Our feet are under a lot of pressure all the time, since they bear our weight whenever we are standing, walking or running. The design of our feet is such that it is meant to bear our body weight. Still there are times when you feel severe foot pain. Foot pain should never be ignored as problems in your foot have an adverse effect on the smooth functioning of certain parts of your body. If your foot isn’t able to bear the weight of your body, it puts pressure on the knee, back and hip.
It is important to address foot problems immediately, as it can leave you immobile and also put strain on other parts of your body. Rather than treating the condition at home, it is best to seek medical attention from a certified podiatrist. If the problem is severe it calls for surgery; however, in most cases physiotherapy works. Another way of treating problems related to your feet is the use of foot Orthotics.
What Are Orthotics?
Orthotics are external devices that are used for modifying structural characteristics in the skeletal and neuromuscular system. There are orthotic devices for the upper limb and lower limb. Upper limb deals with shoulders, arms, hands etc; whereas, lower limb orthotics deal with foot, ankle, knee and spine. For certain types of foot pain physiotherapists now use orthotics as a means to treat foot pain. Lower limb orthotics are insoles that are used to reduce pressure on the foot and work as shock absorbers.
The Function of Orthotics
Foot pain can be caused due to different reasons and can affect different parts of the foot. Luckily most of these conditions can be cured with the help of foot orthotics. A foot orthotic is a device that is used as shoe inserts to correct the structural irregularities. A lot of health clinics suggest the use of orthotics as the first line of treatment for different types of aches. Here is a brief look at some of the foot pains that can be treated with the help of foot orthotics.
· Plantar Fasciitis – Commonly known as Jogger’s heel, this condition can cause severe pain to the heel and the bottom of the foot. One of the most common treatments for this problem is custom fit orthotic devices. The idea of using orthotics is to reduce the inward rolling of the foot.
· Bunion – Bunion is foot deformity that is caused due to lateral divergence of the toe. Orthotic devices like toe separators, bunion splints, bunion cushions and bunion regulators are used to get relief.
· Calcaneal Spur – Commonly known as Heel Spur, it is a bone spur located at the heel bone. Orthotic devices like heel cups, insoles can be purchased but if they don’t work, it is best to get custom made orthotics to get immediate relief.
· Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome – Commonly known asshin splints, it denotes pain in the lower part of your leg. Custom fit orthotics should be worn inside the footwear to prevent reoccurrence of the problem.
· Achilles tendon – The Achilles tendon is the longest tendon in the body and can get ruptured easily. The pain can be relieved by wearing a heel lift inside the shoe. This prevents the tendon from stretching any further.
Apart from foot pains, orthotics can be used for various parts of the body to relieve pain and aches. One of the most common pains is the lower back pain. The startling fact is more than 40% people experience low back pain at some point of time in life. There are many treatments for lower back pain, depending upon its severity. Most physiotherapists’ advise using shoe soles or orthotics to help relieve pressure on the spine. Orthotics help to cope with lower back pain; however, it is not a long term solution for back pain.
Precautions While Buying Foot Orthotics
It is advisable to discuss with a medical professional, especially a podiatrist before buying any foot orthotics. Always opt for a brand that provides quality orthotics. Don’t opt for manufacturers that offer cheaper orthotics, as they may not help in offering relief for your pain. Always view the full range of products so you can choose a custom fit that suits your size as opposed to buying an ‘average’ sized orthotic.
Prevention is better than cure and it applies in the use of orthotics too. Sports enthusiasts, who indulge in high velocity sports, should preferably wear foot orthotics. It helps to prevent pressure on their foot and body as orthotics work as shock absorbers and prevent any structural damage. So whether you have a condition that is causing hurt to your foot or lower limb, or you want to engage in activities that might cause harm, it is best to use foot orthotics to reduce the chance of injury.