Its easy to see the benefits of orthotics when you understand your feet have direct impact on the rest of your body and support you with each step. A small abnormality in foot function can have a large impact on joints higher up in the body, causing pain and discomfort.
When you are running, the pressure on your feet can be three or four times your body weight. Even walking can produce more pressure than the sum of your body weight. The American Podiatric Medical Association says that the average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day. That adds up to about 115,000 miles in a lifetime or more than four times the circumference of the globe. That is a lot of walking with ill-fitting shoes or painful feet!! In some cases foot ailments can be an early signal of more serious medical problems like arthritis or diabetes. Women have four times as many foot problems as men because they have a long history of wearing high heels and/or pointy toe shoes. Orthotics and proper shoe fit are very important aspects of foot health. Remember if you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your ankles, knees or hip joints . . . the direct cause may be the function of your feet or ill-fitting shoes.
What are orthotics?
Orthotics or ‘Orthoses’ are inserts that comfortably fit into shoes; they are designed to support and improve the functioning of feet. Health care practitioners will prescribe them to patients suffering from chronic foot or lower limb problems or to athletes to help maximize performance during sport.
How often should I be wearing my orthotics?
Your orthotics should be worn every time you are on your feet — during work, at home and play. They are like eyeglasses, they work when they are worn. As soon as you take them out of your shoes or take your shoes off your feet, the stress and discomfort you experienced before wearing your orthotics is likely to return.
What do you recommend if the orthotics are hurting my feet?
During the first few weeks of wearing your orthotics, you may experience aches and pains in your feet and legs. This is normal and is an indication that they are working. Your body has been conditioned to accommodate feet that do not function properly; as a result, it may need time to adjust. If your discomfort persists beyond a few weeks, please contact your health care practitioner, your orthotics may simply need a minor adjustment.
Does the effectiveness of my orthotics rely on the type of shoes I wear?
Orthotics are most effective in shoes that are constructed well, fit properly and are in good condition. It is best to bring in your shoes when your health care practitioner is fitting you for them. Knowing the type of footwear you wear the most will help your practitioner prescribe the right style for your lifestyle. It is quite normal for some practitioners to prescribe two pairs for patients (ie. Dress and Sport). When shopping for new shoes, it is also best to bring your orthotics with you for fitting purposes.
Interesting Fact . . . 25% of the bones in your body are in your feet!
Your feet are a complex system of 52 bones, 66 joints, 214 ligaments, 38 muscles and tendons. It is no wonder that 75% of North Americans will experience foot health problems of varying degrees, at some point in their lives.
You could be walking in comfort with professionally fitted custom orthotics.
Most insurance benefits packages cover orthotics.