Foot Pain Management Using Orthotics

Often taken for granted, our feet are one of the most important parts of our bodies. They bear our weight and help us move from place to place. Except for bathing, cutting the nails, and putting on our shoes many of us take little notice of our feet until they are in pain. There are many kinds of foot pain. One of the most common is plantar fasciitis, a type of heel pain. When your feet are in pain it is time to see a podiatrist for help with foot pain management using orthotics.

If you feel stabbing, burning, and aching pain in your feet, you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis. Wearing poorly fitting, improperly cushioned shoes, working out obsessively, or performing strenuous labor may cause this condition. Health problems such as arthritis and diabetes may also contribute to this problem.

It is important not to put off treating your foot pain. Putting off treatment will only make things worse. What started off as a minor ache will develop into a chronic problem. You may notice a change in your gait as your body works to counteract the pain in the foot. This unnatural change in your movement can cause further complications such as the back, knee, and hip pain.

In many cases, you may be able to treat the pain with home remedies such as icing, resting the affected foot, and changing your physical activities. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be taken for pain and inflammation. If those treatments are not enough, a visit to the podiatrist may be in order.

The podiatrist will examine your feet to rule out the possibility of other problems such as Achilles tendonitis and heel spurs. If you have not put off the doctor’s visit too long, he will likely suggest a course of foot pain management using orthotics.

Orthotics are devices inserted into the shoes to correct foot problems. We have all seen the cushioned insoles and heel cups for sale at a variety of retail stores. However, those are not nearly as effective as the custom-made orthotics prescribed by your podiatrist to meet your specific needs.

Orthotics fall into two broad categories. Functional orthotics are made from advanced plastic materials and used to correct problems such as deformities and flattening of the arches and act as shock absorbers during walking and running. They also prevent injuries from repetitive overuse of your feet. Accommodative orthotics include braces, splints, gait plates, and night bars usually used to correct walking problems in children as well as supportive devices designed to relieve mild pain and correct mild foot problems.

Once the doctor has determined which type of orthotics is right for you, a cast will be made of your foot that duplicates any misalignments or deformities. Using the cast and the aid of a computer, technicians will create an orthotic specific to your foot that will correct misalignments and balance out deformities. Once the orthotic is completed, it will be placed into your shoe to align your foot and give it the proper support. If necessary, the orthotic will be padded to make it more comfortable and properly cushion your foot.

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