What are orthotics?

People who have a faulty foot structure, deformities, or other foot or ankle conditions may benefit from custom shoe inserts, called orthotics. Prescribed by a doctor, orthotics are used to correct a person’s gait, or to allow for proper foot mechanics. Prevention of some conditions may also indicate the use of these medical devices which fall into one of three types: hard, soft, and semi-flexible. Podiatrists often use these devices in the treatment of common conditions.

New technologies allow podiatrists to make precise adjustments to an orthotic that will literally change the way a person’s foot is affected when they walk, run, or stand. Several needs can be addressed through these inserts including: shock absorption, reduction in pressure, and better balance. All of these changes are focused on improved comfort for the patient.

I see shoe inserts at the store, are they the same as custom orthotics?

No. Over-the-counter shoe inserts are generalized and not designed for your unique needs. You may see orthotics advertised for specific groups of people such as athletes, but beware. Wearing inserts that are hard, too rigid, or not right for your feet can actually cause pain and injury.

You should always see your podiatrist for an exam and advice about the right orthotic for you! Podiatrist Kales will let you know if a pre-made orthotic will meet your needs, or if your feet and ankles will be healthier with a prescription orthotic. Don’t guess. Advice from your foot care professional will save you time, money, and discomfort.

People with diabetes should always consult their doctor prior to wearing any type of shoe insert. An improper fit can cause blisters and irritation that can lead to severe infection if unnoticed. Don’t take that risk!

How do I know if I need prescription orthotics?

Many athletes use these medical devices to accommodate their specific needs. For instance, runners enjoy the shock absorbency that they offer while basketball players often find they help to control the foot during play. Tennis players use them to decrease foot injuries that occur due to quick footwork during games.

Athletes aren’t the only ones who can benefit. Do you fit into any of these categories?

  • Ankles that roll inward (overpronation)
  • Pain in your ankles, heels, knees, or back
  • Chronic ankle sprains
  • Foot deformities
  • Inward or outward turning feet

Many people find that prescription orthotics provide relief from discomfort, and allow them to enjoy life again without foot and ankle pain. However, they are not advised for every foot condition, so getting valuable podiatric advice is highly recommended.

The best way to know if you are a good candidate for this treatment is by visiting Podiatrist Lawrence Kales. By listening to your symptoms and concerns, discussing your health history, and performing a thorough examination of your feet and ankles, Dr. Kales will determine the best course of action for your foot health. Visit us at one of our Florida locations: Spring Hill or Hudson, or schedule an appointment online.