If you have foot problems, custom-made orthotics might be able to ease your pain or correct the condition.
Orthotics are medical devices made for your feet and designed to support and comfort them. They’re only manufactured after your podiatrist has evaluated and measured your feet, ankles, and legs. That’s because they’re meant not only to match your foot’s contours but also take into account how you move.
Orthotic devices serve many functions. They act as shock absorbers, remove pressure from painful areas of your feet and ankles, and prevent foot deformity or keep it from getting worse. They also better position your feet inside your shoes, improving the mechanics of your feet and lower legs.
At Chicagoland Foot and Ankle, our foot and ankle specialists use orthotics to help our patients with a range of podiatric problems. Here, we share some of the problems orthotics can treat, as well as how the different types of orthotics allow for customization.
Unless you just want some extra shoe cushioning or support, which you can get in any pharmacy, you need to see a podiatrist before you can get custom orthotics.
We examine your feet, watch your gait, note your difficulties, and assess the movement and function of your lower extremities. The exam’s results help us determine what type of orthotic will work best for you.
Prescription orthotics fall into three major categories:
Functional orthotics control abnormal motion of the leg and foot, in addition to any pain that results from that motion. They’re also good for treating repetitive or overuse injuries such as shin splints or tendinitis. They’re usually formed from a semi-rigid material like plastic or graphite.
Accommodative orthotics provide cushioning and support and are manufactured from softer materials than functional orthotics. They’re helpful for conditions such as diabetic foot ulcers and painful calluses on the soles of the feet.
Athletic orthotics allow for dynamic balance of the foot while running, jumping, or otherwise moving while playing sports, helping the foot perform its proper functions and allowing the supporting muscles and tendons to become more efficient.
These orthotics are generally made from layers of soft materials reinforced with more rigid materials.
What foot problems can orthotics help treat?
Orthotics can treat a range of foot and ankle complaints. Clinical studies have shown that prescription foot orthotics decrease foot pain and improve lower leg function.
At Chicagoland Foot and Ankle, we commonly recommend custom orthotics for these five conditions:
- Plantar fasciitis — inflammation of the tissue that runs along the sole of your foot
- Bunions — a misalignment of the metatarsophalangeal joint at the base of the big toe
- Diabetic foot ulcers — slow-healing wounds on the ankles or feet
- Morton's neuroma — nerve thickening between the third and fourth toes, producing pain on the ball of your foot
- Achilles tendinitis — inflammation of the tendon connecting your heel to your calf
Custom orthotics not only relieve the foot and heel pain from these conditions, but they can also help with ankle, leg, hip, and even back pain due to an altered gait.
If you’re dealing with foot and ankle pain, orthotics may be helpful in giving you the support and relief you need. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation with one of our podiatrists, call us at any of our locations (Mount Greenwood and Portage Park areas of Chicago, as well as Orland Park, and New Lenox, Illinois), or book online.