Just like you, we always hope that we can treat your foot or ankle issue with the use of nonsurgical methods. Whether or not we can depends, of course, on the nature of your injury, but we have many options to help us achieve this goal for you. One of the more versatile tools that our podiatrists use is custom orthotics (orthoses). These helpful devices might be the answer for your foot or ankle issue!
Types of Orthoses
Unlike over the counter orthotics, custom versions are shoe inserts that we create specifically for your unique feet. They are intended to correct a medical condition that causes pain or interferes with your ability to do the activities you enjoy doing. They can be created in various sizes and shapes, and from a variety of materials, in order to address different problems, protect feet from injury, correct biomechanical abnormalities, or combine protective function with motion control. There are two main types:
These are generally prescribed to alleviate pressure on sore or uncomfortable areas, absorb shock, and/or increase your balance. Diabetic, deformed, and arthritic foot conditions benefit from this particular type of device. In order to provide superior cushioning, these are constructed with soft materials and may run along the length of the entire foot.
Whereas soft orthotics are intended to decrease pressure and protect the foot, rigid ones are used to control or restrict abnormal biomechanical processes. Often used for a patient’s walking or dress shoes, this type of device has to be solidly constructed to offer the structure necessary for regulating movement. They are typically made with firm materials like plastic and carbon fiber, and serve to help with alleviating or eliminating pain, aches, and strains in feet, ankles, legs, or lower back.
When we need to achieve the cushioning benefits of soft with the motion-controlling aspects of rigid, we may prescribe a semi-rigid version. These are excellent for sports or walking, and especially useful for athletes who experience pain while competing or training for their respective sports. Usually, a semi-rigid device will be constructed using layers of soft materials and reinforced with rigid ones to provide structure and improve foot balance. In addition to athletes, children who have issues that relate to flatfoot, in-toeing, or out-toeing can also benefit from this style.
What Conditions Can Be Helped?
Since we customize them for your unique feet, we can use orthotics to treat an array of medical conditions, including:
- Flat feet. This structural abnormality does not typically cause pain on its own, but it can cause overpronation. Pronation is a normal process of rotation in your feet, but excessive rolling leads to ankle, knee, hip, and back pain. Custom orthotics help reduce the pronation by controlling the motion of your feet.
- High arches. Arches that are too high also create problems, but orthoses can help them as well. With this condition, your feet supinate (do not roll enough), and the extra pressure applied to the outer edges can lead to painful problems. Your custom devices will correct this.
- Plantar fasciitis. This condition is marked by a sharp, stabbing heel pain that comes with the first steps of the day. It is caused by tiny tears that happen on account of tension on your plantar fascia—the tissues that span the bottom of your foot. Orthotics can offer the necessary arch support to prevent this from happening.
- Neuromas. Excess pressure from surrounding tissue onto a nerve—especially in the front of the foot—can cause burning sensations, numbness, and even pain. Custom inserts help redistribute weight, alleviate pressure and ease these symptoms.
The Roanoke, VA Experts Can Help!
Shenandoah Podiatry is ready to help you with any foot or ankle condition that causes you pain. Custom orthotics might be the nonsurgical treatment option that works best, and our foot specialists can create a pair for you. Start your path to pain-free living by calling (540) 904-1458 for our Roanoke, VA office or (540) 808-4343 for our Blacksburg office. You can also use our online form to schedule your appointment at either of our convenient locations today!