Can Custom Orthotics Relieve My Pain?

Jan 28, 2022

How Custom Orthotics Can Treat Heel Pain

If you’ve been experiencing foot, heel, and ankle pain lately, you may be exploring treatment options for these common issues. Custom orthotic inserts are one medical solution to alleviate this discomfort often experienced by people who are constantly on their feet. Advanced Ankle & Foot serves the Phoenix area and we’re eager to help our patients find effective and comprehensive treatments for their pain.

Custom orthotics are fully customized based on the unique contours of your feet and designed for the way you move. These supportive, specially-made inserts are a solid choice to provide comfort for tired, overworked feet as well as potentially correct serious foot issues.

If you work on your feet for long periods of time and suffer from foot or heel pain, custom orthotics may bring actual relief. Your podiatrist will look at your complete health history, height, weight, activity level, and any medical conditions you may have. After your podiatrist has done a thorough evaluation of your feet, ankles, and legs, your orthotics prescription and a custom mold of your feet will be created. Your prescription will also determine how soft or rigid your orthotics should be for the best outcome.

Your Advanced Ankle & Foot podiatrist may observe your walk to see how your feet, ankles, legs, and hips move. This process takes into consideration your foot structure and overall health to ensure the best outcome when determining your treatment plan of action.

Why Not Over-The-Counter Orthotics?

Custom orthotics differ from non-prescription shoe inserts you can find at any store. While regular shoe inserts provide some cushioning and arch support in your work shoes for temporary relief from foot pain, they aren’t customized to your foot or designed to correct actual foot issues such as plantar fasciitis.

Unlike over-the-counter shoe inserts, orthotics are prescription medical devices you insert inside your shoes to address foot pain caused by medical conditions such as diabetes, plantar fasciitis, bursitis, and arthritis. While considerably pricier than regular shoe inserts, custom orthotics work to resolve the underlying medical issue causing the pain and last for several years with proper care. The cost of custom orthotics may be a concern, but fortunately, insurance often helps pay or completely covers prescription orthotics.

woman fitting orthotics

How Do Orthotics Help?

Plantar fasciitis is a common source of heel pain that causes stabbing pain when you first get up and when you’re standing for long stretches. Plantar fasciitis is common in runners, people who are overweight, and people who wear shoes that provide inadequate support are at an increased risk for this condition. 

Shoe inserts can certainly be useful for minor foot problems, including arch support for the foot’s natural arch, heel liners to provide extra cushioning, and insoles (typically made of gel, foam, or plastic) for overall cushioning and support, and foot cushions to protect feet from shoe friction.

Custom orthotics can help you safely get back on your feet without experiencing debilitating pain. How so? They impact more than just your actual feet – when your feet are properly stabilized, it provides the right foundation and helps other parts of your body. You may find your posture improves, you stop favoring one side, and it’s easier to move your body. 

Orthotics help evenly distribute your weight, which helps if you’re experiencing plantar fasciitis or joint discomfort in your ankles, for instance. Our patients who spend a lot of time on their feet, such as food service workers, educators, police officers, or retail workers, find great relief from orthotics due to this even weight distribution. They’re able to more comfortably spend extended periods of time on their feet now thanks to custom orthotics, which help alleviate aches and pains in your feet as well as other parts of the body. They’re also able to move faster and more freely thanks to the added foot support. 

Another added benefit of custom orthotics is helping to prevent future injuries. Orthotics provide support for specific parts of your feet and help shield them from injuries like heel spurs, twisted ankles, and back strain.

If you have persistent heel pain from overuse from a profession where you’re constantly on your feet such as waitressing or customer service, advanced age, or trauma, you may be the perfect candidate for custom orthotics. In general, custom orthotics are recommended by podiatrists if your foot muscles, joints, tendons, or bones aren’t in the right position to function correctly, which in turn causes pain and discomfort. People who have poor circulation, diabetes, or severe foot deformities from arthritis are also good candidates.

Types of Orthotics

There are a couple of types of orthotics you and your podiatrist will consider: rigid and soft orthotics. Rigid orthotics also called “functional orthotics,” are typically designed to help with foot aches and strains, shin splints, tendinitis, leg, thigh, and lower back pain. Usually made of plastic or carbon fiber, rigid orthotics are ideal for walking shoes or closed-toe, low-heeled dress shoes.

Soft orthotics, also known as ”accommodative orthotics,” are typically bulkier and offer cushioning to relieve pain from uncomfortable conditions including plantar fasciitis, painful calluses, and diabetic foot ulcers. Due to their bulkiness, you may have to wear these with special orthopedic footwear. 

Find Relief From Your Foot Pain Today

At first, you may feel intimidated to visit a podiatrist to discuss your foot pain, or hope it will go away on its own. At Advanced Ankle & Foot, we aim to put you completely at ease with our caring and empathetic physicians. We will listen to your specific concerns, examine your feet, and assess your overall health to determine the best solution.

While it’s common to brush off foot pain as inevitable or not worth a visit to the doctor, we encourage you to make your foot health a priority. Often, a few simple changes can greatly improve your quality of life. No longer suffer in silence or resign yourself to constant discomfort by taking the next step. A trustworthy podiatrist is just a phone call away at 480-962-4281 or by contacting us online here or to request an appointment directly, here.