Walk into your local pharmacy, and you’ll find a foot care section offering a dizzying array of shoe inserts that promise to relieve your foot pain and provide critical support. But do they work? Yes and no. Over-the-counter orthotics can often offer a temporary fix. Still, for a long-term solution to your foot problems and other musculoskeletal issues, you’re better offer seek the professional counsel — and products — that your podiatrist designs for your particular situation and goals.
At Alpine Foot & Ankle in Highland, UT, board-certified podiatrist Scott Shelton, DPM, offers custom orthotics that match the unique mechanics of your feet and can help relieve an assortment of aches and pains.
Here are five reasons you should consider custom orthotics, including some you may not have known.
Your feet are incredibly complex structures and house more than one-quarter of the bones in your body. Surrounding your bones are soft tissue components, such as ligaments, tendons, and muscles, that provide support and stability.
When one area isn’t, quite literally, carrying its weight, it can throw off the delicate balance between your soft and hard tissue, creating severe problems in your feet that hamper your mobility.
But everyone’s feet are different, and this is an important point. At your appointment with Dr. Shelton, he will thoroughly analyze your feet to discern where the breakdown is occurring or might occur. Then, Dr. Sheldon will devise a solution using orthotics to provide the support you need. Since no two feet are alike (not even your own two feet), there’s no one-size-fits-all solution where custom orthotics come in. Your custom orthotics are tailored to address your unique issues, often preventing them from progressing to a point where you need more aggressive treatment.
If you think about the size of your feet relative to the rest of your body, it’s incredible that they hold up as well as they do.
Still, Mother Nature has a way of throwing curveballs at us, and structural irregularities can seriously affect the function of your feet. Maybe your arches never developed, leaving you with flat feet. Or perhaps your arches are too high, making footwear uncomfortable.
Further still, you may be prone to bunions, plantar fasciitis, hammertoes, and other problems that impact your feet. In these cases, custom orthotics can step in and make up for Mother Nature by adding support to where your feet need it most.
While custom orthotics are great for existing foot problems, many of our patients use them to prevent injury or damage in the first place. If you have any of the structural problems listed above or are plagued with tendon problems in your feet and ankles, including chronic tendinitis, your feet are more prone to injury.
By using custom orthotics, you can shore up your feet, allowing them to function more balanced way, taking the pressure off of these weaker, more vulnerable areas.
While custom orthotics help improve the function of your feet, they also help line up your knee and hip joints. For example, if your arches have fallen or flat feet, you may have pronation, which means your ankles roll inward.
Conversely, if you have high arches, you may have supination, where your ankles roll out. In either case, your knees and hips feel the effect of this and have to adjust to accommodate the stance, causing them to become imbalanced.
Custom orthotics can provide you with a more neutral posture and gait, allowing your hips and knees to function as they were designed.
Traveling up your body, your spine can be affected by feet out of balance, causing low back pain. In fact, a small problem in your feet can have a widespread impact on your entire musculoskeletal system as each joint on the way up from your feet adjusts to accommodate an injury or irregularity. This ultimately leads to your spine at the core of your structural support.
By restoring balance to your feet with custom orthotics, Dr. Shelton can help your body line up better, alleviating the secondary issues, like back pain, that come with problematic feet.
If you’d like to learn more about the advantages of custom orthotics, please give us a call or schedule an appointment using the online scheduling tool.