Your Path to Pain Reduction Could Start with Your Feet
Our feet do a lot of the hard work needed to move our bodies around. The feet also act as natural shock absorbers for the weight of our bodies. This means that a problem in your foot can be bad for your entire body. And when one or both feet have problems such as structural abnormalities, deformities, imbalances, and misalignments, the feet no longer function as effective shock absorbers, leading to pain and further injuries in the feet themselves or elsewhere in the body.
Orthotics are a simple yet effective solution to stopping these problems in their tracks.
What are foot orthotics? How do foot orthotics Work?
Orthotics are orthopedic devices that change the way your feet function in order to correct imbalances, misalignments and other biomechanical disorders in your feet. Orthotics can help to alleviate issues caused by these disorders by restoring proper alignment to the bones and ligaments in the foot. Orthotics keep everything in the proper position to help the foot function return to normal.
Because proper foot mechanics are connected to other parts of the body, orthotics can help with pain in other places as well. By supporting proper foot mechanics, custom orthotics can also relieve stress on other parts of the kinetic chain such as the knees, hips, and lower back.
There are many different types of orthotics to treat many different types of foot problems. Accommodative orthotics help to relieve minor foot pain and correct slight misalignments. For more serious foot issues, such as abnormalities and deformities, functional orthotics can be used. Different manufacturers use different materials to make their orthotics, which vary in cost and effectiveness.
Custom Foot Orthotics vs. Ones That I Can Pick Up at the Store
You are probably familiar with the insoles you can pick up at your local drugstore. While these products might help to alleviate soreness in your feet, they aren’t nearly as effective as custom orthotics for remedying foot disorders. Store-bought orthotics and insoles are a good solution for making poor quality shoes a little more comfortable, but they are not able to realign the feet in a way that would truly help improve the biomechanics of your feet.
The biggest reason that store-bought orthotics aren’t as effective is that they are a one-size-fits-all product and as a consequence they do not have much of a correction factor. Custom orthotics, on the other hand, are made to correct your individual foot problem. Everyone’s feet have different needs. In fact, your right foot probably has slightly different needs than your left. Each custom orthotic device is crafted to address the needs of one particular foot.
The first step in building your custom orthotics is for us to take a cast of your feet. This allows the lab technicians to work with an accurate model when creating a computer-modeled version of the orthotics. The end result is an orthotic device that is built to correct your specific misalignments and imbalances. The final step is making sure that the custom orthotics fit perfectly into your shoes to give you the support that your feet need.
Play The Sole Supports Story Video to learn how these orthotics are custom designed to correct your foot mechanics
How do I know if I need foot orthotics?
If you have any of the symptoms listed below, your feet might not be functioning correctly and custom orthotics could be just what you need to reduce or eliminate pain.
- Toes that point excessively inward or outward
- Crooked toes or “hammer toes”
- Chronic pain or discomfort in one or both knees
- Lower back pain
- Bunions, corns, or calluses on your feet
- General foot pain
- Low arches or “flat feet” are also associated with foot problems. Can you fit a finger underneath the arch of your foot? If not, your foot problems might be due to low arches. Take a look at the sole of an old shoe that you have worn for a while. Is one side of the sole wearing out faster than the other side? This uneven wear can be a sign of uneven weight distribution that may be corrected with orthotics.
What conditions benefit from foot orthotics?
Before we talk about treating foot problems with orthotics, let’s talk about proper and improper foot mechanics. The most basic foot mechanics involve the two spring-like actions that occur with each step you take: pronation and supination.
Pronation happens when the arches of the feet flatten a little and the ankle tips inward every time the foot strikes the ground. This action absorbs the shock of the heel hitting the ground and helps you you’re your balance when your body is in mid-stance.
Supination is the opposite of pronation. Supination happens every time the foot pushes off the ground to take a step. The ankle tips outward in order to support the foot with every step while providing leverage for your weight while you are in mid-step. Supination also helps the toes form a natural rolling motion at the very beginning of the step when your foot initially leaves the ground.
Everybody’s feet supinate and pronate as they walk, but people with excessive pronation and supination may develop serious foot problems.
Nearly all foot problems are due to some degree of excessive pronation, or overpronation. Overpronation occurs when the ankle tips inward too far, putting excess strain on the inner foot. This action pulls on the muscles stabilizing the lower leg which can pull the knee to the inside.
Overpronation is typically associated with low arches or “flat feet.” Some symptoms of overpronation include:
- Achilles tendonitis
- Heel spurs
- Shin splints
- Knee pain
- Kneecap tendonitis
- Inflammation and wear between the kneecap and the knee joint
- Hip and low back pain due to muscle overuse / compensation
- Degenerative joints due to extra stress on joint
While overpronation is the culprit for many foot problems, about 5 to 10% of all foot disorders are associated with the opposite problem, oversupination. Oversupination occurs when the ankle tilts too far outward and the outer edge of the foot bears an imbalanced proportion of the body’s weight. This action stretches the stabilizing muscles in the lower leg and can lead to ankle injury. One common injury associated with oversupination is ligament injury due to the ankle rolling over.
People with high arches or abnormally stiff arches may develop problems due to oversupination. Some symptoms of oversupination include:
- Low back pain
- Lateral knee pain
- Hip pain
- Twisted or sprained ankle
Some common conditions that we can treat at our office with custom foot orthotics include:
- Plantar Fasciitis (heel pain and arch pain)
- Metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot)
- Hallux Rigidus (stiff big toe)
- Knee Pain
- Low Back Pain
- Morton’s Neuroma (sharp pain or numbness in the ball of the foot)
- Shin Splints
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome (pain in the lower thigh or outside of the knee)
- Sports Performance
- Pregnancy-Related Foot and Low-Back Pain
- Pediatric Conditions
It’s important to come in for a comprehensive physical to see if you are suffering from these or other conditions that are treatable with foot orthotics.
Why I should come to a chiropractor for my foot problems?
At Ravenswood Chiropractic & Wellness Center, our chiropractor is certified in Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), which is a mode of diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal pain. SFMA allows us to find and treat not just the source of your pain, but identify an entire array of dysfunctional patterns that might be contributing to your pain. Our pain management plan also includes physical therapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture so that we can provide additional options for treating your pain if necessary.
Our chiropractor is also a certified SoleSupports chiropractor. SoleSupports, the brand of orthotics that we use, are designed to accurately correct the weight imbalance on your feet. In order to achieve this, the models for SoleSupports are cast in a weight bearing position. This allows the orthotics to properly support your feet and correct misalignments at all times.
Call Ravenswood Chiropractic & Wellness Center Today!
The first step to finding out if orthotics are right for you is to make an appointment at our Andersonville office. Many people don’t associate foot problems with pain in other parts of their body such as the lower back or knees. However, misalignments, deformities, and abnormalities in one or both feet can cause discomfort elsewhere in the body. As we have seen, improper foot function can cause all sorts of ailments almost anywhere on the body, even general fatigue. But when properly fitted with the right orthotics to correct your imbalances, you may see these types of pain dissipate or go away altogether.
Call and speak to one of our expert team members at 773.878.7330 to schedule a foot and ankle examination today to see how you might benefit from orthotics. We are located in Andersonville (on Ravenswood Avenue) with free street parking available.