What Orthopedic Shoes and Inserts Can and Can’t Do for You
At the end of the day, are your feet so sore that you can barely walk? Is this something that occurs on a regular basis? If so, then orthopedic shoes or inserts may be the right solution for you.
But before you run out to the drugstore to pick up some non-prescription inserts, here are some things that you need to know about what orthopedic shoes and inserts can and can’t do for you.
What are Orthopedic Shoes and Inserts?
Orthopedic shoes are specifically designed to provide support and pain relief for people suffering with some type of leg, ankle, or foot pain. While most people tend to think of ugly shoes when they think of orthopedic shoes, today’s orthopedic shoe is a lot more fashion-friendly then they have been in the past, and are worn by people of all ages. The exact design for orthopedic shoes varies depending on the particular health problems of the wearer. There is no one design of orthopedic shoe that will work effectively on all types of foot problems.
Wearing orthopedic shoes is a good idea whenever there is any type of health issue that makes walking painful. All orthopedic shoes and boots share several characteristics, such as:
- Extra firm and low heels
- Wide toes
- Inner soles that can be removed
While the most popular type of orthopedic footwear is shoes and inserts, you can also buy orthopedic socks and slippers.
Prescription vs. Non-Prescription Inserts
Just like orthopedic shoes, shoe inserts can help relieve a variety for ailments, including flat arches and foot pain. Shoe inserts work to cushion your feet, providing comfort and support to your arches. They can also help correct biochemical foot problems or cure long-standing foot issues.
The most common types of shoe inserts are:
- Arch supports: designed to support the foot’s natural arch.
- Insoles: provides extra cushioning and support. They are often made of gel, foam, or plastic.
- Heel liners: also known as heels pads or heel cups. They provide extra cushioning in the heel region.
- Foot cushions: can be used as a barrier to stop your shoe from rubbing against your foot.
Unlike non-prescription inserts, prescription custom orthotics are designed specifically to support and comfort your feet. Prescription orthotics can be divided into two categories: functional orthotics and accommodative orthotics.
Functional orthotics work to treat foot pain caused by abnormal motion and injuries, such as shin splints or tendinitis. Functional orthotics are generally made out of semi-rigid material, like plastic or graphite.
Accommodative orthotics are made out of softer material and are meant to provide additional cushioning and support. They can be used to treat uncomfortable conditions, such as diabetic foot ulcers and painful calluses on the bottom of the foot.
Causes of Foot Pain
Some of the common types of foot pain that orthopedic shoes or inserts can help treat include:
- Plantar fasciitis: irritation or inflammation of the band of tough tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes.
- Heel Spurs: abnormal bone growth on the bottom of your heel.
- Heel fracture: a high-impact injury caused from a fall or car accident.
- Metatarsalgia: pain and inflammation in the ball of your foot.
- Morton’s neuroma: a thickening of tissue around the nerves between the bases of the toes.
- Fallen arches: when the arches of the feet flatten out.
- Bunions: a bony bulge along the edge of the foot, next to the base of the big toe.
- Hammertoe: when your second, third, or fourth toe bends at the middle joint.
- Claw toe: when your toe points up or down and is unable to straighten.
- Sesamoid fracture: a break in the small bones that are embedded in the tendons attached to the big toe.
Book an Appointment
While orthopedic shoes and inserts can do a lot to help your feet feel better, you should make an appointment with a skilled and knowledgeable podiatrist before purchasing your own orthopedic shoes and inserts. Consult with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie today about which products will work best for your specific foot needs, and what else you can do to help alleviate your foot pain.