Why should I use custom foot orthotics?

People have been using custom foot orthotics for decades to correct medical problems.

Some also use custom orthotics to improve their physical performance. Many runners and athletes use custom foot orthotics to improve running efficiency, speed, and jump/landing ability. Despite the name, the use of orthotics is not limited to the feet and heels – there are other orthoses (braces) for ankles, knees, hips, and other joints of the body.

So what are custom foot orthotics?

Foot orthotics, also known by their more scientific name as biomechanical foot orthoses (BFOs), are worn inside the shoe and function to address common foot ailments. Orthotics are made to correct balance and the biomechanics of your feet.

A custom-made orthotic is shaped to provide support for your foot, whereas a shoe insert cannot provide the same level of support.

Custom foot orthotics provide even load distribution throughout the entire foot.

Custom foot orthotics

How do foot orthotics differ from generally available shoe inserts?

Shoe inserts that can be bought over the counter are designed for general issues and to provide additional comfort to the wearer. You may, for example, experience lower back pain when running. You could try to use shoe inserts that are made to address lower back pain and see if this helps to correct the problem. It is advisable to get to the root of the problem with a correct diagnosis of the cause of the pain.

Orthotics are devices that are designed to be placed inside of shoes to correct a particular structural or biomechanical issue to relieve any associated pain. These devices can be prescribed by a specialist and custom-made for an individual’s feet.

Foot orthotics are typically made of plastic or foam, and they come in many different shapes and sizes depending on what kind of problem you’re trying to treat. 

The goal of foot orthotics is to provide support for your arch and other areas of your foot that may be causing pain or discomfort. This distributes your weight more evenly across all parts of your foot, which will reduce stress on certain areas like under the ball or heel while also increasing stability in other areas like arches or toes (depending on which type of orthotic you use).

Orthotics for leg length difference

Leg length discrepancies are a controversial subject, but it is generally accepted that a 1 to 1.5 cm difference is fairly common and does not produce pathological effects in the average individual. Conversely, discrepancies greater than 1.5 cm and certainly those over 2.0 cm are cause for concern.

If you have leg-length differences, it’s important to speak with a specialist about what kind of orthotic would be best for you. The use of custom foot orthotics can help to align the pelvis and lower back, which can help to alleviate pain caused by leg-length disparities.

In addition to helping with alignment issues, custom foot orthotics can also help with more common problems, like plantar fasciitis and heel spurs.

Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis

Downton’s Healthcare describes Plantar Fasciitis succinctly: The plantar fascia is a thick, weblike ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. It acts as a shock absorber and supports the arch of your foot, helping you walk.

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common orthopedic complaints. Your plantar fascia ligaments experience a lot of wear and tear in your daily life. Too much pressure on your feet can damage or tear the ligaments. The plantar fascia becomes inflamed, and the inflammation causes heel pain and stiffness.

If you have plantar fasciitis, you may feel pain when you get out of bed in the morning or after sitting for long periods of time. The pain may feel like stabbing or burning sensations in different parts of your heel area.

Take your next steps in comfort

If you are suffering from foot, heel, ankle, knee, or hip pain and looking for relief, it is important to have an understanding of your feet. Knowing about your specific foot type and gait analysis will help a specialist design custom foot orthotics that can lead to a reduction in the prevalence of foot problems and be the first step toward eliminating them.