The following article was written by Dr. Roger Berton
Orthotics are biomechanical medical appliances that are custom-made to correct specific foot imbalances and weight distribution. Custom orthotics fit into your shoes and are used to restore the normal function and alignment of your feet and body by balancing the pressure and forces across the feet.
Foot Orthotics From The Orthotic Group. Your feet have a direct impact on the rest of your body. Problems in your feet can affect other joints higher up in the body such as in the knees, hips and back. The cause of pain can start from the ground up causing a chain reaction on the rest of your body.
If there is a biomechanical problem with your feet or pain that causes a small change in the way you walk, this will eventually put abnormal forces and strain on joints throughout the feet and ankle.
It could also consequently have a negative effect on the knees, hips, and back. This can possibly lead to more serious problems such as muscle pain, joint pain, nerve pain, inflammation and arthritis.
Orthotics are custom molded with a foam or plaster cast which provides a 3-D image of your foot. A copolymer of plastic (2 to 3.5 mm thick) is formed from this cast. Additional posting and modifications are then added for a patient’s specific symptoms and needs.
Typically an orthotics intrinsic memory will last approximately 2 years. Many types of orthotics are designed according to a person’s needs. A diabetic needs more cushion as opposed to the athlete or skier who wears sports-specific shoes/boots. Although, in certain cases, orthotics are only as effective as the shoes you wear them in.
Gait Scans and pressure plates take 2D and/or 3D visual representations of the pressure under your foot. This may assist practitioners in determining foot function and help them to see where you have too much or too little pressure. This information can be useful in determining if your pain is foot-related, if you are a good candidate for orthotics and what specific product modifications may be needed.
Who is a possible candidate for orthotics?
A diabetic who may eventually walk improperly due to the degeneration of nerves in his/her feet would greatly benefit from orthotics. As would the athlete who put excess miles and pressure on their feet and the couch potato whose sedentary lifestyle causes them to become overweight and increases the stress on their feet. The factory worker or bank teller who stands on hard surfaces, putting pressure on the heels and balls of their feet all day would be excellent candidates. Even a young child whose problems need to be corrected before the bones fuse may see beneficial results.
General conditions that may be treated with orthotics include bunions, abnormal callus formation, foot, arch, and heel pain, knee and leg pain, and hip or back pain which may be caused by poor mechanics and weight distribution in the feet.
Do you complain about any of the following ailments?
- My feet are sore on a regular basis
- I suffer from heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, and patella femoral – syndrome/knee pain
- Standing, walking, or running gives me joint pain (ankles, knees, hip or back)
- I have visual foot-related problems (bunions, fallen arches, corns, calluses, etc)
- I have knock-knees or bow-legs
- My feet are flat, roll in and I wear out the inside of my shoes. (This is known as the severe pronation)
- My feet and ankles roll outward
- If you suffer from any of these symptoms then you should consider orthotics as part of your treatment plan as orthotics can structurally help these ailments
Orthotics are known to perform small miracles for some but one cannot always predict that they will be the end-all, cure-all of your pain. I recommend that you think of them as prophylactic devices. They will stop your symptoms from getting worse or possibly alleviate them although different treatment measures or therapy may be required to fix the problem.
The average person takes 8000 to 10,000 steps per day and walks 100,000 miles in their lifetime. Women have 4 times as many problems as men that are mainly due to poor choice of shoes. As one can see, vanity hurts. Given the amount of damage poor-fitting shoes with improper support can do to one’s foot this allows you to inevitably see the benefits of a custom orthotic tailored to your specific needs.
Article by Dr. Roger Berton DC, C.K.T.I.
We offer Custom Orthotics from The Orthotic Group, Canada’s largest orthotic laboratory.
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