A foot orthotic is a device that can be inserted into the shoe to support, align, prevent and or accommodate foot deformities and improve foot function. Used in conjunction with appropriate footwear, a foot orthotic can be effective in helping to treat a number of foot and lower limb problems including heel, arch and forefoot pain, shin splints, as well as pain and complications related to health conditions such as diabetes and arthritis.
Who needs to wear orthotic shoes?
From mild discomfort in the foot and knee to severe problems, a foot orthotic can help a wide range of patients. A detailed assessment from a footwear and orthotic expert such as a Canadian Certified Pedorthist can confirm if a foot orthotic will assist an individual with a particular foot, leg, or even back problem.
Why is it important to put a foot orthotic in proper footwear?
A shoe acts as a foundation for the foot and provides a stable base for a foot orthotic to sit on. A foot orthotic can be rendered less effective by placing it within inferior footwear, as the shoe may work against the features of the orthotic. The foot orthotic is only as good as the shoe it goes into.
How long will a foot orthotic last?
The lifespan of a foot orthotic varies from patient to patient. The materials used to make the foot orthotic, the patient’s foot structure, current levels of activity, age and physical condition all have an impact on the lifespan of a foot orthotic.
The shell of the foot orthotic is the strong material that shapes it. It generally lasts longer than the top cover (the material used as an interface between the shell and the patient’s foot). The materials often used as top covers will compress over time but can easily be replaced.
The lifespan of a foot orthotic should be measured not by when the finishing touches (the cover material) wear out but by how long it meets the foot’s changing needs for support, correction and pressure redistribution. If your symptoms begin to return it is a good idea to have your orthotic reassessed to determine if modifications or a new device are necessary.
Adapted from www.pedorthic.ca