Our feet are like the foundation of our house – if they are “out of balance” or on unsturdy ground, it can cause problems! Custom Orthotics can help greatly reduce foot pain, knee, and hip pain and even lower back pain.
Sole Supports are custom-fit orthotics and provide a unique design in orthotic engineering. Unlike many other orthotics, Sole Supports support the foot and arch throughout the entire gait cycle (how you walk). The average orthotic provides support for only 10-20% of the time. This fact can be observed through a test called the Fowler test as explained below:
- Hold the orthotic against the arch
- Roll the foot forward up onto the toes (toe off position in walking)
- The orthotic should match up with your arch in this position as well as when the foot is on the ground
Sole Supports orthotics will remain in contact with your arch while many other brands of orthotics will show a space between the device and your foot. If the orthotic is not matching perfectly with your foot through the entire gait cycle, then there is less support provided to the foot and less shock absorption.
Sole Supports have an inherent flexibility providing shock absorption during dynamic activity (jumping, running, etc.). The orthotic shell is extremely durable and all of the correction is built into the device versus using external posting like many other orthotic brands. This external posting can wear down over time and then the orthotics need to be replaced much sooner.
Sole Supports come in a normal width and depth that are for tennis shoes, hiking boots, etc. There is no need to buy a larger size shoe – they are designed to fit your feet and shoe size. They are also available in a lower profile, narrower style for men’s and women’s dress shoes.
How to tell if you need orthotics
Orthotics can be part of a comprehensive treatment plan to address various symptoms, usually having to do with pain and discomfort of the feet and legs. Some of the goals a doctor may have for orthotic treatment include:
- correcting foot deformities
- helping the foot or ankle function better
- providing support to the ankle
- reducing the risks for further injuries
Orthotics are more than just a heel pad or shoe insert you can buy at most athletic stores. They’re highly customized shoe or heel inserts made for your feet. We will only recommend an orthotic if an off-the-shelf device or other treatments, such as exercises at home, haven’t proven effective.
What conditions are orthotics used to treat?
Doctors may prescribe orthotics to treat a number of medical conditions. Examples include:
- Arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can cause discomfort in the feet and poor positioning that orthotics may help to correct.
- Back pain. Sometimes poor positioning of the feet, such as arches that roll inward, or lack of cushioning can cause pain that orthotics can lessen.
- Bunions. Bunions are painful bumps that can develop at the base of the big toe and cause foot deformities. Orthotics with a wide toe box can help to reduce pressure on the big toe.
- Bursitis. Inflammation of fluid-filled sacs in the heels and toes can cause bursitis pain and discomfort. Orthotics with heel and arch support can help to reduce bursitis discomfort.
- Diabetes. Sometimes, a person with diabetes can lose sensation in their feet, a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. When this occurs, orthotics can help to reduce excess stress and pressure that can lead to foot ulcers.
- Flat feet. Flat feet can cause foot, ankle, and back pain. Orthotics can help to support the feet and promote proper foot positioning.
- Hammer toes. Hammer toes often occur as a side effect of bunions on the big toe. They cause second-toe pain and deformities on the ball of the foot. Orthotics can provide additional support to the feet and reduce the likelihood that hammer toes will worsen.
- Heel spurs. Heel spurs are conditions where excess bone grows on the back or bottom of the heel. Orthotics can support the foot and reduce inflammation.
- High arches. Very high arches can stress muscles in the feet and lead to a number of conditions, such as shin splints, knee pain, and plantar fasciitis. Orthotics can help prevent a person’s feet from rolling excessively inward or outward.
- Injuries. People who’ve experienced trauma to their feet and ankles may require extra support during the healing process with orthotics.
- Plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain. Doctors may sometimes recommend orthotics to support the heel and foot.
Do orthotics really help?
Orthotics don’t universally help all people with conditions that affect the foot and ankle. There are many complex considerations surrounding the effectiveness of orthotics, including:
- the training and experience of the person making the orthotic
- the doctor’s prescription
- the shoe in which a person wears them
- how often a person wears them
There are studies that support the use of orthotics for treating foot and ankle problems. However, many of them stress that the orthotic must be well-fitting and worn correctly, which is why we customize fit everyone.