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  • Custom orthotics can control foot and ankle motion to help prevent lower extremity injuries.
  • If you get custom orthotics, take several weeks to “break them in.” Begin with 2 hours a day and slowly add time until you are able to wear them for 8 straight hours.
  • If your shoes routinely “wear out” along one place of the sole of the shoe you might be a good candidate for custom orthotics.
  • Be sure to remove the insole of your shoe prior to placing the custom orthotic in your shoe.
  • Many Physical Therapists can help you determine if custom orthotics will help to alleviate your symptoms.

Many of us suffer from pain and injuries related to the lower back, leg and foot. Custom foot orthotics can relieve lower body pain by helping to align the foot and ankle and by providing support for the entire lower extremity.  See your Physical Therapist for foot orthotics designed for your specific needs.

Daily Demands on Our Feet

Simply walking across a room puts a tremendous demand upon our feet. The foot is at the outmost part of a kinetic chain, linking to the core and lower extremity. Moving from one place to another requires a series of movements within this chain, and an abnormality in movement in any joint in the chain can lead to compensation or injury elsewhere.  The foot is at the distal end of the chain, and it dampens the forces of impact to help in propulsion of body weight.

The design of the human foot helps it to enable motion and absorb the weight of these forces. It consists of 26 bones that form numerous joints that enable motion.  There are 30 different articulations within these joints that make it possible for the foot to absorb a tremendous amount of impact force or to become a rigid lever to propel one’s body weight through space. If these articulations are compromised by the natural anatomy of the foot, the entire kinetic chain can be effected and injury can occur.

Custom Foot Orthotics

Inserting custom foot orthotics into the shoes can provide a simple solution to this problem. There are two types of orthotic devices: accommodating and biomechanical.  The accommodating orthotic is designed to dampen the impact. The biomechanical device is designed to change or alter the position of the bones of the foot and “build the ground up to the foot.”   This enables the articulations throughout the foot to be optimal, and it will not experience excessive sheer or compressive forces during gait anywhere in the foot or ankle complex.

The orthotic is designed to keep the foot and ankle in a subtalar neutral position.  This is the position that places the talus equal distance between the medial and lateral malleolus.  This position is, in theory, the most optimal position for all of the bones of the foot to be in when the gait cycle begins at heel strike and ends with toe off. In most cases the orthotic device is a combination of biomechanical and accommodative design.

There are also two primary types of feet: feet that pronate too much (pes planus) and ones that don‘t pronate enough (pes cavus).  If a foot pronates too much there is a possibility that the entire kinetic chain will internally rotate too far. This can lead to many types of injuries from the lumbar spine to the toes.   Many activities that require an excessive landing force can lead to major pain in various parts of the lower extremity if the foot pronates excessively.  If the foot does not pronate enough, there can be major problems throughout the lower extremity due to a decreased ability to absorb shock.

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Common lower extremity injuries addressed with custom orthotics

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Heel pain
  • Turf toe
  • Sesamoiditis
  • Posterior tibialis dysfunction
  • Shin splints
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Patella femoral pain
  • Distal ITBand pain
  • Greater Trochanteric bursitis
  • Leg length discrepencies
  • SI joint pain
  • Lumbar spine pain

Custom foot orthotics can help to align the foot and ankle and support the entire lower extremity.  The device can play a major role in controlling excessive motions that can lead to increased forces throughout the kinetic chain that cause injuries to various parts.  If you are experiencing lower extremity pain, seek the advice of a Physical Therapist and they might recommend that you have custom orthotics fabricated for your feet.