The shape of things is this: your structure has a lot to say about how well you function—especially in your feet and ankles.
Even simple locomotion requires engaging a multitude of bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, and other tissues within each foot. Everything is networked to provide great endurance and range of motion—and if you haven’t really stopped to think about that… then it likely means everything is doing its job right!
When something is off in musculoskeletal structure, however, you will likely start to feel it. Foot pain might strike first thing in the morning. Days at work might seem a lot longer, and fatigue sets in a lot earlier. You might not want to go that extra mile (literally) whether you are out for a run or just walking around the mall.
Problems from an abnormal foot structure can siphon a lot away from you over time. They can affect your fitness, your satisfaction at work, and how you spend your recreational time. All of this together can have a big impact on your overall happiness and quality of life.
When such issues arise, our goal is always to get you back to enjoying life, with pain and discomfort causing as little interruption as possible (and ideally, we want that pain to be gone altogether!).
There are multiple approaches to addressing chronic or frequent pain in the heels, arches, or other areas of the foot. When a structural problem is present, the use of custom orthotics will very likely be a consideration. That’s because orthotics do a great job of providing support and control where flaws in structure require some extra help.
An Imbalance of Forces in Your Feet
You can’t escape physics. Whether we’re running, walking, or even standing, our feet and ankles are bearing our weight.
Gravity sends all forces downward, and that compounds the weight our feet must bear. For every pound we weigh, about 4 pounds of pressure end up distributed across each foot. And that exists with every step we take.
That pressure all adds up, but our feet are made to handle it well—that is, unless, something is off with our foot structure.
When there is an existing abnormality within the foot, such as flat feet or high arches, it can shift the distribution of weight across the foot. This can lead to an excess of pressure and stress in certain areas that were not built to take on that much of a burden for extended periods of time.
Changes in structure can also affect the way one walks, further disrupting the way weight is handled over the feet. One common example is overpronation, in which the foot rolls too far inward when walking.
An uneven distribution of weight and abnormalities in motion can lead to chronic discomfort and increased fatigued. It can also increase the risk of sports injuries over time. The more weight applied, the greater the risk.
How Custom Orthotics Restore Order
Custom orthotics address this issue by providing support to areas in need and a countering influence to help redistribute weight more naturally across the foot.
An ideal foot structure is exact, which is why custom-made orthotics are made to very specific specifications. The process involves making a mold of a patient’s feet, and then prescribing very precise parameters for our trusted lab to create.
The materials used, their thickness, and their location within an orthotic insert will all depend directly on the patient’s foot and the problem(s) that need to be addressed. This means no two pair of orthotics are the same. Each is prescribed to one patient much like corrective lenses are prescribed only to one person’s eyes.
Custom orthotics may be recommended on their own, or as part of a comprehensive plan for relief. Depending on the case, we might also recommend:
- Changes in footwear
- Changes in workout routines and/or work environment
- Simple stretches and exercises to further strengthen and support stressed areas
- Laser therapy for pain relief and accelerated recovery of injured soft tissues
We will happily discuss all available options with you, as well as why we may recommend some over others.
What Custom Orthotics Can Mean for You
To think that custom orthotics can just relieve pain is selling them short.
As we delved into earlier, foot pain can have many additional consequences: fatigue, irritability, and a drop in willpower, to name a few. By providing relief, custom orthotics reopen you to better pursue the passions and enjoyments of life.
If heel pain has been ruining your desire to run, for example, a good treatment plan that includes orthotics can get you back to hitting your routes. And the more you move, the better conditioned and healthier you can be, improving how you feel all the more!