10 Conditions That May Mean You Need Orthotics

10 Conditions That May Mean You Need Orthotics

Your feet are among the unsung heroes of the human body. Day after day, they bear your weight as you run, jump, walk, and stand, all while crammed inside your smelly shoes. As a result, your feet are vulnerable to painful conditions.

With foot problems never more than a moment away, it’s best to know your treatment options, especially conservative measures like orthotics.

Orthotics are shoe inserts that we make to fit your unique foot structure and give it the support and protection it needs. Though they may only be a single aspect of your overall podiatry treatment plan, orthotics are a versatile therapy that can address a wide range of foot and ankle problems. 

Here, our expert podiatrist, Dr. Kelly Geoghan, takes a closer look at 10 of the most common foot problems that can be helped with custom orthotics. 

#1: Chronic back or lower body pain

You may not realize it, but your feet, legs, hips, and back are all connected, each part relying on the alignment of the others. If your feet and ankles are not properly aligned, the rest of your lower body suffers. 

Orthotics work to correct those alignment issues and restore balance to your feet, ankles, and the rest of your lower body, which alleviates your pain.

#2: Arthritis

Arthritis refers to joint pain and inflammation that develops when the cushioning substance (cartilage) in your joints breaks down. When this condition impacts your feet, orthotics help to cushion them and reduce stress.

#3: Bursitis

Cartilage isn’t the only built-in support your body has. Small fluid-filled sacs called bursae act as cushions for connective tissues in your body, particularly near your joints. When inflamed, these sacs can cause significant pain and discomfort in your feet and ankles. 

#4: Achilles tendonitis

That tough band of connective tissue you can see between your ankle and your lower calf is called your Achilles tendon. Anything from a sudden increase in activity and overuse to underlying foot problems and improper footwear can cause your Achilles tendon to become inflamed and severely painful. 

#5: Arch problems

Your foot is equipped with a durable but flexible arch that helps you bear weight and propels your steps. If your arch is either nonexistent or too high, your feet endure an inordinate amount of stress and the rest of your lower extremities don’t have adequate support. 

#6: Plantar fasciitis

Your heel and your toes are connected by a long band of connective tissue called the plantar fascia. When it’s damaged as the result of injury, stress, or overuse, microtears form and excruciating pain sets in. Orthotics offer a cushion that neutralizes the stress on your foot, relieves pain, and allows the plantar fascia to heal. 

#7: Bunions and hammertoes

Bunions and hammertoes are two extremely common foot problems. Bunions are painful bumps that develop at the base of your big toe and lead to deformities. Hammertoe refers to an abnormal bend in the middle joint of one or more of your toes. 

Both of these conditions — especially in their earliest stages — can be helped with conservative treatments, including the cushioning support of orthotics. 

#8: Neuropathy

Another common cause of foot pain is neuropathy, which occurs when your peripheral nerves (those that extend from your central nervous system) are damaged. There are many health conditions and factors that can lead to neuropathy, including: 

Individuals with diabetes are most at risk for developing neuropathy. While nerve damage often requires specialized treatment, orthotics can help you manage symptoms and protect your feet.

#9: Pediatric foot care problems

The saying is true — children grow like weeds. Every day, their bodies change and begin to take shape. If your child has a developmental problem in their foot or ankle, such as Sever’s disease, orthotics may be able to help reduce their painful symptoms as they undergo treatment.   

#10: Sports injuries

Whether you’re a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, you’ve likely sustained a foot or ankle injury. When the worst happens, orthotics can aid in the healing and recovery process, helping you get off the sidelines quickly. 

Beyond pain

Orthotics aren’t just for the worst-case scenario. Many of our patients — particularly those who are athletes — use orthotics to improve the function of their foot and ankle and see a significant improvement in their balance, speed, and agility. 

If you’d like to see if orthotics are right for you, request an appointment online or over the phone at our Lutherville, Maryland, office today. 

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