When your foot or ankle is out of alignment, you may need prescription orthotics. These devices for your feet can ease the pain and help improve your biomechanics.
At Chicagoland Foot and Ankle, our team of board-certified foot and ankle specialists and surgeons regularly prescribe orthotic devices for our patients with a range of foot and ankle problems.
Between wearing supportive shoes and using custom-made orthotics, you can save yourself a lot of pain and put your best foot forward. Here’s what orthotics can do for you.
What are the types of orthotics?
There are many different types of orthotics, each one tailored to a particular condition and your individual needs. But there are two primary orthotic categories: functional and accommodative.
Functional orthotics correct foot alignment, repositioning the bones and soft tissues to prevent issues like Achilles tendonitis (inflammation of the Achilles tendon) and plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the band of tissue supporting the sole of your foot).
You don’t feel orthotics working, but they change your foot position in ways that eliminate pain and let your foot heal.
Accommodative orthotics protect weak or damaged areas of your feet or ankles, such as covering diabetic foot ulcers to prevent shoe rubbing. They pad and protect the specific areas most prone to problems, leading to decreased pain and discomfort.
Custom orthotics serve two additional purposes: They’re part of the recovery plan when you have chronic foot conditions or acute injuries, and they’re a key part of preventive foot care.
What types of orthotics might I need?
Custom orthotics are often used to relieve foot and heel pain, but they can also help with ankle, leg, hip, and even back pain that arise from an altered gait due to foot and ankle misalignment.
Here are a number of foot and ankle conditions and the orthotics that we may prescribe:
For bunions and/or bunionettes, we recommend shoes with a wide toe box; soft, seamless tops; stretchy materials; and a bunion shield to avoid unnecessary rubbing.
For corns and calluses that form on or between the toes, a toe separator can relieve the pressure.
If you have a cavus foot (a rigid, high arch), soft orthotic cushions can distribute pressure evenly across your foot.
Most children start out with flat feet but develop an arch around age five. For adults with flat feet that produce symptoms such as heel pain, irritated tendons, and an altered gait, we might recommend a semirigid insert or long arch pad, an inner heel wedge, and/or an extended heel counter.
Hammertoes or claw toes often accompany bunions, and the mid-joint of the affected toe can rub painfully against the top of the shoe. Shoes that have a wide or deep toe box to accommodate the deformity, as well as a toe crest, can prove helpful.
Neuropathic ulceration, such as occurs with diabetes, requires a full-contact, cushioned orthosis, extra-deep/custom shoes, and a rocker bottom sole to reduce pressure on the feet.
Plantar fasciitis, an irritation of the ligament that runs along the bottom of your foot and leads to heel pain may do well with a silicone, rubber, or felt prefabricated heel insert.
Creating your orthotics
To make your orthotics, we take measurements of your feet and make a mold so the finished product fits correctly. And we use only top-quality materials, including premium foams and carbon graphite, so your orthotics can last for years if you take care of them.
Orthotics aren’t only for sports shoes. We can create these effective liners for any type of shoe you wear, even high heels. It all depends on your needs.
If you have recurring or constant foot or ankle pain, or if you’ve injured yourself, it’s time to come into Chicagoland Foot and Ankle to discuss how orthotics can help. Give us a call at any of our locations, or book your appointment online today.
We’re located in the Mount Greenwood and Portage Park areas of Chicago, and Orland Park and New Lenox, Illinois.