Orthotics for Foot and Ankle Relief
When it comes to our feet and ankles, mechanics are essential—and orthotics can provide the support and guidance to help everything run more comfortably.
Whenever we walk, run, jump, or just generally move from one place to another, it requires the cooperation of a multitude of parts in our feet and ankles. This includes bones (more than a quarter of which are in our feet), muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissues.
Moving can feel simple, but you’re using an intricately designed organic machine to do it!
So when something is even slightly off in the structure of your feet, it can have repercussions throughout the entire “machine.” The way that weight is redistributed across the foot can become skewed, placing excess force and strain on certain areas of the feet.
Sometimes, this is not a problem. Other times, however, it can become a very big deal. Strained areas can lead to discomfort, pain, and injuries. For example, you may be more susceptible to plantar fasciitis and the daily morning heel pain that comes with it. Or, if you have a bunion, the force placed upon it can accelerate its progression.
When a structural abnormality such as flat feet, high arches, or a toe deformity affects the function of the foot, orthotics can be one of the means through which comfort and more efficient movement can be restored.
How Orthotics Work
Orthotics for your feet most often come in the form of inserts that can be placed within your shoes. They can be made from different materials depending upon their intended functions.
- Accommodative orthotics tend to be made of softer materials, with the purpose of taking pressure off strained or sore areas.
- Functional orthotics tend to be made of harder, more rigid materials, with the purpose of providing more control over how the foot moves.
An orthotic can have elements of both types, dependent upon need.
Orthotics also come as pre-fabricated devices, or can be custom-made to exactly fit the shape and needs of one’s foot.
Custom orthotics will be the preferred option in most cases, but pre-fabricated orthotics can also be very useful. If you are still considering whether custom orthotics may be best for you—or are waiting for a custom pair to be finished—we can provide pre-fabricated options in the interim.
Pre-fabricated orthotics are not as likely to provide maximum relief as orthotics made especially for your foot shape. However, any relief that can be provided is often welcome; and there are some (usually more minor) cases where they provide full support and comfort.
Are Orthotics Right for Addressing Your Foot Pain?
Orthotics can be a very useful tool in many situations—but not all. Some cases may include orthotics as part of a comprehensive plan along with stretching, footwear changes, and other methods. Some cases may not benefit from orthotics at all.