Posts for tag: Custom Orthotics
Custom orthotics are removable shoe inserts that provide greater arch support and stability to the feet and ankles. There are different types of orthotics available depending on the issue and level of support that is needed. Basic orthotics are sold over the counter, but a custom pair designed specifically for your foot will provide optimal support and comfort.
When are Custom Orthotics Necessary?
Podiatrists typically recommend custom orthotics for people with flat feet, or very high arches. One of the most common signs that you may benefit from a pair of orthotics is heel pain (although you may also experience pain and swelling in other parts of the foot). You may also experience pain and swelling after normal and relatively low impact activities like standing or walking.
A good way to figure out if you are having pronation issues is to examine the soles of your shoes and sneakers. If the soles and insoles tend to become visibly more worn on one side, it may be a sign that your alignment is off and you are over or under pronating. A podiatrist may ask you to walk in your bare feet to observe your stride and gait (known as a gait analysis). If you experience persistent pain, swelling, or stiffness, especially after exercise or after long periods of rest, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist.
Types of Custom Orthotics
There are a few different types of custom orthotics designs available depending on your needs.
Functional (also known as rigid) orthotics are made of harder materials and are usually prescribed for pronation problems or joint issues like arthritis.
Accommodative orthotics are designed to provide more cushioning and support and are typically prescribed for problems like plantar fasciitis and bunions.
In addition to improving your gait and foot and ankle alignment, custom orthotics can help to prevent related strains and injuries and relieve back, joint, and knee pain if it is caused by issues with your arches and pronation.
When a patient with a bunion comes to my office I often hear the same sad tale. “My mother always made me wear shoes that were too small for me when I was a child.” This rubs me the wrong way, because I know better. First of all, I was raised in the South, and I know better than to blame mama. Secondly, I know that the real cause of a bunion is usually not tight fitting shoes. The most common cause of a bunion is genetics, and it pains me to say it, but you just might be able to blame Mama for that.
A bunion is a foot deformity on the outside of your big toe joint. Bunions develop over time due to improper foot motion and abnormal joint stress. After awhile this motion and stress forces the bone and soft tissue at the base of the big toe into an abnormal position, creating a bony prominence (a bump, if you will) and instability.
Most bunions occur in woman (actually 9 times more than occur in men). Since women generally wear tighter, higher-heeled shoes than men, it’s no surprise that many women blame their bunions on tight shoes. The fact is that their XX chromosomes and family are mostly to blame. Tight, high-heeled shoes may contribute to development of the deformity, can cause bunions to progress quicker, and they certainly make bunions more symptomatic. Most women with a bunion can attest to the fact that daily wearing of peep toe, pointy toe, or very high-heeled shoes make a bunion very painful. For those with flat feet ballet flats will usually feel more comfortable, but their lack of support can be a developing bunion’s best friend.
When choosing shoes, be reasonable. I tell my patient’s that there’s nothing wrong with wearing those sexy Christian Louboutin heels to dinner or a nice event. They just shouldn’t be your everyday shoes. The APMA has given its Seal of Acceptance to shoes that have room for your piggies (and your bunion), a reasonable heel height, and a supportive arch. To see the shoes with the Seal visit APMA.org/Seal.
So, the question remains, what can be done after you have a bunion? There are several conservative options that patients can try as well as surgical correction. I have already touched on better shoe choices, so I won’t belabor the point. Get shoes that fit your feet- period. You may also find padding and strapping devices helpful at relieving the pressure on an inflamed bunion. At Advanced Food and Ankle Care we have several options in this category, and we can help in choosing the one that is right for you. Often over the counter anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen provide pain relief from a bunion. I often prescribe oral or topical anti-inflammatories for my patients, and I find that these offer satisfactory relief. Custom orthotics are a great option, especially for an early or developing bunion. These help correct mal-alignment problems and can keep a bunion from developing further. They can also relieve some of the pressure on the great toe joint. Cortisone injections can be very effective at relieving the painful joint inflammation a bunion can cause. Some patients even find relief from physical therapy and yoga. All of these conservative treatments can help relieve the pain caused by they bunion, but they will not get rid of the bump that is already there.
Surgery is warranted if your bunion is painful and interferes with your quality of life. Your particular surgical procedure depends on where in your foot the deformity is originating from and how severe your bunion is. The doctors at Advanced Foot and Ankle Care perform well over 100 bunion surgeries every year, and we would be happy to evaluate your bunion and decide which treatment would be best tailored to you.
In April 2013 the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) launched its spring campaign, “Beat Bunion Blues” with informative posters, a video, and even a Beat Bunion Blues Pinterest pinboard. I will leave you with these 5 bunion facts, provided by the APMA:
#1. Bunions are two to nine times more common in women than in men.
#2. 55% of American women have bunions.
#3. Wearing high heels may increase your risk of developing bunions. The narrow toe box and increased pressure on the front of the foot can put the toe joints out of alignment.
#4. 72% of Americans say that foot pain affects their daily life, but only 22% of Americans with foot pain have consulted a podiatrist.
#5. Up to 95% of patients who undergo bunion surgery are satisfied with the results.
If you would like to find out more about the APMAs “Beat Bunion Blues” campaign go to AMPA.org/Bunion.
Many patients have reservations buying custom orthotics when they can purchase an inexpensive insole from the local drug store. This week, I thought I’d talk about the available options, and the differences between the two products.
Custom Orthotics, while more expensive, are designed for you based upon an impression of your foot. There are various ways to take an impression of your foot, with most podiatrists using either the traditional plaster slipper cast, or a newer 3D scanner. These impressions are sent, along with special instructions, to labs that specialize in making orthotics. The podiatrist can specify the material the orthotics are to be made out of, the requested length of the orthotic, and modifications for specific conditions like a neuroma pad, all according to patient need and preference.
Over the counter insoles, while much less expensive, are not customizable. Instead of making an orthotic directly for your foot, you have to choose from a variety of standard options which one would work best for you. There are many different brands of insoles, and some brands are better than others. Different products aim to treat different conditions, and so it may be difficult to find an insole that has all the corrections you might need.
Some people with minor foot problems may be able to get away with purchasing a prefabricated device. But for those with more advanced deformities, or conditions such as diabetes, there is no replacement for a custom orthotic. You can think of custom orthotics as an investment in your foot health; while they might be expensive, they last a long time and offer more than their over the counter counterparts.