What You Need to Know About Custom Orthotics
Considering getting custom orthotics? Here are some things you should know:
1. The orthotics industry is poorly regulated
Almost any healthcare professional can sell orthotics. Just because someone sells them, doesn’t mean they are qualified to do so. Poorly made orthotics can do more harm than good, so it’s important to go to someone you trust, and not necessarily the cheapest provider.
2. Custom orthotics are different from insoles
Orthotics hold your feet in a neutral position, cushioning them from impact. They also control the way you move in order to improve alignment in your feet and legs. While you can get over-the-counter insoles from pharmacies and sporting goods stores, and they are sometimes all you need, custom orthotics are designed especially for your feet. They are made based on casts or scans of your feet, and are designed to treat your exact medical condition. While custom orthotics can be expensive, they generally last for around five to 10 years.
3. There are many different kinds of orthotics
A wide range of different kinds of orthotics are available to help alleviate pain and treat conditions like:
- High-arched feet
- Heel spur
- Heel pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shin splints
- Lower back and leg pain
There are two main types of custom orthotics: functional and accommodative.
Functional orthotics treat your particular condition by improving alignment and the functioning of your feet. Athletes and people who have physically demanding jobs can benefit from this type of orthotic. They are the most commonly prescribed kind, and are used to address conditions like plantar fasciitis.
Accommodative orthotics are specifically created to protect your feet and evenly distribute pressure to your soles. Seniors and people prone to developing painful corns, calluses and ulcerations can benefit from this kind of orthotic.
4. You should ease into wearing orthotics
Although some people adapt to wearing foot orthotics quickly, you should still only wear them for a few hours each day at first, gradually increasing the amount of time you wear them until your feet become accustomed to them. You shouldn’t wear them during vigorous activity, like sports, right away. Then when you are used to them, you should wear them while doing things that aggravate your particular condition, but it can also be beneficial to go barefoot for a period each day.