Frequently Asked Questions About Orthotics

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How do I know if I have a problem?

The symptoms of poor foot mechanics can include any one of the following:

  1. Localized foot pain

  2. Bunions, hammertoes

  3. Arch/heel pain

  4. Leg/knee pain

  5. Hip or back - even neck pain

Why do I need orthotics?

Orthotics are preventative medicine. Everyone can benefit from using the device, whether the goal is to help alleviate pain caused by a medical condition or add comfort to a shoe.

Will my insurance cover the cost of the orthotics?

Many insurance companies will cover the cost of orthotics.  It is recommended that you call your insurance company and ask them if they need to be prescribed by a chiropodist, physician, or podiatrist first and ask whether your company allows a chiropractor to make them.

How do I know if I need orthotics?

There are many reasons why someone would invest in a pair of orthotics.  However, it would help if you had orthotics:

  1. If you participate in any activity that places stress on your feet.

  2. If you have a noticeable imbalance that causes such symptoms as flat or high arched feet.

  3. If you have external misalignments such as bow knees, knock knees, pigeon-toes, or "duck feet."

  4. If you have already developed chronic foot problems, ranging from corns and calluses to arch pain and heel spur pain.

  5. If your job requires being on your feet for extended periods.

How can orthotics improve sports performance?

Athletics make demands on the feet not encountered in regular daily activity. Slight imbalances in the foot not dangerous or detectable under everyday circumstances may cause you to be prone to injury with the extra stress of sports activity. By eliminating the need for your muscles to compensate for these "hidden" imbalances, orthotics reduce fatigue and promote the kind of efficient "muscle memory" that's crucial to outstanding performance. By aiding your control of foot movement, custom-fitted orthotics also maximize the biomechanical function not only of your feet but of your legs and torso, as well.

Do orthotics help people with high arches?

Yes. If you have a "cavus" foot (on with high arches), a functional orthotic will provide a greater contact area for your foot and spread the weight-bearing surface more evenly. Orthotics can contribute to the healing of calluses in the foot (hyper supination), improving control and lateral stability.

What causes foot problems?

The primary cause of foot problems and related conditions is a skeletal imbalance. Most people have some degree of hyperpronation (flat feet) or hyper supination (high arches). These structural imperfections cause a certain amount of instability during foot function, subjecting the foot to excessive stress and strain that can eventually cause pain and deformities. The higher the imbalance, the earlier these symptoms will become evident. Orthotics compensate for the inherent shortcomings in the foot, improving function and relieving or preventing the appearance of such symptoms.

Does excess weight cause or aggravate foot problems?

Definitely. Additional stress to feet magnifies existing imbalances and increases symptoms. Anyone with a weight
the problem can benefit from orthotics.

Can foot imbalances cause leg, knee, hip, and back pain - and can orthotics help?

Yes. Poor skeletal structure in the feet puts stress on the entire skeletal system and reduces shock absorption.

That's why you will hear people say, "When my feet hurt, I hurt all over." By improving foot function, orthotics can relieve stress in the ankles, legs, knees, hips, and back.

How can orthotics help with my back pain?

Your feet have a direct impact on the rest of your body.  Like the foundation of a house, your feet support the weight of everything above them.  When a small problem develops in your feet, a subtle change in the way you walk will cause a chain reaction of adjustments in your posture and walking mechanics.  These changes can put stress on joints higher up in your body and lead to more severe problems.

Will orthotics correct my foot problem?

Orthotics will control your foot's position and motion, which may prevent the development of pain and disability and the development of additional deformity. Orthotics will not change the underlying structure of the adult foot. If they are not worn, abnormal function will immediately return. In a sense, they are analogous to dentures. If you remove, then you can no longer properly chew your food.

After wearing my orthotics, my legs and back were sore. Is this normal?

Some people develop discomfort in the foot, leg, or lower back when they first wear orthotics. This is normal and is due to a realignment of the whole lower extremity and pelvis. Muscles and ligaments have to readjust to this new alignment. When they do, the discomfort disappears. Most patients never have any "break-in" discomfort. When it occurs, it usually goes away in two or three weeks. If the pain occurs, it is advisable to gradually "break-in" your new orthotics. Persistent discomfort may necessitate an adjustment to your orthotics.

What type of preparation goes into making them?

The process starts with the casting of your feet in what is referred to as the "neutral position." After casts of your feet are made, a determination is made about which materials are best suited for your situation, taking into account your activity level and the intended purpose of the shoes you plan to put them. Blanks are then custom-moulded using the impression from your cast. The product is then "posted." This process helps keep the orthotics (and thus your feet) stable in an anatomically correct position. Upon completion, the Orthotics are then placed in the client's shoes, replacing the standard foam "sock liners" usually sold with most shoes.