Misconceptions About Orthotics
THINK ORTHOTICS ARE JUST FOR THE ELDERLY?
Orthotics have somewhat of a bad reputation, so I’ve decided to debunk some of the common misconceptions out there.
Orthotics are basically a brace that’s inserted into your shoe to support and improve foot functions. Orthotics are helpful for certain food conditions and anatomies, but only when you confirm they can help the root-cause of your particular problem.
MYTH 1: ORTHOTICS ARE JUST FOR SENIOR CITIZENS.
Busted: Orthotics are not just for ‘old people’ wearing ugly orthopedic shoes.
Regardless of age, foot problems like painful arches, heel pain, bunions, callouses, pain from arthritis or diabetes can affect anyone.
Orthotics can prevent and treat conditions from children, adults and seniors. Early treatment might keep any problems from getting worse.
And you don’t have to compromise on shoes either!
Orthotics can be discretely fitted into new or existing shoes, including fashionable ones. It is important however to wear appropriate footwear.
A shoe acts as a foundation for the foot and provides a stable base for an orthotic to sit on. Orthotics come in a variety of styles to fit different shoes from dress shoes, heels, to running shoes. In addition orthotics can be custom made to soccer cleats, golf shoes and ice skates.
MYTH 2: CUSTOM ORTHOTICS ARE THE SAME AS OVER THE SHELF STORE BOUGHT
Busted: Your feet are different to my feet; your particular feet problems relate to your body. So it’s important to get orthotics that are customized to treat your specific anatomy and condition.
Custom orthotics can only be prescribed by a health professional. This happens after examining your walk (gait analysis) and a biomechanical assessment of your feet and lower legs.
The doctor then takes a three-dimensional model of your foot and an orthotic is made specifically for you. A range of materials are used from soft foam to hard plastic to make the orthotic. This provides support as well as cushioning in the exact proportions needed for your specific problems – something that can’t be achieved in a mass-produced, one-size-fits-all product such as Dr. Scholl’s insoles.
Because orthotics change how your foot moves and functions it is very important to get them right. By self-prescribing an off-the-shelf insert or orthotic you risk facing additional discomfort and potential damage.
MYTH 3: CUSTOM MADE ORTHOTICS ARE MORE EXPENSIVE
Busted: Basic over-the-counter foot orthotics are mass-produced and are typically cheaper than custom-made foot orthotics (at first glance). However, over-the-counter foot orthotics generally have a shorter lifespan so may end up being more expensive over time.
Without professional help you might purchase the incorrect product or one that is ill fitting. This could aggravate your foot condition instead of improving it.
Consulting with a health professional to get fitted for an effective orthotic will save you money over the long term.
MYTH 4: YOU NEED ORTHOTICS FOR FLAT FEET
Busted: Not all people with flat feet need orthotics.
Generally if your feet are pain-free then you won’t need orthotics regardless of whether you have flat feet. Your first step should be to check your shoes. Make sure you wear shoes with some structure and support to them.
You should consult with your doctor if you have any pain or discomfort in your feet. They will assess what the root cause of your problem is. You may need orthotics, or another treatment or intervention – one that is specific to your needs.
My experience with orthotics
Orthotics can be very effective at alleviating pain and correcting foot function but they must be customized to your specific foot anatomy and condition. As a chiropractor I prescribe and fit orthotics as needed as part of your treatment, which will generally also include strengthening and stretching exercises.
So if you have sore feet, give me a call at 604-439-1230 to make an appointment. I can take a look and determine whether orthotics may help you.
Dr. Kaila, DC