How Do Orthotics Help Get Rid Of Heel Pain?

Success can be a pain

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The word orthotics is derived from two Greek words: “ortho,” meaning straight or correct and “tics,” which means shoes. Orthotics are custom-made shoe inserts that can help with foot problems such as plantar fasciitis or bunions. 

The inserts may be made of foam and plastic materials to provide support for the arch of your feet if you have a high instep; they also offer protection against slippage inside sneakers.

How can orthotics help?

Orthotics are frequently used as part of a treatment plan for a variety of foot and ankle issues. A doctor, for example, may prescribe orthotics in conjunction with other treatments such as more supportive shoes and physical therapy exercises.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium may also be prescribed by a doctor to alleviate pain and inflammation.

Doctors frequently recommend orthotics in conjunction with these treatments because orthotics can correct improperly positioned feet. Overpronated feet, for example, roll slightly inward or downward. This is usually the case for people who have extremely flat feet. Wearing orthotics can help provide additional support.

Orthotics can also provide extra support and cushioning in sensitive areas of the foot, such as the heel or ball of the foot. Because orthotics are custom-made, the person who creates them will take into account the individual’s footwear requirements.

In an ideal world, orthotics and other treatments would assist a person in avoiding more invasive treatments, such as surgery.

How to Determine Whether You Need Orthotics

Orthotics can be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan to address a variety of symptoms, most commonly pain and discomfort in the feet and legs. Some of the objectives that a doctor may have for orthotic treatment include:

  • repairing foot deformities
  • assisting the foot or ankle in performing better,
  • providing ankle support
  • lowering the risk of further injury

Orthotics are more than just a heel pad or shoe insert that can be purchased at most sporting goods stores. They are highly personalized shoe or heel inserts made specifically for your feet. Your doctor will only recommend an orthotic if other treatments, such as at-home exercises, have not proven effective.

Types of orthotics for feet

Orthotics can be made from a variety of materials. A doctor will write a prescription for an orthotic material based on a person’s condition and symptoms.

  • Orthotic materials can range from rigid — typically made of carbon fiber or plastic — to accommodative, which is very flexible and cushioning.
  • Some orthotics are full-shoe inserts, much like the insoles found in many athletic shoes. Others are a smaller heel insert that fits into the back cup of the shoe.
  • Ankle-foot orthotics are another option that has not only a shoe insert, but also an upright portion that extends from the heel upward and around the calf.

Orthotics may be prescribed in conjunction with braces, other shoe inserts, or taping, such as kinesiology taping, by doctors.

How a podiatrist diagnoses problems?

If you have severe foot and heel pain, you should consult a podiatrist, a doctor who specializes in foot conditions. They will first inquire about your symptoms. When you first notice the symptoms, what makes them worse, and what makes them better are some of the questions you may be asked.

  • Your podiatrist will then examine your feet physically. They’ll look for deformities and particularly painful areas.
  • The doctor will probably ask you to walk and do other activities to see how your feet and ankles are positioned during certain exercises. Some doctors may even have special imaging or walking pads. These images will show how and where your feet strike the ground, as well as your calves.
  • They may also advise you to have traditional imaging of your feet done, such as an X-ray, bone scan, or MRI. This can assist them in determining areas of arthritis, damage, or injury.

When making treatment recommendations, a doctor will consider all of these diagnostic methods, including the possibility of prescribing orthotics.

Remember, The 3 Arches of Your Feet Still Need Support!

Maybe you have already felt the first symptoms of balance disorders or you want to prevent them from appearing in the first place. Consider getting a foot orthotic device or simply take care of your feet. Start by washing them thoroughly with a gentle soap whenever you take a shower. Being a very complex support system, your feet are your first line of defense against balance-related issues, since their arches provide you with the stability you need in your daily life. It’s time to put your foot down and push back against balance issues. With both feet on the ground, dedicate yourself to keeping them comfortable and healthy. Give us a call and we will scan your feet to make you custom orthotic inserts.

The Shoe Doctor has specialized in providing custom orthotics for 20 years. The right orthotic insoles can greatly reduce foot, knee and hip pain while increasing performance and comfort. Russell at The Shoe Doctor will help educate and assist you in finding the perfect solution for your particular situation. We will create a 3D map of your feet and make custom orthotics for your hiking boots, everyday shoes, and everything else in between. These orthotics, along with our expert advice, will get you using orthotics like a pro, and have you performing at the peak of your abilities in no time!  If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, give The Shoe Doctor a call to get the best custom orthotics in the area! We are here to assist you, schedule your free consultation here!


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Russell Pate

Russell has been a Certified Pedorthist for over 28 years.

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