If you have been fighting with foot pain from plantar fasciitis or any other kind of heel pain, you might have started to wonder if custom orthotics could help you to feel better. Your feet might even have become so sore that you can barely walk on them and are not able to go to work or enjoy your favorite activities. While it might seem like you can ignore foot pain, all too often it will slowly get worse and worse until you are not able to even walk around in comfort. It might be time to start shopping for the best custom orthotics.
For those who struggle with daily foot pain, there is a better option for your condition than just resting your feet and taking some pain medication. You might need some custom orthotics to help you to get back to doing what you love without experiencing any pain.
Orthotics are a custom solution for your foot care needs that is easy to order and easy to have delivered to your home address. Daily foot pain is not a normal part of life and no one should have to live with this kind of challenge on a daily basis. Read on to learn how to resolve your foot pain and get back to doing the things that you love.
What Are Custom Orthotics?
Orthotics are custom inserts that are placed inside your shoes to help balance and support your feet, your ankles, and your lower back. They might be made to help you support very flat feet, or they could allow you to walk and run with a more even gait. Orthotics can also take pressure off of painful joints impacted by bursitis and arthritis. Even diabetics can benefit from orthotics that will help them to avoid painful bone bruises, blisters, and sores that are not likely to heal due to their other health concerns.
Custom orthotics are made just for your feet and you will use them daily when you are wearing shoes. These tools can help you to alleviate your pain and support your feet so that you are not limited by foot discomfort caused by poorly fitting shoes. At the end of the day, not everyone’s feet fit into standard shoes. This is where orthotics can help you to be more comfortable all day long.
What Conditions Can Custom Orthotics Help Relieve?
Your orthotics will offer you more benefits than simply cushioning your feet. Many people incorrectly believe that orthotics are just like insoles. This is not the case and your orthotics can help you to tackle all kinds of difficult conditions that can lead to daily pain and discomfort that regular shoes exacerbate.
- Flat feet
- If you have very flat feet, you might struggle with Plantar Fasciitis, or you could have arch pain due to your shoes providing too much-targeted arch support for your foot shape. Flat feet are actually the hardest feet to get proper shoes for and basic insoles that can be purchased at the store will not help with the foot pain caused by this foot shape.
- Getting the right shoes for your very flat feet is not easy but custom orthotics can help you to enjoy pain-free workouts, walks, and periods where you have to stand up for a long time. Having flat feet might seem like a thing that you can’t change at all, but custom orthotics can improve your discomfort and make your daily activities enjoyable again.
- Heel Pain and Pain in the Ball of the Foot
- If you have been suffering from pain in your heels, this might be due to a gait issue that is caused by poorly fitted shoes. Many people are not aware of how their feet are moving through space and might not realize that their shoes are impacting their footfalls in a negative way. Any shoe that alters the heel strike and flight path of your foot can lead to pain in the balls of the feet or at the heel.
- When you get custom orthotics made for your feet, they will correct the travel of your foot through each step that you take. This will allow your feet to experience even pressure as you walk or run and can alleviate bruised heels and injured balls of the foot. Making sure that your foot is landing on the ground correctly and then traveling through your stride in a balanced way can make a big difference to your daily comfort.
- This painful condition happens when the bones in the middle of the foot are pressed against one another. This can cause pain when walking, running, standing, or even sitting down. This is sometimes caused by shoes that are too narrow for your toes to fit in them but might also have to do with high arches or a gait abnormality.
- Custom orthotics can help you to balance the weight that is being placed over the center of your foot and can allow you to spread your toes out enough to prevent this condition. Supporting the sole of the foot as well as the arrangement of the toes can make a big difference when this painful condition has become a reality for people. Even if you are not on your feet all day or you are not a runner, you could still end up with this painful condition due to abnormalities in your gait or the shape of your feet.
- You should always make sure that you are not wearing shoes that are too small if you have been diagnosed with this condition. This might not be the sole reason for your pain but it can often be a contributing factor that is easily resolved. Adding your custom orthotics to shoes that properly can help this condition to heal and to remain at bay long term.
