We know that, for some of you, the word “orthotics” sends a chill down your spine.
We’ll admit they’re not the most endearing name for such a great tool. And just the word still conjures the image of ugly, beige foot blocks for certain people, like having them sentence you to a life of pleated slacks and C-SPAN.
But that’s not how custom orthotics really are. Whether they come in the form of inconspicuous inserts or shoes that come in way more colors and styles than “beige,” orthotics help many people enjoy more vibrant, active lives.
In fact, they can even help active people be more active!
Why might orthotics be a great choice for your foot and ankle care?
They Make Your Feet Comfortable
This one is obvious, right? Your feet hurt, your podiatrist prescribes orthotics, and your feet start to feel better. It’s not magic (it’s biomechanics), but it might feel that way.
What sometimes gets overlooked, however, are the additional physiological and psychological benefits of alleviating foot pain.
Pain is draining to both energy and will. It causes dread when getting up in the morning, fatigue through the day, and frustration when coming home at night. Managing this pain can open the door to a brighter demeanor, as well as more enjoyment of time with friends and family.
They Can Make Other Parts of You Comfortable, Too
Simple biomechanics states that an imbalance in one part of a structure can lead to an imbalance in other parts.
In other words, an abnormal gait in your feet and ankles can also place unusual strain on your knees, hips, or back.
If you have pain in these areas, it’s far from uncommon that orthotics, which correct the balance of weight over the feet, improve comfort elsewhere, too!
They Can Improve Your Physical Performance
Discomfort can influence your athletic performance as well, but there can be more to it than that.
Having proper foot alignment can increase the efficiency of your performance, meaning your muscles, ligaments and tendons can do more with less energy. This can not only provide a boost to endurance; it can also help prevent the abnormal strains that tend to result in sports injuries.
Then there’s blood flow. By providing correct alignment, orthotics can promote better circulation to the feet, where it’s quite needed. This can reduce swelling in the feet and ankles, making for more comfortable exercise and play.
They Can Improve Your Work Performance
If you suffer from foot pain and stand on your feet all day, orthotics can be crucial!
From teachers who stand in front of the class to manufacturers working on hard concrete floors, our jobs don’t always provide the best environments for our feet.
A lack of support can lead to muscle fatigue and lasting foot pain, leaving you more exhausted after your shift than you should be.
We spend so much of our lives at work. Why would you want your feet miserable during that time? Having the comfort you need on the job can keep the workday from feeling like a languishing chore.
They Can Prevent Worsening Problems Down the Road
Pain-free feet are a very “now” benefit, but what about the future?
If you have diabetes or are developing a deformity such as bunions or hammertoes, custom orthotics can act as a guard against complications.
By providing proper support and alignment to your feet, orthotics can help prevent toe deformities from growing as worse over time (and sometimes put a full halt to them worsening completely!).
For people who live with diabetes, improved circulation from proper foot alignment can help keep nerves in the toes healthier longer, and help prevent corns, calluses, and sores that can develop into big problems if left unchecked.
An Orthotic Made for Your Needs
There are plenty of good reasons why custom orthotics are a clear choice in many foot and ankle issues, but perhaps the best is the “custom” part.
Our feet are complex structures, and everyone has a different foot shape as well as different needs for their feet. When you are prescribed custom orthotics over a store-bought insert, these considerations often make a huge difference.
We are not saying that store-bought inserts can never help. In some cases—especially mild ones—they might be enough. But orthotics molded to your feet and providing just the right support and correction where you need them will have the ultimate effect on your overall health and comfort.
And, when you do have a set of custom orthotics, they can last years with the right care and maintenance. They can be a reliable part of life whether at work, working out, or just enjoying the world.
Orthotics are not always the answer for every foot and ankle problem a patient might have, but we hope you don’t feel put off if they happen to come up as an option. We will work hard to ensure that your orthotics provide life-changing help—without crimping your style.
Don’t let foot and ankle pain dictate how and in what mood you spend your life. Call us at (208) 731-6321 to set up an appointment at our offices in Twin Falls or Burley, or fill out our online contact form and a member of our staff will reach out to you.