Orthotic shoe inserts control the motion between the forefoot and the rear foot, evenly distributing the weight and pressure exerted on the foot. They reduce excessive motion that may occur in certain feet, they can act as a binding force that absorbs strain as pressure is exerted on them, and they can accommodate and cushion painful or injured areas. While not everyone needs orthotics, they are a highly successful conservative treatment strategy for certain types of feet and foot conditions. From problems ranging structural deformities, such as bunions, to conditions such as posterior tibial tendonitis, orthotics are an economic way to both treat pain and prevent further injuries.
Dr. Murray and Dr. Chang’s forty years of combined experience with fitting individuals with orthotics will ensure that you receive the proper treatment. Dr. Murray and Dr. Chang have found resounding success in prescribing and fitting orthotics to fit a variety of foot types and injuries.
Determining whether orthotics are right for you
The process for getting orthotics takes some time, primarily because Dr. Murray and Dr. Chang want to make sure that orthotics are right for the health of your feet, and your purse too! A first visit will include a foot examination, as well as an examination of the shoes. The number one cause of foot pain is worn out shoes. Shoes are not made to be worn years at a time, so if you are feeling foot pain, a money and time saving strategy may be just trying new shoes and being sure to replace your shoes every 200-400 miles.
After an examination, Dr. Murray and Dr. Chang will suggest you try wearing an over-the-counter shoe insert for a couple of weeks. These inserts cost between $35 and $60, and test whether your foot needs a little extra support or more specific support from an orthotic. If pain still occurs, upon the next visit Dr. Murray, Dr. Chang and their staff will assist you with taping your foot. The tape, in addition to the over-the-counter shoe inserts, will help to redistribute weight throughout the whole foot, binding it in a way similar to an orthotic. If success occurs and pain is significantly reduced after taping and wearing an insert, Dr. Murray and Dr. Chang will most likely suggest you get fitted for a pair of orthotics. Orthotics are pricey, about $375 per pair, but if you have gotten to this point there is a strong argument that buying custom-made orthotics will save you money and pain in the long run.
The process of fitting feet for orthotics includes taking a mold of the foot in neutral position and writing an orthotic prescription based on this mold, and sending this information to specialized laboratories to be manufactured. The prescription for your orthotics will depend on your foot type, your condition or injury, and the intended purpose of the orthotic. To this effect, there are different kinds of orthotics. Orthotics are mainly grouped into two categories: functional and accommodative. Functional orthotics corrects for excessive motion of the foot, preventing pain during ambulation. Accommodative orthotics are used to distribute weight away from a painful or injured area. Dr. Murray and Dr. Chang will customize your orthotic’s purpose and fit to specific intended activities. They will consider materials used, the rigidity of the device, and the shape of the heel or head depending on the intended use of the orthotics.
Adjusting to your orthotics
The process to being wearing orthotics is gradual. It takes 2-3 weeks to work up to wearing an orthotic full time since the adjustments they make with your foot function could cause initial soreness or pain in the feet, ankles, knees or hips. It takes several months before athletes can run in orthotics comfortably. Be attentive to any pain that may surface in the initial weeks, as adjustments to your orthotics are free under a six month warrantee with the lab that makes them.
Orthotics are only as good as the shoes in which they are inserted, so sure you are wearing proper footwear that accommodates orthotics. It is important to recognize that worn out shoes will negate the work of the orthotic, and equally as important to realize that not all shoes are made to accommodate orthotics, no matter the brand, style or cost. Consult your podiatrist or local shoe store for more information on which shoes are compatible with orthotic devices.
Usually an orthotic can be used for every activity, so patients usually only need to invest in one pair. The exception is if you would like to wear your orthotics in abnormally shaped shoes, such as women’s dress shoes.
Orthotics are only helpful when used, so it is suggested to wear your orthotics continually to reduce pain and to improve your posture and alignment. Most orthotic wearers report never wanting to take their orthotics out of their shoes because they are so comfortable.
Care and maintenance
As sand and dirt can abrade against them, reducing their functional period, we suggest you wash them every two weeks with mild soap and luke-warm water, letting them dry overnight before reinserting them. If you find that your orthotics squeak, remove them from your shoes and sprinkle talcum or baby powder on them, which should prevent the squeaking.
Your orthotics will work to restore your gait, posture, and to prevent a host of injuries that could be caused by your foot condition. Despite the initial price, orthotics last for approximately 10 years, and prevent a host of conditions, from runners knee to lower back pain. They are a highly effective, cost efficient, non-invasive, and incredibly successful treatment technique.
For more information on custom orthotics, please visit our website.
Dr. Murray and Dr. Chang were featured on CBS19’s Martha Jefferson Healthwise segment this week! Check out the video here: