Orthotics for Heel Pain
Orthotic insoles for Heel Pain, Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis
Orthotic insoles (or orthopedic shoe inserts) are often prescribed for heel pain. Developed by podiatrists they are meant to correct our gait provide and improve our overall body posture. The reason why orthotics are widely used nowadays is the widespread occurrence of a condition called ‘over-pronation’. This is a case of fallen arches and rolling in of the ankles due to the hard, unnatural surfaces we walk on. Age, excessive body weight and weakened foot muscles contribute to over-pronation. This is why over-pronation is especially prevalent in people fifty years of age or older.
Over-pronation is not much of a problem for young people, but for older men and women it could cause heel pain, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, metatarsalgia, and even knee pain low back ache. To prevent these conditions from aggravating and to provide relief orthotics are often prescribed. They are an inexpensive way of controlling over-pronation and could be viewed as an investment in your future health.
Orthotics: the benefits
Orthotic insoles are inserted inside footwear in order to restore our natural foot function. Movement of the feet and legs are areas covered under the science of lower limb biomechanics which is an important area of research in foot care and treatment. Improper biomechanics of your feet could lead to knee pain, heel pain, and low back ache. Over-pronation is one such ailment of incorrect biomechanics of the lower limb.
Over-pronation as observed normally is caused by inward rolling of ankles, falling arches, and foot rolling. It has been estimated that nearly 70 percent of human beings suffer from varying degrees of over-pronation. Orthotic insoles are among the most effective methods of preventing over-pronation by helping to bring back your affected foot to its original alignment with the ankle. A sustained use of these inserts in your footwear over a definite period of time is bound to yield positive results. As the foot goes back to its original alignment and begins to function normally, the affected parts like lower back hips and knees get relieved from chronic pains.
Orthotic insoles and regular insoles compared
The basic difference between orthotic insoles and ordinary ones is in their functionality. Orthotics are specifically created to correct foot alignment rather than providing comfort as the ordinary insoles do. Particularly designed for regulating foot function, the material used in making orthotics are more rigid and tougher. In contrast, ordinary footwear insoles are made of spongy material specifically meant for lending a cushioning effect to your feet. Many normal shoes are designed with arch supports but these are usually soft and do not have enough curative value.
As compared to one or two arches found in regular insoles, the number is much more in orthotic inserts. This helps in a more uniform weight distribution throughout the surface of your foot and protects the more sensitive areas like the ball, heel, and bunions. Another important function of orthotic insoles is maintenance of proper alignment of your foot with the ankle to make them both function efficiently. Orthotic insoles also have limited shock absorption capabilities. Using these insoles regularly would keep your feet free from pains and give a proper balance to your body movement.
Orthotics: pre-made vs custom-made
A few decades ago, orthotics could only be obtained from a podiatrist (foot specialist) or an orthotist. They had to be specially made for the patient, based on their individual requirements, using a foot mold: an expensive and time-consuming process! From the 1990′s new materials and methods were discovered to make foot orthoses faster and more affordable. Custom-made orthotics are still being used, however they have been ‘taken over’ by the s0-called pre-made or off-the-shelf orthotics. Usually they are made of a strong foam such as E.V.A – other materials used are P.U and gel. The advantage of these pre-made orthotics is not just speed and cost, they are also comfortable to wear and no ‘break-in’ time is required i.e. the patient will get used to these devices almost immediately. A full range of orthotics is available for sports, diabetes, high heels, young children etc.