- Bunions or Corns
- These are both painful conditions that impact the ball of the foot. Corns are usually caused by excessive rubbing that has happened near the toe of a shoe that does not fit well. A bunion is caused when the toes of your foot are compressed too much due to a narrow toe box in your shoe or a heel that is higher than the toes. You can actually get arthritis and permanent joint damage from bunions, which means that you will want to take action right away to resolve this issue before it causes permanent damage.
- Bunions and corns will not be an issue for you once you have custom orthotics for your daily use. You will be able to walk, stand, and run in comfort and without painful pinching against the toes of your feet. You might need to invest in shoes that have a wide toe box as well, but the painful pressure on the sides of the ball of your foot will be entirely alleviated by the orthotics in a shoe that is correctly sized for your needs. Make sure that you are not wearing shoes that are too small in an effort to make your foot pain more tolerable as this will make bunions and corns worse.
- Lower Back or Knee Pain
- As with the other conditions that custom orthotics can improve, low back pain and knee pain are often a result of incorrectly fitting shoes and shoes that do not support your feet correctly. If your heel strike and footfall patterns are not correct, you will be putting undue pressure on your low back and your knees as well. This can lead to injury or pain in the lower back and the knees. This is most common in runners but anyone with a need for custom orthotics might experience these symptoms.
- Custom orthotics will make sure that your feet are fully supported and that your strides are balanced correctly to alleviate pressure on your low back and your knees. When your feet remain in the correct alignment as you walk, you will not have to deal with low back pain and knee pain.
- There are other conditions that are less common but that can be supported effectively with custom orthotics. Things like hammertoe, heel spurs, and high arches can also need custom orthotics to support them and improve the pain associated with them. While there are many people who can wear shoes that are not custom-made for their feet, the reality is that a large segment of the population has the need for custom-fitted footwear.
Custom orthotics allow you to engage in your favorite activities without pain and with the kind of support for your feet that you would get from entirely custom-made shoes. Since it is not practical to have every pair of your shoes made to this very unique set of specifications for your unique needs, orthotics can take care of your feet and make sure they are comfortable all day long each day.
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What Foot Shapes Can Benefit From Custom Orthotics?
Custom orthotics can help you to attend to the needs of your feet if you have a unique foot shape or if you have a gait abnormality that causes you to experience foot pain. Sometimes the mismatch of the shape of your shoes and the shape of your feet can lead to gait issues that are not native to your feet as well. Having the right base of support for your feet can alleviate all of the pain and discomfort that comes from these issues related to the foot shape.
- Flat Feet
- Flat feet are often very hard to support without custom-made shoes or orthotics. When your feet are very flat, you might have trouble with proper gait and you might also be placing too much of the weight of your body onto the arches of your feet. The entire sole of the foot is not intended to be in contact with the ground at all times. This can lead to inflammation of the tendons and muscles that run across the bottom of the foot.
- When flat feet are not supported properly they can become very inflamed and can develop plantar fasciitis. You might also get heel strike pain that leads to bursitis or bone bruises. This is particularly true when athletes have to train and run and jump on flat feet. Flat feet can also cause the knees and lower back to become sore and inflamed due to the pressure that is being placed on the inside of the leg.
- When custom orthotics are used to support flat feet, the bottom of the foot is not in contact with the ground the way it would be when unsupported. This means that the heel is protected from pressure and that the knees and the lower back will not be pulled out of alignment during activities. Even standing on flat feet supported by orthotics will be much more comfortable and you will find that your plantar fasciitis will most likely go away.
- High Arches
- For people with very high arches in their feet, pressure on the ball of the foot and the heel of the foot can lead to joint inflammation as well as bone bruises. High arches can also cause knee pain and shin splints. And a high arch can be the culprit behind plantar fasciitis just as in flat feet. Heels are the most common site of pain for those with very high arches. But a lack of contact with the ground in the area of the arch of the foot can lead to severe discomfort in the tendons and ligaments of the feet.
- Supporting a high arch without custom orthotics can be very difficult. Simple arch supports are not really made for the job of supporting a very high arch and might actually make your discomfort worse. Running and jumping on high arches can also lead to soft tissue and ligament damage that can be hard to heal. People with high arches that are not wearing the right footwear with the right support might experience pain even when they are not standing up or being active.
