Updated: Jul 29, 2020
Orthotics are one of the best and most versatile treatment tools that foot and ankle specialists have at their disposal. The right pair of orthotics can lead to a profound improvement in your quality of life. It can take away your pain, reduce your risk of ulcer and injuries, and even eliminate stress on joints through the legs and back.
But did you catch the wording choice we used here? We’ll repeat it: the right pair of orthotics can do these things. Orthotics are very specialized tools. Each is crafted and fitted to address a specific problem. The right pair can go a long way, but the wrong pair won’t do you much—if any—good. In fact, the wrong pair might leave you in worse shape than when you started.
That’s not to discourage you! It just means that you should take great care when you decide what to put in your shoes. You are going to be spending hours at a time walking and standing on top of them, after all! Consulting a podiatrist beforehand—for example, one of the specialists at Gulf South Foot & Ankle—can help ensure you get exactly what you need.
The best orthotics are custom made from a precise mold or 3D scan of your foot. In addition to getting your measurements, the podiatrist will evaluate your pathology and determine what sorts of materials and features your new orthotics will require in order to work properly. The right pair can:
Reduce overall shock impacts on the feet from each step or landing
Reduce side-to-side shear forces that can damage skin
Support a sagging arch
Deflect pressure away from painful joints or deformities
Prevent blisters, ulcers, corns, and calluses
Stabilize the foot and ankle to improve balance and reduce the risk of falling, sprains, and other injuries
Improve foot and ankle biomechanics to reduce fatigue and eliminate pain in the knees, hips, and lower back
Custom orthotics—especially those designed to correct biomechanics—may feel strange, bulky, or even uncomfortable at first. Your body will need time to adjust to a new alignment, even if that alignment is significantly more efficient than before. However, if your orthotics truly are the right ones for you, this feeling should be temporary. We recommend a break-in period where you wear your orthotics for a little longer each day, until they become natural and you can wear them all day without issues.
One other thing about orthotics: when we say they can go a long way, we also mean they can literally go a long way. With proper care, a set of custom orthotics can last several years—that’s a lot of mileage! They may need to be adjusted or refurbished periodically due to foot, body, or lifestyle changes, but otherwise they can keep on working for a long time.
Don’t waste your money gambling on cheap pharmacy insoles that probably won’t work.
Stop by Gulf South Foot & Ankle and get matched with a set of pain-relieving orthotics selected just for you. You can reach us in Metairie at (504) 708-4810, or in Covington at (985) 809-1464.