Feet orthotics are more than just a comfort feature. They can greatly enhance the biomechanics of our bodies. Your feet have direct impact on the rest of your body and support you with each step. Our body is a biomechanical kinetic chain where abnormal movements at one line, or joint, can interfere with proper movements at other joints. During standing and walking, our bodies are subjected to natural forces and postures that can inflict mechanical stress and strain throughout the interrelated chain of joints and muscles.
Feet orthotics are more than just a comfort feature. They can greatly enhance the biomechanics of our bodies. Your feet have direct impact on the rest of your body and support you with each step. Our body is a biomechanical kinetic chain where abnormal movements at one line, or joint, can interfere with proper movements at other joints. During standing and walking, our bodies are subjected to natural forces and postures that can inflict mechanical stress and strain throughout the interrelated chain of joints and muscles. By stabilizing and balancing your feet, orthotics enhances your body’s performance and efficiency, reduce pain, and contribute to your total body wellness. When foot imbalance is present, there is a negative impact on the knees, hips, pelvis, and spine. Some patients must have these abnormal forces reduced before they can achieve improved spinal function. The joints and muscles of the body function most efficiently when they are in physical balance. Principles of engineering have shown that with any physical entity, whether it is a bridge, a building, or the human body— Structure dictates function.
However, before you receive your orthotics, your health care providers pay particular attention in evaluating your feet for biomechanical or postural imbalances. Through the use of x-rays, specific diagnostics testing, and gait analysis we can determine if feet orthotics are beneficial to the overall balance of your body. This is especially important if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort in your feet, ankles, knees or low back and are seeking out treatments for resolution of these conditions.
Postural Effects from Imbalances in the Feet
Excessive rotation of the bones of the leg (tibia and femur) will cause unnecessary stresses on the knee as well as twisting of the pelvis and spine. If the pronation is more prevalent on one side, there can be a resultant unleveling of the pelvis and a functional scoliosis (medical condition in which a person’s spine is curved from side to side). Pronation describes the rotation of a body part downward or inward. It is actually a normal motion that occurs when walking; however, if it happens excessively, pronation can cause global postural problems. The major cause of over-pronation is a decrease in the arch height, also known as flat feet. Tilting of the pelvis can place tension on muscles and connective tissues which can eventually lead to chronic back problems or arthritis in joints. Addressing health concerns with corrective foot supports decreases the pain and discomfort experienced within the core stabilizing structure of the body.
Benefits of Custom Made Orthotics
Custom made feet orthotics stabilize the foundation of the pelvis and spine by first addressing structural problems with the feet. By reducing abnormal forces and stresses, while enhancing structural and functional relationships custom foot supports, such as orthotics, bring back a natural balance to the body.
Furthermore, properly fitted custom orthotics support the foot to control excessive and unwanted pronation, walking on the inside arch of the foot, and supination, walking on the outside edge of the foot. This helps reduce stress placed on the body. Improving the shock absorption of the feet gives way to the repetitive stress on joints and muscles thus permitting smoother function and decreasing arthritic symptoms.
Using custom feet orthotics represents a long-term, yet cost-effective intervention for many types of functional and structural problems. They are notably helpful for the comfort and care of more serious problems like arthritis or diabetes. There are numerous other conditions that are affected positively with the use of orthotics. From a clinical perspective, we have seen orthotics helping patients with pain as wells with posture. Further research with randomized controlled trials is needed to establish the clinical utility of a variety of feet orthotics for the treatment and prevention of various lower limb injuries.
How long must you wear orthotics?
Orthotics are generally worn indefinitely. This is because foot orthotics are similar to eye glasses. They only work while you are wearing them.
As you get older foot posture can improve with continual wear of your orthotics. Orthotics should be checked for accuracy and excessive ‘wear and tear’ every six to twelve months.
How long do orthotics last?
Orthotics can last anywhere from six months to few years. There are many factors that will affect wear and tear which is why regular reviews for accuracy are so important. Orthotics, just like shoes, do wear out and do need replacing from time to time.
At what age can you start using foot orthotics?
Foot orthotics may be used in children as young as three years of age, however, this is rarely necessary. Most children have relatively “flat feet” as a normal variant and should develop a normal arch by the age of seven. Children should be assessed as early as possible to ensure normal development occurs.
Orthotics are often used as treatment intervention when a child’s foot posture is not within its normal range. This intervention frequently helps to eliminate common childhood foot and leg problems including growing pains, aching feet and legs and poor co-ordination.
Please call our office to check, whether you require foot orthotics and how it can help you.