At Texas Foot Specialists we see many patients who can benefit from the use of orthotics. In simplest terms, orthotics are inserts for your shoes. They come in different shapes and can be made of various materials depending on their use. Our podiatrists, Dr. Gregory Magnum or Dr. Bruce Miller, may prescribe orthotics after surgery, to correct a mechanical or structural problem with your foot, to alter your gait or protect an inflamed area. Sometimes orthotics are recommended for children to help correct problems such as flatfeet or intoeing or outtoeing. Although some orthotic devices are available over the counter, they are “one size fits all” and generally not as effective as the custom made orthotics the foot doctor can provide. Here are the three major kinds of orthotics:
Rigid: The foot doctor will use a plaster cast or digital imaging of your foot as a model and this orthotic device will be made of a hard material such as plastic or carbon fiber. Usually the purpose of a rigid orthotic is to control the motion in two primary foot joints found directly below the ankle joint. Patients who use these find that pain and soreness in their lower back, legs and thighs can be greatly reduced or eliminated with a rigid orthotic device.
Soft: As the name implies, these orthotics are made of cushiony, soft material and their primary goal is to protect a painful area by absorbing shock and providing padding. Soft orthotics are often prescribed for patients with diabetes, arthritis or a foot deformity.
Semi-rigid: Composed of layers of softer materials that are reinforced with rigid components, semi-rigid orthotics offer increased balance and control when walking or running. They are often used by athletes who are in an intense phase of training to protect against pain and strain.
Orthotic devices are made to go into all kinds of footwear including dress and walking shoes as well as athletic footwear. If you are dealing with a chronic foot condition, ask the podiatrist if orthotics can help you at your next appointment at our Pasadena, Sugar Land or Houston office.