Orthotics are specially designed insoles that are worn inside the shoe to control abnormal foot function and/or accommodate painful areas of the foot. These can be either commercially made or custom made to one’s foot. Orthotics help the impaired foot function, by controlling abnormal movement across the joints of the feet. For example, poor shock absorption of the foot may be caused by excessive pronation (flattening of the foot) or excessive supination (where the arch is too high).
There are many common symptoms that may indicate misalignment of the feet. You may be a candidate for orthotics if:
- one side of the sole of your shoe wears out faster than the other;
- you frequently sprain your ankle;
- you have chronic heel, knee or lower back pain;
- you have pain in the ball of your foot with or without calluses;
- your shins hurt;
- your toes are not straight;
- your feet point inward or excessively outward when you walk; or
- your feet hurt in general.
It’s important to note that your feet shouldn’t hurt. Pain is the body’s way of warning you something is wrong. If you ignore your pain, the condition causing it could become worse. Relief is closer than you think. In some cases, painful feet can be treated with modalities such as ultrasound, massage, and TENS therapy. Many people would benefit from a prescribed custom-made orthotics to support the foot, redistribute weight and absorb shock.
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