Auteur: Podiatre Montreal
How do you know if you need a foot orthosis?
Many signs and symptoms can be seen in a person who needs a foot orthosis. One of the common reasons for consulting the targeted clientele is plantar fasciitis: inflammation of the plantar fascia. This fascia consists of an envelope of fibrous tissue that supports the plantar arch.
Causes of plantar fasciitis
Usually treated with injections, manual therapy – in physiotherapy for example, local application of ice or adapted medication, plantar fasciitis gets better treatment results when the causes are considered. This is where the foot orthosis comes into play.
Plantar fasciitis is often a symptom of a biomechanical imbalance, brought on by problems such as :
- inequality in the length of members
- inwardly rotating feet and legs
- loss of amplitude in dorsal flexion
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis
Since these biomechanical imbalances cause intense and constant pressure on the plantar fascia, the plantar fascia suffers tissue damage. It is these frequent small impacts, over a certain period of time, that lead to the development of plantar fasciitis.
The pain is local, under the foot. Patients with fasciitis describe it as a very sharp pain in the sole of the foot, especially in the morning, which subsides when the foot “warms up”.
Plantar fasciitis can also cause compensatory pain such as leg pain, foot pain and back pain.
Prescribed versus over-the-counter foot orthotics
It goes without saying that in order to treat plantar fasciitis pain definitively, it must also be treated by considering its causes. A good diagnosis, as well as a personalized evaluation of your case is required.
The over-the-counter orthosis is not a bad option, but it does not offer as optimal a treatment as a custom-made orthosis.
In fact, a prescribed foot orthosis not only includes a shape that conforms to the morphology of your foot, but it also allows the redistribution of pressure on all the surfaces of the sole of the foot.
In addition, depending on your symptoms and causes, different types of solutions are possible. A Podiatrist’s evaluation allows you to precisely target the place where your foot is under too much pressure, in order to better adapt the plantar orthosis. This allows you to feel rapid relief of your pain, as pressure points are instantly relieved of excessive load.
In the event of back pain, knee pain or loss of balance, it is strongly suggested that you consult a Podiatrist. He will be able to guide you towards the right choices.
Making the right choice
Today, many foot orthotic solutions are available to you. Before spending more than $70 for a custom-made orthotic, make sure of the quality of what is sold to you. To verify if you are really being offered a custom-made orthosis, the evaluation should at least include these three types of casts:
- three-dimensional molding
- laser scanning
The different types of foot orthotics
Foot orthotics for children
In children, foot orthotics are generally prescribed to improve or eliminate biomechanical imbalances. From the age of three, children can be prescribed orthoses designed to adapt to the growth rate of this clientele.
Here again, different solutions are available. A Podiatrist is able to advise you on the steps to take if you have been told that foot orthotics could be considered for your child. Causes such as unequal length of the lower limbs, as well as inward-facing feet and legs are some of the common reasons for podiatric consultations in children.
Foot orthotics for athletes
In sportsmen and women, foot orthotics are very often prescribed for treatment or preventive purposes, depending on the sport practiced. Impact sports, which involve repetitive blows to the ground, can lead their adepts to develop certain problems such as plantar fasciitis.
Runners are vulnerable to developing plantar fasciitis (runner’s fasciitis) or other foot imbalances due to repeated kicks and heel blows on the ground, as well as poor pressure distribution in the sole of the foot.
Not only does the foot orthosis help absorb the shock and evenly distribute the pressure of the impact, but its design materials also optimize propulsion. Regardless of age or physical condition, athletes benefit from having the right foot orthotics: they support them in their practice and performance.
Thought out down to the last detail, the sports foot orthosis is designed to avoid retaining moisture in the shoe during sports practice.
Foot orthotics for diabetics
It is well known that people with diabetes have weakened feet due to the effects of the disease on the nervous and vascular tissues. Foot orthotics for diabetics are therefore prescribed in a preventive spirit first and foremost: it allows for a substantial reduction in the formation of wounds or other types of lesions common among diabetics.
The plantar orthosis is molded to minimize pressure points on the diabetic’s foot to prevent injuries and promote optimal foot function.
Foot orthotics for seniors
Also known as accommodative orthotics, orthotics for the elderly target an aging clientele, particularly those with osteoarthritis in the joints of the lower limbs. As a result of these problems, the elderly see other equally incapacitating problems appear, such as loss of back flexion, difficulty walking without pain, frequent foot aches, back pain, knee pain and loss of balance.
Accommodative foot orthotics are therefore prescribed to relieve pain as well as to prevent falls in this at-risk clientele. Cushioned and flexible, the orthosis for seniors considerably reduces pressure on the joints.2021