An orthotic is a foot pad or heel insert that is worn inside a shoe to alleviate a variety of aches and pains in the feet, ankles, legs, and knees. The orthotic realigns and supports the ankle, corrects foot deformities, and improves the foot’s function. For instance, an orthotic worn on the heel can help relieve pain from a heel spur as well as reduce the impact the foot and ankle experiences when running. The type of orthotic prescribed depends on the deformity of the foot, the problems in the ankle, and the severity of the symptoms.
Ready-made orthotics can be purchased at most pharmacies and can be cut to fit the wearer’s shoe. While they offer some relief, they are often made from less expensive materials, causing them to wear out quickly. Custom molded foot inserts are created using a computerized foot analysis to develop an orthotic that is customized not only for the patient’s foot, but for the way they walk, run, jump, or stand. While custom molded foot inserts are more expensive than ready-made orthotics, they last much longer and provide the added benefit of matching the foot’s needs precisely.
Wearing orthotics in the shoes has a nearly immediate effect on the wearer. With proper foot positioning and appropriate posture, the wearer often experiences a significant reduction in pain. When worn over the long term, studies have shown that the body begins to adapt to the new foot position and posture, creating long-term effects even when the person is not wearing the orthotic. For more information on custom molded foot inserts or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jonathan Thurm, contact Tower Podiatry for a consultation.