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What You Need to Know About Custom Orthotics


custom orthotics

Foot problems from plantar fasciitis, arthritis, or fat pad atrophy can impact our daily lives, making simple things like walking or standing very painful. Fortunately, custom orthotics offer a personalized answer to address many foot issues. In this guide, we will deep dive into the different types of custom orthotics available, how they can help with certain types of foot pain, and more.


What You Need to Know About Custom Orthotics


What Are Custom Orthotics?

Custom orthotics are specially made insoles, worn inside of your shoes, that are custom fit to fit your foot. No two people's feet are alike, and custom orthotics are molded to fit your exact foot. Custom orthotics can address very specific foot issues and areas of foot pain. Custom orthotics are prescribed by foot doctors and other healthcare professionals.



How Do Custom Orthotics Work?

Custom orthotics work in several different ways. Custom orthotics can gently place pressure on certain areas of your foot, slightly changing your foot's alignment when standing or walking. This gentle correction of your foot's alignment can aid in relieving certain types of foot pain.


Custom orthotics can add padding around certain areas of your foot, relieving pain in areas receiving too much pressure.



Types Of Custom Orthotics

custom orthotics

There are two main types of custom orthotics. These include the following:


A. Functional Orthotics

Functional orthotics are designed to change slightly how your foot behaves when standing, walking, or running. By changing your foot's motion during these times, certain types of pain can be improved. Functional orthotics help stabilize the foot, preventing excessive motion and reducing stress on the joints.


B. Accommodative Orthotics

Accommodative orthotics focus on providing added cushioning and support, making them great for people with conditions like arthritis, diabetes, or neuropathy. These orthotics are usually are made from softer materials to remove pressure from certain points on the foot, lower friction, and increase comfort. Again, accommodative orthotics are especially important for people who are at high risk of developing a foot ulcer, or who have had a foot ulcer in the past.



Benefits of Custom Orthotic

custom orthotics

There are many benefits to being prescribed a pair of custom orthotics, they include:


A. Pain Relief

One of the big benefits of custom orthotics is pain relief. Certain types of pain caused by foot issues like plantar fasciitis, Morton's neuroma, arthritis, and fat pad atrophy just to name a few, respond well to custom orthotics.


This is because the orthotic can be built in a way to remove pressure or tension from these areas while you are standing and walking, which can then relieve pain. targeted support to the affected areas. By correcting biomechanical imbalances, custom orthotics reduce strain on muscles and joints, leading to decreased pain and improved overall comfort.


For painful joints, like joints affected by arthritis, very stiff material can be built into certain areas of the orthotic to stop motion at that joint and prevent pain.



B. Better Biomechanics

Custom orthotics are designed to improve foot and ankle biomechanics (how your foot moves and functions), promoting proper alignment during movement. This proper alignment helps place pressure properly throughout your feet.


This can also help relieve pain, improve certain calluses on the soles of the feet, and lower your risk of developing a foot ulcer if you have diabetes, neuropathy, or PAD.



C. Lowers Risk of Developing a Foot Ulcer

custom orthotics

Another important use of custom orthotics can be to offload or remove pressure from areas of the foot that have an active sore or ulcer. Custom orthotics can also be used to prevent an ulcer from forming in areas of the sole of your foot that are under very high prssure. People who are at high risk of developing a foot ulcer include people diagnosed with diabetes, Peripheral Arterial Disease, neuropathy, Charcot, and RA.


If you have been diagnosed with one of the above health issues, it is crucial to see a foot doctor or podiatrist regularly. During your visit, we can take your history, and do a thorough exam of your foot. If we see changes to your feet that are concerning, like redness, pain calluses, blisters, or an open wound. Or believe that custom orthotics would be something that will benefit you, and help you lower your risk of developing a foot ulcer, we can prescribe them in the office.


Having a foot ulcer can be life-altering. Chronic wounds, foot ulcers included can prevent you from being able to go to work or work in the same way you once did, especially if you have a job that is physically demanding.


A foot ulcer can be socially isolating, keeping you from hobbies, activities, and even being able to travel. This in turn can increase the risk of developing anxiety and depression.


A foot ulcer that becomes infected can lead to hospitalization and amputation, so it is critical to protect your feet in the best way possible, and custom orthotics are one way that we can do this for these patients.



How Can I Get Custom Orthotics?

custom orthotics

Getting a pair of custom orthotics usually involves a consultation with a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist or foot doctor. The process includes:


Assessment: The healthcare professional takes your health history, and does an exam, looking at factors like your foot type, your gait (how you walk), and any changes to your feet, or issues that we as foot doctors are trying to tackle or overcome.


Scanning: To create a custom fit, the foot doctor will use foam, plaster, or 3D scanning technology to capture the shape of your foot.


Customization: Based your foot mold or scan, and any current foot issues that you have, certain changes can be made to the orthotic before it is sent to the lab to be sure that your foot problems are being addressed. This includes the type of material that is used, placing special types of padding in certain areas of your foot, and other parts of the orthotic being cut out or removed. This list can go on and on.


Fitting: Once the custom orthotics are ready, the patient returns to the office for a fitting. The foot doctor or podiatrist makes sure that the custom orthotics are made correctly, according to their specifications, and that they fit the patient properly.



Key Takeaways

Custom orthotics are a great tool to use for people dealing with many types of foot problems. From functional orthotics addressing biomechanical problems to accommodative orthotics providing comfort and support for feet affected by chronic disease, the different types of custom orthotics cater to different needs. The benefits of custom orthotics include more than just possible pain relief, improved quality, and decreased risk of foot ulcers and or foot amputation in high-risk populations. If you're experiencing foot pain, or are looking to lower your risk of a foot ulcer or amputation, speaking with a foot doctor or podiatrist about custom orthotics could be a step in the right direction.



Schedule Your Appointment at Direct Podiatry Arizona

Wondering if custom orthotics are right for you? Are you looking for custom orthotics in Phoenix? My name is Dr. Tarr, and I am the owner of Direct Podiatry Arizona in Tempe. To book a free 15-minute consultation, click the link here.

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