If you suffer from heel pain, your podiatry clinic may prescribe foot orthotics as a method of treatment. What exactly does this mean, and how will it help you?
What they are
Foot orthotics are inserts that fit into your shoes under your feet. They may be soft and sponge-like or much firmer than the soles of most shoes, according to the kind of treatment you need. They are typically made of EVA foam or some type of plastic or acrylic and are not uncomfortable to wear. They should not be confused with arch supports, which only support the foot beneath the arch. Orthotics are designed to support the entire foot.
How they work
Foot orthotics are designed to support and correct all the parts of the foot, including the bones, the muscles, the ligaments, the tendons and the fibrous tissue at the bottom of the foot known as the plantar fascia. If any of these are experiencing undue pressure, it can lead to pain in the heels and other parts of the foot. Foot orthotics will move the foot into the correct position, compensating for the strains which have caused the injury. This will help the foot to function properly and support the body without any problems.
How they are prescribed
Your podiatrist will make a thorough biomechanical assessment of how you are using your feet. They may use a diagnostic treadmill that will show the pressures on your feet as you walk and move around, as well as any problems with your posture. This will then be fed into a computer to analyse the results.
How they are made
Using the results of the assessment, your podiatrist will be able to custom-make inserts for your shoes which will be matched both to the size of your foot and to the particular problems which you are experiencing. It will take into account such factors as the size and type of the problem, your weight, the level of activity you usually participate in, the amount of correction and treatment that is needed and any other factors tailored to your own convenience. The aim is to produce inserts that will be effective in treating your particular problem, whilst remaining comfortable and convenient enough that you won't be tempted to do without them.
If you suffer from heel or foot pain, foot orthotics may be the solution to your problem. Just get in touch with your podiatrist, and you will be on the road to a full recovery.
For more information on podiatry, contact a podiatrist.