Some items tend to get stigmas attached to them over time, especially when they’re medically related. Just see how many times an inhaler is used in media to signify “weakness” in someone.
That’s simply not fair, and the same goes for the use of custom-made orthotics.
Mention orthotics and people may still immediately conjure up images of clunky, boring footwear that slows you down or implies a shortcoming in someone. If you have orthotics, they think, you can’t operate at your best.
But here’s the thing: tools such as orthotics are used by a wide variety of people, and to great benefit. Orthotics are the reason some people do perform at their best!
When it comes to the why’s and how’s of orthotics, here are a few things you should know.
There Are Two General Types of Orthotics (for Many Uses!)
Custom orthotics can help with a wide variety of conditions and problems, most of which deal in pain or discomfort.
Functional orthotics are designed to help correct and control abnormal foot movements that may be causing problems. If your foot rolls too far inward when walking, for example (overpronation), a functional orthotic can correct your gait and properly redistribute your body weight as you walk. This can alleviate stress and pain that was being placed on areas of your feet.
Accommodative orthotics are designed more to provide cushioning, support, and protection to certain areas of the foot. This can help absorb excessive shock to an area, such as the heel, or keep “hot spots” such as bunions from becoming irritated and developing sores. This protection can be especially important for diabetic patients who may have high-pressure areas at risk of infection.
Orthotics are definitely not a one-trick pony. They come in a huge variety of shapes and are made out of many different materials including foam, leather, rubber, and plastic. It all depends on what your needs are and what would serve you best for movement and protection.
Athletes Take Advantage of Orthotics for Better Performance
The relief and correction offered by orthotics not only help make daily life better—they can also help athletes move more efficiently!
Correcting imbalances in biomechanics helps the body operate more naturally, with less energy being expended on stabilizing oneself. Feet and lower limbs that don’t hurt also don’t get fatigued as easily!
When it comes to specific sports, orthotics can have even more benefits. If you’re a runner, the shock-absorbing qualities of orthotics can be important, but so can their ability to align the forefoot for a better push-off in your stride.
Skiers can gain added stability in their boots. Basketball players can prevent their feet from rolling too far when moving on the court. Tennis players can gain added support for their side-to-side movements.
There’s nothing weak about orthotics in sports. If anything, they add more power. And this kind of support can translate to demanding jobs, too!
More People Use Orthotics Than You Know
If you have never seen many athletes—or anyone, really—in orthotics, that’s because the majority of them are hidden custom inserts within shoes.
And even when people are wearing full orthotic shoes, they’re not often the beige snore-inducers people tend to imagine. Orthotic and diabetic shoes come in a multitude of different styles and designs nowadays. Why should they not?
A Custom-Made Orthotic Is Made to Fit Your Needs
Form, function, materials, style. Custom-made orthotics are crafted with multiple factors in mind to provide the best benefits to you and only you. A store-bought insert might provide some small amount of relief, but it will never provide the full range of benefits a prescribed orthotic can!
That’s why, at Martin Foot & Ankle, we take all aspects of your lifestyle and needs when considering an orthotic for you. We want your orthotic inserts to not only provide you physical comfort, but the ability to get out and do what you love.
If you have a foot or ankle problem that is putting a hindrance in your day, call us toll-free at (844) 899-6961. Our five Pennsylvania offices are ready to schedule an appointment with you!