Do you have a foot deformity that needs correcting? Does your ankle or foot not function the way it should? Do you need extra ankle support? Do you have an injured foot that needs to be protected from further injury? Your doctor may decide that orthotics are a viable part of a comprehensive treatment plan to fix these problems.
What Are The Benefits Of Wearing Orthotics?
The purpose of orthotics is to provide both relief and comfort for minor foot and heel pain. It can prevent uncomfortable conditions such as foot ulcers, corns, or calluses.
Other reasons why such devices might be utilized may help with providing more support for the foot or to possibly aid in the correction of any balance problems that may be present. However, orthotics cannot fix chronic biomechanical problems in your feet.
How Do You Know If You Need Orthotics?
There are seven main symptoms that could mean you need orthotics. Discuss it with your doctor.
- Constant foot pain or swelling. If your feet swell up or are in pain for seemingly no reason you may need to see a podiatrist. Orthotics and exercise may be the solution.
- Sharp heel pain. This is the first symptom of plantar fasciitis. Custom orthotics ease the symptoms by offering extra arch support or heel cushioning.
- Flat feet or high arches. Arches that are too low or too high can cause ankle instability and Orthotics can take off the pressure.
- Balance problems. Balance problems can be due to collapsed arches. Orthotics can provide stability to correct problems with balance.
- Leg injury. If you hurt one or both of your legs, this can seriously affect how you walk. An orthotic can help your feet stay properly aligned.
- Foot complications from diabetes. Someone with diabetes may find that orthotics help in correcting their gait and provide arch support. Plus, they evenly distribute pressure across the foot.
- Your shoes wear unevenly. If your shoes wear more on the inside it may be a sign of pronation. If they wear more on the outside it could be supination.
Types Of Orthotics
There are orthotics that are made for the purpose of correcting every part of the body. Here are the ones made for parts below the knees:
- Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFO) This would be a protective external device that is applied to the ankle to keep it from being injured or injured further or to help with chronic joint instability while walking.
- Foot Orthotic This is often prescribed to correct a misshapen or deformed foot. It will also aid in relieving areas of pressure on the foot.
- Diabetic Shoes and Inserts Diabetics who suffer neuropathy, frequent calluses, bad circulation, and a history of ulceration may qualify to receive these from Medicare.
- Prosthetics This is used as a replacement for a foot that had to be amputated. There are prosthetics for below the knee and above the knee.
Orthotics Vs. Insoles
Orthotics and insoles alike can both be utilized to cushion your feet and deliver arch support. However, orthotics will be more successful. This is largely due to the fact that orthotics, unlike insoles, can also be utilized to correct the way the patient stands and walks. Orthotics are also on the whole longer-lasting than insoles.
Custom Orthotics Vs. Store-Bought
You get what you pay for here. Custom orthotics cost more but are more durable and last longer. However, it does take about two weeks for custom orthotics to be made while store-bought ones are ready to go right away.
If you need an orthotic right away for a short time and don’t want to spend too much, a store-bought one is a way to go. However, if you have plantar fasciitis, a custom job may be the way to fix it. Customs should only be considered if your pain is chronic.
How Long Do Store-Bought Orthotics Last?
Usually, orthotics will last around five to six years. However, extra padding can be changed as needed.
How Long Do Custom Orthotics Last?
This can vary wildly based on how they were constructed and how often they are used but usually, they last a year or five. Some last ten or even twenty years.
Do Custom Orthotics Really Work?
Orthotics are really only worth the trouble if you have serious foot problems. Diabetes, arthritis, plantar fasciitis, and metatarsalgia are all conditions that can be modified with orthotics.
What Are Custom Orthotics Made Out Of?
Rigid polypropylene plastic is widely used as is graphite. Neoprene is used for cushioning. Silicon is often used as well.
Are Custom Orthotics Better Than Over The Counter?
Both custom orthotics and over the counter arch supports are recommended. Most patients go for OTC devices as they are less expensive, comfortable, and immediately available. However, some may find that a custom orthotic better meets their specific needs.
How Much Do Custom Orthotics Cost From A Podiatrist?
On average, customs can cost anywhere from $400 to $600. Without a prescription, you can get do-it-yourself customs for $100 to $200. Insurance may be able to defray costs somewhat. Off the shelf orthotics only cost between $10 or $80.
Why Are Custom Orthotics So Expensive?
Custom anything is pretty pricey. Customization is a lengthy and complicated act. There are also materials to consider. They are more high quality.
Does Insurance Pay For Orthotics?
