from back pain?
Yes, if the foot or walking pattern (gait) are contributing reasons to an individual’s back pain, orthotics may be beneficial. It is best to go for a thorough individualized assessment to identify the actual cause of back pain.
Is it normal to experience some discomfort after wearing orthotics?
Yes, if you are wearing orthotics for the first time, you may experience discomfort or may have soreness in the foot, leg or lower back. This is normal and occurs due to the realignment of the lower extremity and pelvis. You may experience this discomfort until your muscles and ligaments don’t accommodate the altered position, which may take 2 to 3 weeks. If discomfort persists, your orthotics may need to be adjusted.
Are there special orthotics for sports?
Yes, standard orthotics are suitable for the majority of activities, including sports that do not cause severe impact on the foot. But for activities that have a lot of ground impact such as running, high-intensity aerobics, basketball, baseball and more, it is recommended to use sports orthotics. Sports orthotics are different and are made of highly durable materials that help to disperse some of the force. In addition, they may feel bulkier and fit better in running or walking shoes.
Will I have to wear orthotics for the rest of my life?
The answer to this question is subjective and depends on the particulars of your case. But simply put, one has to wear orthotics until their purpose is fulfilled. Orthotics have to support the feet and alleviate pain. Once your pain is resolved, you may be able to go without them. However, Dr. Crosby may recommend you keep wearing them to keep your feet and legs properly aligned to prevent recurring problems.
How do I take care of my orthotics?
You need to do some things to ensure that your orthotics last long and keep supporting you without much trouble. Do not expose your orthotics to high heat (i.e. space or baseboard heaters, dryers, fireplaces, etc.). Also, it is recommended that you regularly take your orthotics out of your shoes to allow them to air out. Your orthotics can be washed with mild soap and warm water and then air-dried.
How long should my orthotics last?
The durability of orthotics depends on how you maintain them. But the standard effective life of rigid and semi-rigid orthotics is three to five years for most adults. Children's and adolescents' orthotics should be replaced each time their feet grow by one to two shoe sizes.
How are my north hill foot & ankle orthotics made?
Once Dr. Crosby has understood your case history and your situation, the process of making the orthotics will start. A 3D laser scan will capture the foot in its optimal neutral position, and a cast is made. This cast, with its prescription, is then sent to a professional certified orthotic lab. There, your orthotic is made as per your requirements. Once the orthotic is delivered to you, we make sure that you are comfortable.