Foot orthotics became very popular, and arguably too popular in the past, followed by a trend towards the extreme opposite in recent years. However, they are still relevant and can be very valuable in managing one’s foot, ankle, and even knee pain for the right candidate.
What is the purpose of a foot orthotic? Primarily, we physical therapists, are recommending them to prevent excessive motion or to correct alignment to some degree that cannot be achieved through typical conservative methods alone. Abnormal foot mechanics as well of those at the hip and knee can lead to compressive, shear, and tensile stresses. Abnormal mechanics can be caused by muscle weakness, too much or too little joint mobility, and lack of dynamic stability. In result, one can develop joint and soft-tissue irritation. Long-term changes can include osteoarthritis, bone spurs, bunions, chronic tendinopathies, and plantar fasciitis among others. Also, one’s posture, more specifically the types that cannot be changed due to our DNA and development over the years (e.g. being knock-kneed or bow-legged) can contribute to these stresses. This population can possibly benefit from the correct customized orthotic.
In some cases, failure to respond to orthotic use may be due to an incorrect fabrication of the orthotic. And yes, sometimes, orthotics will not be effective enough. But how do you know? Visit your local physical therapist to get a thorough biomechanical assessment to determine if you can benefit from orthotics. We have several physical therapists at Howard Head Sports Medicine among our 9 clinics in Eagle and Summit County who are educated and trained to assess you properly. We can also make the orthotic in house presently at our US Bank location, which means less waiting! And make sure to bring those old orthotics with you to your initial visit!!!