What are Orthotics?
Ankle and foot orthotics, known as AFOs, are custom-made inserts. They are shaped and contoured to fit inside a shoe and used to correct an irregular walking gait or provide cushioning. Orthotics come in a variety of different models and sizes, including over the counter and customizable variants. Customizable ones should be prescribed through a podiatrist who specializes in customized footwear and orthotics design and management.
AFOs are often used by athletes including track and field runners, cyclists, professional dancers, ice skaters, and even golfers. They benefit a lot from custom made AFOs by preventing injuries from occurring and providing cushioning to keep pain levels down to a minimum. Ankle foot orthotics allows for the correct positioning of the feet. Orthotics also act as shock absorbers to help keep pressure and stress off the foot and ankle. They can also relieve back pain and hip pain while restoring balance and improving an athlete’s performance.
Orthotics help alleviate pain by controlling the movement of both your feet and ankles. They are custom designed by a podiatrist to help treat foot problems. These problems include flat feet, spurs, arthritis of the ankle or foot, ankle sprains, weakness, and drop foot, a condition in which the patient cannot raise their foot at the ankle joint.
Custom Orthotics Reduce Risk of Sports Injuries
Foot-related sports injuries are extremely common, due to overuse and repetitive strain on the feet. Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis are two of the most common of these injuries.
Counterintuitively, those of us that only play sports on the weekends have a greater risk of suffering from heel and tendon injuries. Orthotics can help reduce the odds that you’ll get hurt. If you jog, play tennis or basketball, or do any kind of high ground impact activity, you should consider getting fitted for orthotics. Custom made for your foot, they will meet your specific foot needs, and prevent further foot injury.
If you are having discomfort in your feet and would like to try orthotics, contact one of our podiatrists from Tri-County Foot & Ankle. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
Orthotics come in a wide variety of over-the-counter inserts that are used to treat foot pain, heel pain, and minor problems. For example, arch supports can be inserted into your shoes to help correct overarched or flat feet, while gel insoles are often used because they provide comfort and relief from foot and heel pain by alleviating pressure. Athletes that have generally low aches and pains in the foot, ankle, or lower back area can use an over the counter version of these orthotics.
If over-the-counter inserts don’t work for you or if you have a more severe foot concern, it is possible to have your podiatrist prescribe custom orthotics. These high quality inserts are designed to treat problems such as abnormal motion, plantar fasciitis, and severe forms of heel pain. They can even be used to help patients suffering from diabetes by treating foot ulcers and painful calluses and are usually molded to your feet individually, which allows them to provide full support and comfort.
If you are experiencing minor to severe foot or heel pain, it’s recommended to speak with your podiatrist about the possibilities of using orthotics. A podiatrist can determine which type of orthotic is right for you and allow you to take the first steps towards being pain-free.
If you have any questions please contact our offices located in The Villages®, FL. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.