New To Orthotics? What You Need To Know

You may have heard of orthotics on television commercials. Orthotics are used to support the feet when they are in pain or otherwise uncomfortable. Some people can get a lot of relief from orthotics. Here are some things you might want to know if you think you need orthotics:

What Types of Orthotics Are Available?

If you need orthotic foot support, there are two types that may help. One common type of orthotics is inserts. You can purchase shoe inserts at most stores without a doctor's prescription. They are composed of plastic, gel, or foam. They fit inside the shoes and help cushion the feet. If you buy one in-store, it will not be custom-fit to your feet, but it can provide some relief if you are experiencing pressure or pain.

The second type of orthotics, prescription shoe inserts, are customized to correct specific problems. For instance, if you suffer from plantar fasciitis, your orthopedist may prescribe a foot orthotic specifically to deal with that issue. These custom-made orthotics will correct the issue you have based on the symptoms you are experiencing. You may need new orthotics over time if your feet grow or you need additional support.

Within custom-made orthotics, your doctor will choose from different types based on your needs. Functional orthotics are made from carbon fiber or plastic. These are best used in running shoes or dress shoes. They help ease aches and pains based in the legs and lower back.

Accommodative orthotics are made of soft material and help provide relief from pain in more sore areas of the foot.

How Do You Wear Orthotics?

Orthotics should fit nicely into your shoes. They may feel odd at first, as it can take up to several weeks to get used to them. You should not feel any pain when you wear orthotics. If you do, you need to have your doctor adjust them.

Shoes with arch supports can be problematic for orthotics. If the arch support can be removed, take them out before you place your inserts. Over-the-counter shoe inserts are less expensive than custom-made orthotics, but the money spent can be well worth it if you have debilitating or reoccurring foot problems. Custom-made orthotics ideally should last you several years. You can move the orthotics from shoe to shoe if you would like to purchase one pair.

How Do You Care for Orthotics?

If the orthotics begin to get dirty, you can carefully wash them with soap and water. Allow the orthotics to dry thoroughly in the air. Do not put your orthotics in the washer or dryer.