- Custom orthotics can make it possible to support your high arches with ease and can keep your knees and lower back from becoming inflamed. Since it is more common to be aware of issues related to flat feet, many people are not aware that their high arches are just as big an issue as very flat feet. Custom orthotics can prevent injury in both situations and you will want custom orthotics for your high arches to prevent the same range of painful conditions that can plague those with flat feet.
- When you place more weight on the outside of the foot while walking or running, you can cause back and knee pain as well as increase your risk of damage to the bones of the feet. This condition can also cause problems with athletic performance and you might find that the heels and sides of the feet are quite painful. The ankles might also be prone to sprains when you have this gait abnormality and you could end up with painful shin splints too.
- This gait issue is usually diagnosed by looking for signs of wear on the sides of shoes but painful foot conditions can also lead to this diagnosis. Gait analysis might also turn up this problem and highlight it for the first time. Many people are not aware that they have gait issues since most of us are not aware of the way that our feet strike the ground as we walk around.
- Orthotics can help your feet to distribute weight more evenly when you are running or walking and can encourage your foot strike to happen in a more balanced way. Supporting the entire range of motion of the foot in each gait is important to prevent injury and foot pain. You might experience supination even if you do not have flat feet or a high arch in your foot.
- This condition happens when the weight of the stride is balanced too far toward the arch of the foot. Shin splints and painful balls of the feet are common, as are ankle sprains and strains and knee pain. This condition can also lead to back pain over time. Most people with pronation issues will find that their knees and shins are most painful compared to other parts of their foot or their back.
- Pronation is often diagnosed when an athlete submits to gait analysis but it can be diagnosed as a result of foot and ankle pain as well. It is common to find that pronation is a bit more obvious visually than supination and the wear patterns on the inside of your shoes can also indicate that this is the problem behind your pain.
- Custom orthotics can help balance your foot as you walk and run and can alleviate the pressure on the insides of your feet. Prevention of knee pain and shin splints is much easier with proper orthotics guiding your stride and the balanced weight on your feet will help with the pain in the balls of your feet. You will also likely feel more balanced when you are running since some people who suffer from pronation will feel like they are leaning forward as they run.
How Do I Wear Custom Orthotics?
Many people are concerned about adding orthotics to their shoes and causing a new kind of discomfort due to the change in their foot position and the support inside their shoes. There are some tips and tricks that you can use to make sure that your feet are comfortable right away when you get your custom orthotics.
- Start Slowly
- Wear the inserts two to three times a day for about a half-hour to an hour. This can be a good plan to follow for the first few days to get your feet used to this big change and to allow you to adjust to the new balance of your strides and your standing position. Let your feet tell you when they need a break and adjust the time that you wear your orthotics as needed.
- Increase Time
- Extend the time that you are wearing your orthotics over the next few days by about a half-hour each time. This will help you to get used to the new support in your shoes without causing pain. Be cautious about jumping right into very active things like running or jumping or sports. You want to let your feet adjust and the inflammation calms down before you start engaging in strenuous activity.
- Find Out Your Foot Size
- Make sure that your shoes are not too snug for the inserts to fit. Some people deal with foot pain because they have been buying shoes that are not the right size for their needs. If you are not sure if your shoes are too narrow or too short for your feet, you can go to a shoe store and get sized properly for shoes. This will tell you how wide the toe box and heel of your shoe should be and make sure that you have the right base for your orthotics to work their best.
How to Get Measured for Custom Orthotics
This is the easiest part of getting custom orthotics. You will get a fitting kit or foot impression box that will include everything that you need to get your orthotics made for you. All that is needed is for you to step into the foam mold box with even pressure to make sure that a mold of your feet is made correctly. You will then fill out the questionnaire that comes with your kit. This set of questions will tell your orthotics maker what kind of activities you prefer doing and will explain the kind of pain that you are feeling each day.
