What You May Not Know about Custom Orthotics

shutterstock_240705031You probably had a favorite pair of flats where the insole was a bit worn, or high heels where your foot slid forward too far, so you bought some foam or non-skid shoe inserts to make wearing them a bit easier. Do you know if those are considered orthotics? Read on to learn what else you might not know about inserts for your shoes.

Difference between Inserts and Orthotics

Any liner that you stick in your shoe can be called an insert, but custom orthotics refer to medical devices that are designed to correct a specific foot problem. They are only available with a prescription and are manufactured for your specific feet.

Not All Foot Supports Are the Same

Some are made of metal, some of stiff foam, and others of plastic or graphite. They may have one main layer with a fabric covering, or be a composite of several layers. Some are fashioned from a cast or mold of your foot, others are designed using computer imaging. Some are meant to cushion the foot and protect tender areas from pressure. Others are functional, in that they attempt to rebalance the way your foot bears your weight and help adjust a faulty gait (walking style). Still others are meant to provide extra support for your arch, or help pad the heel, or take pressure off your forefoot. Did you know there were so many types and factors involved?

Even Podiatrists May Not Know Exactly Why They Work

custom orthoticWe have had a lot of training to discover how the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles in your feet work, and how conditions in your feet can affect you all the way up the skeletal system to your knees, hips and back. We also know from experience that many people who can barely walk into our office can later—with the help of these inserts—walk around and even run without pain. We can’t always prove scientifically why these devices help, but the anecdotal evidence is right before our eyes. We also may not understand why orthotics work for many people but do nothing to help some others.

You May Not Need an Orthotic at All

With all the studies about how feet move and the technical improvement in shoes—especially athletic footwear—many shoe models now provide the type of support your feet need without extra inserts. There are styles for flexibility, shock absorption, extra cushioning in the heel and forefoot (for high arches), or extra arch support for stability control (for flat feet or low arches).

You Are the Only One Who Decides If Orthotics Help

We can ask questions, take X-rays or other test images, and palpitate or manipulate your feet, but we can’t feel what you are feeling. We are also not with you each day as you go about your routine. We may be experts at determining what is causing your foot pain and designing a custom orthotic to address the issues we believe are causing that discomfort. However, you are the one who needs to gradually break them in and decide if they are what you need.

For many people, that’s a no brainer: they weren’t able to go for a walk, stand long hours at work, or play sports without foot, ankle, or knee pain, and now they can. They feel as if they have been given a new lease on life when they can again participate in the things that give them joy.

Where to Get Help in the South Plainfield and Warren Region

If you have no foot pain or limited mobility, you don’t need to read further. If you have sore feet and wonder if orthotics might help, call Dr. Jyotsna Thapar at Ankle and Foot Specialist of New Jersey by dialing (908) 222-8980 and set up a time to come in for an evaluation, or schedule an appointment through our website. Our offices are located on Oak Tree Ave near Park Ave in South Plainfield and Mountain Blvd. Ext. in Warren. We stand ready to do whatever we can to get you walking without pain again, so contact us today!

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