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Orthotics for Foot Conditions

Custom Orthotics for feet

If you’re experiencing foot pain, orthotics may be your best option for relief. Orthotics are medical devices worn inside shoes to correct structural issues, help with gait problems or to deal with foot pain caused by medical conditions.

Research suggests that not only do orthotics provide relief from foot pain, but they also slow down the progression of osteoarthritis over the long term.

Conditions that may cause discomfort and painful feet include diabetes, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis or a congenital abnormality. Orthotics can also provide relief from pain associated with:

  • Plantar fasciitis,

  • Tendonitis,

  • Chondromalacia patellae and runner’s knee, and

  • Sciatica


How orthotics work

Orthotics help redistribute weight and reduce stress on your lower body. They usually require prescriptions from a physician or a chiropodist who will determine if a custom orthotic is the appropriate treatment following a thorough medical examination and assessment of your medical history.

Orthotic devices influence your foot’s micro-control of gait, which alters muscle activity and reduces stress. In other works, they ensure the alignment of your foot and ankle are in the proper position, which reduces stress on your body and back. Orthotics usually fit inside your shoe and aren’t visible to others.

Custom foot orthotics can vary flexibility and rigidity of your foot and lower leg. Some factors taken into consideration are:

  • Existing foot problems,

  • Type of footwear you’re accustomed to wearing,

  • Foot structure,

  • Occupation,

  • Lifestyle,

  • Posture, walking pattern and other biomechanical factors.


Type of orthotics

There are different types of orthotics, each made of different materials and intended for different purposes.

  • Rigid or functional orthotics:

    Made from plastic or carbon fiber, these are designed to reduce foot pain and strain, aches in the legs, thighs and lower back, or to help with postural adjustment.

  • Soft or accommodative orthotics:

    Made of soft compression materials, these devices provide cushioning that reduces pressure on sore spots caused by plantar fasciitis or foot ulcers.

  • Prefabricated orthotics:

    These are customized by a podiatrist for a client’s specific problem or concern.

  • Cushioning orthotics:

    These provide shock-absorption for the foot.


Adjusting to custom orthotics

Once you begin wearing foot orthotics, you should plan for a period of adjustment. Some people adjust very quickly, while others may take longer. At first, you may need to limit the length of time you wear the device(s). You may also want to refrain from wearing the devices while participating in physical activity.If you are experiencing foot pain that isn’t healing on its own, you should consult a chiropodist about a custom orthotic.
At Don Valley Health and Wellness Centre, we have chiropody experts on staff who can help relieve your foot pain using custom orthotics. Our physiotherapy and sports rehabilitation centre also has an in-house surgeon for lower extremity care. Visit our our website for more information or to schedule an appointment.