Getting measured in this way will ensure that you get the perfect orthotics for your needs and that they will be made just for your feet. This is the benefit of having a quality mold made of your foot and having the right style of orthotics delivered to you directly through the mail. No over-the-counter or generic insert will be able to do for you what these kinds of custom orthotics can do.
You will not need to know anything specific about your foot size to make the molds of your feet. The molds will perfectly capture the shape of your feet so that there is no guesswork involved in making you the perfect orthotics for your needs.
Caring For Custom Orthotics
Once you get your orthotics, you might be wondering how to care for them. After all, insoles are just slipped into each pair of shoes and they are never thought about again. You might realize that your orthotics will need better care than this but you might not be sure what you should do to take care of them.
Make sure that you never wash your orthotics in the washing machine or dry them in the dryer. This can happen if you are washing athletic shoes that have orthotics in them. This will damage your orthotics and might actually shrink them or warp them. Make sure that your orthotics are not cleaned in this way ever.
If you do need to clean your orthotics, you can wipe them off with a damp rag. You can use a mild detergent on the cloth but you will need to make sure that you get the soap out of the orthotics fully when spot cleaning in this way. You should always dry off your orthotics completely when you need to clean them with water so that they are not damaged by remaining moisture for too long.
Make sure that your orthotics are not left in hot spaces like a hot enclosed car or a hot storage area. This can lead to them getting too warm and melting out of shape. You will also want to wear socks anytime that you are wearing your orthotics so that the heat and friction of your feet against them do not ruin them. If your orthotics get wet, you will need to remove them from your shoes, dry them off and then let them completely air dry before you put them back into your shoes again or store them.
Fitting Custom Orthotics Into Your Shoes
Check to see if your shoes are wide enough for the orthotics. You don’t want them to be crimped or folded at the edges by your shoes. You might need to wear your orthotics with a lace-up shoe to get the best fit and support for the orthotic and your foot. When you are wearing the wrong size shoes and then you drop the custom orthotics into the too small or too large space, you will probably have issues with the fit overall for a different reason.
Find out if your shoes are the right size so that your orthotics will not be damaged by your foot sliding across them or by being folded and bent at the edges.
How Are Custom Orthotics Made?
You already know that you will take molds of your feet and that these molds will serve as the pattern for your new orthotics. You might be wondering how the orthotic will be made after the molds have been received.
The casts of your feet will be used to make decisions about the materials that will be used to make your orthotics. There are many different materials that can be used to make an orthotic and they might vary from a rigid item like thermoplastic or carbon fiber to soft and supportive materials that mold some to the sole of your foot. All orthotics are made up of layers of different materials that allow for the perfect shape and support for your foot.
The materials that are selected will be fitted into the molds that were made of your feet and sized appropriately. Usually, a design program is used to make some of the shapes for the harder portions of the orthotic that must be layered in between the supportive materials in the orthotic. A 3D printer will cut the pieces that are made of hard materials so they are the exact size and shape that they need to be for your foot.
When all the pieces of the orthotics have been cut to size, they are molded into one single item through the use of a convection oven. This ensures that the layers of the orthotic will be sealed together and that no moisture can get between the layers. This also makes sure that the edges of the orthotic will not fray or come apart at key pressure points.
When this process is complete, the orthotic is ready for use and will be sent to your home address. This is a much easier process than it was when custom orthotics could not be made with the help of computers. The process of making custom orthotics has become increasingly streamlined and precise as computer technology has improved significantly.
Custom Orthotics Can Improve Your Foot Health Immensely
If you have been diagnosed with any of the conditions that were discussed in this article or you are worried about a gait abnormality that has not yet started causing you discomfort, it is time to consider getting custom orthotics for your foot health needs. It is easier than ever to get sized and fitted for these custom foot care devices and you will be so relieved that your feet, knees, and back no longer hurt once you start using them.
Getting custom orthotics can make all the difference to people with a whole range of health conditions that cause foot pain. You should not have to suffer from foot pain or knee and back pain each day. Custom orthotics can change your life if you have been struggling with foot pain on a daily basis. If you have begun to believe that there is no solution for your foot pain and that you have to live with it for the rest of your life, custom orthotics can help!