Some forms of insurance may at least help to pay for your orthotics, provided they were required by prescription. Read the fine print. If you get over the counter orthotics, your insurance provider may see them as no different from a bottle of aspirin.
As for Medicare, if your condition meets certain requirements they may help. Diabetics stand a good chance. Medicare Part B can cover as much as eighty percent of the cost.
How Often Should Orthotics Be Replaced?
As often as needed. If your orthotics no longer relieve your pain, it’s time to replace them.
How Do You Know When You Need New Orthotics?
If you are in pain and the orthotics don’t work as well as they used to, it’s time to replace them. If they are damaged in any way they should be replaced immediately.
Can You Put Orthotics In Any Shoe?
For the most part. An orthotic will likely fit running, walking, and hiking shoes alike. Fitting dress shoes, sandals, or specialty sporting shoes may be more difficult.
Do You Need Bigger Shoes For Orthotics?
Your shoes should always fit your feet, even if you are inserting orthotics. If your footwear is made to work with a custom orthotic device, you will not require shoes that are bigger to accommodate your orthotics.
Should You Remove Original Insoles When Using Orthotics?
The primary thing to know about slip-in orthotics is that you need to wear them over the original insoles of your shoes. A few custom orthotics need you to take out the insoles of your shoes. Then you can just slip in the orthotics so that they rest snugly against the heel end of your shoe.
How To Put Orthotics In Shoes?
- Start by removing the existing insoles or footbed.
- Should your orthotic be too long, you can trim the soft top cover down with scissors. The existing insole or footbed can be used as a template.
- Select shoes that have extra depth, not length or width.
- Select shoes that are adjustable; e.g., shoes with laces, Velcro, or buckles.
How To Wear Orthotics In Running Shoes?
It is not heavily recommended to wear orthotics in running shoes. Often in these cases, the cause of the pain is poor running shoes. Orthotics will not make a poor running shoe a good one.
How To Keep Orthotics From Slipping?
Taking out the insole helps. If that doesn’t quite do it, maybe double-sided tape needs to come to the rescue. A little bit of Velcro can do the job too.
Should I Wear Orthotics All The Time?
Eventually, you will be able to. It may take a while to get used to them at first, though.
Should I Wear Orthotics When Exercising?
For the first six weeks of your orthotic therapy, start by doing exercises that will help the soft tissue adjust to the changes. Afterward, you should be able to wear the orthotics for at least half of your routine.
How Long Does It Take For Orthotics To Work?
This is all dependent on your unique circumstances. It may take two or three weeks to get used to them.
Should Orthotics Hurt At First?
It may be somewhat odd or uncomfortable at first. Speak up if it’s real pain. It shouldn’t feel any worse than a small, hard ball applying a good deal of pressure to the arch of your foot.
How Do You Know If Orthotics Are Working?
Listen to your body. Is the pain that drove you to wear orthotics going away? It means the orthotics is doing its job. Keep wearing it as long as your doctor says.
Do Orthotics Work For Flat Feet?
It may be a viable alternative to surgery.
Do Orthotics Help Bunions?
This depends on a number of factors. If the cause of the bunion is an uneven gait, an orthotic may be what you need to correct it.
Are Orthotics Good For Plantar Fasciitis?
This condition can be ameliorated by custom orthotics.
Do Orthotics Help Back Pain?
Foot orthotics can aid in the management of lower back pain by stabilizing the position of the feet. This leads to improvement in every facet of a person’s gait.
Do Orthotics Weaken Feet Muscles?
Just the opposite. Studies have shown that activity increases in certain muscle groups in the lower extremities when patients wear foot orthoses.
How Do You Prevent Blisters From Orthotics?
Nylon or moisture-wicking socks can help. Maybe consider wearing two pairs. Make sure your orthotics and shoes are not too tight or too loose. A little petroleum jelly can also help.
How Often Should You Wear Your Orthotics?
How often should you wear needed eyeglasses? Just as someone who needs glasses should wear them whenever they use their eyes, someone who needs orthotics should use them whenever they need to use their feet. This is every waking moment.
What Happens If I Stop Wearing My Orthotics?
What caused you to need orthotics in the first place? If you stop wearing your orthotic that problem will just come back.
How To Stop Wearing Orthotics?
Only do this if your podiatrist gives you the OK. The transition must be gradual. Start by leaving the orthotic off for one hour a day in the first week. The next week make it two hours. Keep this up for eight to ten weeks.
What To Do When Orthotics Don’t Work?
Maybe orthotics aren’t for you. Ask your doctor about stretching exercises or yoga.
How long an orthotic lasts really depends on what was put into them. Ask your podiatrist if orthotics are right for you.