What Is A Custom Orthotic?
A custom orthotic is a device designed to align the foot and ankle into the most anatomically efficient position. They look like insoles, but that is where the similarities end. Custom orthotics are biomechanical medical appliances that are custom made to correct your specific foot imbalance. They are individually fabricated over a three-dimensional model of your foot. Custom orthotics work on your feet much like glasses work on your eyes – they reduce stress and strain on your body by bringing your feet back into proper alignment. The plastic body of the custom orthotic helps to re-align the foot by redirecting and reducing certain motion that takes place during the gait cycle. Most often custom orthotics will fit comfortably into your shoes. Occasionally, a slightly larger shoe might be required.
Who Needs Custom Orthotics?
Custom foot orthotics can help relieve the pain and fatigue associated with improper biomechanics throughout the body. In order to walk, stand or play, pain-free, the body requires a stable foundation provided by your feet. When there are problems with the foundation, often the symptoms are found both in your feet and throughout the rest of the muscular-skeletal structure. Examples of these symptoms include:
- Localized foot pain
- Bunions, hammer toes
- Arch/heel pain
What Can I Do?
Your health care practitioner can prescribe custom orthotics to help correct your specific foot and body imbalance. You can help your health care practitioner by discussing any nagging foot, leg, or back problems, and even by simply asking if your feet could be part of the problem.
Should I Wear My Custom Orthotics All The Time?
The longer you wear your custom orthotics the more benefit you will get out of them. If your daily activities vary to the extent that you change your footwear, then you should have a second pair of custom orthotics designed for that specific activity. (I.e. going to the gym after work)
What should my new custom orthotics feel like?
Because custom orthotics help to realign the foundation of your body and specifically how your feet are functioning, you many notice a number of new sensations. This is to be expected and is a sign that the orthotic is doing its job. Some people feel that they are riding a little high in their shoes, feel that they are rolling to the outside of their feet, or that they notice a bit of pressure under their arch. All of these are normal sensations and will fade away after a proper break in period. Langer recommends that newly dispensed custom orthotics only be worn for one hour the first day and then increasing the wearing time an additional hour each day. By following these instructions, most patients are easily able to transition.
What Kind Of Shoe Do I Need For My Custom Orthotics?
For the most part, any shoe that has a removable insole will work with your custom orthotic. Just remove the insole that came with the shoe and replaces it with the custom orthotic. Langer also offers a carefully-selected line of footwear that can accommodate custom orthotics, as well as custom sandals and clogs that have your prescribed device built right in.
Will My Muscles Get Weaker Wearing Custom Orthotics?
Custom orthotics will not reduce muscles tone. They will help position your foot so you will be using the right muscles at the right time, minimizing fatigue and allowing your muscles to be used more efficiently.