You may not give much thought to the shape of your feet or the quality of your biomechanics, but the truth is that the structure of your feet (down to a few millimeters here, a few millimeters there) and the mechanics of your stride can have a profound effect on you. A wide variety of painful foot conditions, from heel pain and neuromas, to bunions and hammertoes, to forefoot pain and ulcers and more can all be caused, at least in part, by imbalances, misalignments, or defects in your foot structure.
That’s why custom orthotics are such a critical component of our practice. Specially designed to fit the feet of the user, a good pair of custom orthotics can provide substantial pain relief and prevent complications for a host of painful foot problems.
Why Custom Orthotics: When Store Bought Inserts Can’t Cut It
You’ve probably seen the advertisements on TV or passed by racks of them at the pharmacy: off-the-rack insoles that are supposed to provide extra cushioning and pain relief.
The truth is that, while such insoles can provide mild-to-moderate, often temporary improvement in discomfort, they can’t hold a candle to a fully custom orthotic. That’s because orthotics are custom-fitted and molded to the exact specifications of your individual feet, with measurements taken under the supervision of our trained podiatric specialists. Whereas store inserts are mass produced to roughly fit a handful of basic foot shapes, your custom orthotic precisely matches your 100% unique feet, providing just the right amount of cushioning, support, and even motion correction.
Custom orthotics are also a lot more durable than standard inserts, and can be adjusted over time if your foot shape changes. With good maintenance a custom orthotic can last years, making up for the higher initial cost. Furthermore, custom orthotics are often covered at least partially by insurance
Types of Custom Orthotics
Feet come in countless sizes and shapes, and so too do orthotics. Broadly speaking, though, they fit into one of two broad categories: accommodative or functional.
Accommodative orthotics are designed to accommodate an existing structural flaw so that it doesn’t cause pain any more. They typically do this by way of adding additional cushioning or support for arches and soles, cushioning shocks and redirecting friction and pressure away from trouble spots. Flat feet, high arches, calluses, ulcers, many types of heel or forefoot pain, and other uncomfortable conditions may be addressed with accommodative orthotics.
Functional orthotics are designed to correct biomechanically inefficient motion, such as overpronation or wobbly ankles. They are usually made of tougher, more semi-rigid materials than accommodative inserts, such as plastic or graphite. By restricting abnormal gait patterns and keeping your feet and ankles along the proper path, functional orthotics can help prevent falls, reduce pain, and treat certain sports injuries, such as shin splints or Achilles tendinitis.
Within these categories, the exact shape, size, construction materials, and other features can vary significantly based on your needs. A thorough evaluation with our podiatrists will help determine which type and style of orthotic will bring you the greatest relief.
Making the Best Choice for Your Foot Health
If you have serious and/or chronic pain or problems with your feet, including structural deformities such as bunions, flat feet, or high arches, in many cases a custom orthotic may be the best way to get you back up and moving again without pain or limitation. The right orthotic device can not only give you your life back, but can do so without need for reconstructive surgery or other invasive procedures.
Dr. Todd Stevens and Dr. Danny Gomez of Associates in Podiatry are highly trained to help you with any painful foot condition you may encounter, whether you need orthotics or not. To schedule an appointment, please call us at (609) 924-8333 to reach our office in Princeton, NJ, or at (908) 687-5757 for Roselle Park.