What Are Orthotics?
Orthotics are shoe inserts intended to correct a medical condition that is causing you pain. Orthotics fall into two broad categories: custom and prefabricated.
As you may expect, custom orthotics are customized to the contours of your individual feet. In this case, we use a bio-foam impression to create devices that work for your unique foot structure. Certain foot issues, though, do not need a fully customized product. For this reason, our office also provides prefabricated orthotics. Naturally, Dr. Andrew Marso will discuss your options when you come in for treatment.
Custom orthotics are created in various shapes and sizes and from a variety of materials. The structure and material of the orthotics vary on the objective, or injury, it is trying to correct. They can be used to protect feet from injury, correct abnormal biomechanics, or combine protective function with motion control. Types of orthotics include:
- Soft Orthotics – Typically prescribed to absorb shock, this type of orthotic also helps increase your balance, and/or relieve pressure on sore or uncomfortable areas of your foot. Foot deformities (bunions, hammertoes), arthritis, and diabetic issues are all conditions that could benefit from soft orthotic devices. In order to provide superior cushioning, they are constructed from soft materials and may extend along the length of the entire foot.
- Rigid Orthotics – Whereas soft orthotics serve to decrease pressure and protect the foot, rigid models are used to restrict or control abnormal biomechanical processes. In order to do so, this type of medical device has a solid construction necessary for regulating movement. Rigid orthotics are constructed from plastic, carbon fiber, or other firm materials. They are often intended to be worn in walking or dress shoes and can help alleviate or eliminate foot pain, aches, or strain in the lower limbs.
- Semi-Rigid Orthotics – When you need both the cushioning benefits of soft orthotics with the motion-controlling aspects of rigid ones, Dr. Andrew Marso might prescribe a semi-rigid version. These usually combine layers of soft materials and are reinforced with rigid ones to provide structure, improve balance, and still offer a certain degree of cushioning. They are especially excellent for athletic use, and may be prescribed to athletes who experience pain while training or competing. Children with certain issues, including flatfoot conditions, can also benefit from this particular orthotic style.
What Issues Can Custom Orthotics Help Treat?
Since they are customized for your unique feet, orthotics can be used to treat a wide array of medical conditions, including (but not limited to):
- Flat feet. This structural abnormality does not typically cause pain on its own, but it can cause overpronation. Pronation is a normal process of rotation in your feet, but excessive rolling leads to ankle, knee, hip, and back pain. Custom orthotics help reduce the pronation by controlling motion in the feet.
- High arches. Foot arches that are too high also create problems, but orthoses can help them as well. If your feet supinate (do not roll enough), the extra pressure applied to the outer edges can lead to painful conditions. Fortunately, orthotics can be used to correct this condition and resolve any related issues.
- Neuromas. Excessive pressure from surrounding tissue onto a nerve—especially in the front of the foot—can cause burning sensations, numbness, and even pain. You may be prescribed certain kinds orthotics when treating this condition.
- Plantar fasciitis. This condition is marked by a sharp, stabbing heel pain that comes with the first steps of the day. It is caused by tiny tears occurring due to tension on your plantar fascia. Orthotic devices can offer the necessary arch support to prevent this from happening.
Your Source for Custom Orthotics
Wisconsin Foot Center is ready to help you with any foot or ankle condition causing you pain or difficulty. Custom orthotics might be the nonsurgical treatment option that works best, so ask Dr. Andrew Marso about creating or refurbishing a pair for you. Start your path to pain-free living by calling (414) 425-8400 to request an appointment at our Hales Corners, WI foot doctor office. You can also use our online form to connect with us today!
"Feel Good Feet: A User's Guide to Foot & Ankle Health"