Would you knowingly buy a house with a damaged foundation? It is pretty widely accepted that this is a very important component to any building or home. The same can be said for your own foundation: your feet. Just as an unlevel building foundation will negatively affect the rest of the structure that it supports, improper foot support can have a detrimental effect on your body in a variety of ways.
The most famous structural example is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. There have been restoration efforts to minimize the increasing slant over time to ensure it
doesn’t tip over. Even after this support has been provided, there is still over a two and a half foot difference in height from one side to the other. Fortunately, our bodies naturally compensate so we don’t walk around with our heads tilted to one side when our foundation is off. Our head and eyes are typically level. So when our foundation is off, something in the middle (between our feet and our head) needs to adjust accordingly so we are leveled up at the top. Depending on the person and scenario, this can come in the feet, ankles, knees, hips, back or neck, among other areas. When this compensation occurs for an extended period of time and/or with repeated repetitions (steps while walking/running), this causes increased stress on the tissues (joints, tendons, muscles). That’s usually when you notice pain in your feet, on the inside of your knee, in your hip, back, etc.
There are small muscles in your feet that help support your arches and ensure that your foundation is stable. Certain exercises can be performed to increase your use of these muscles, and additionally provide increased balance, proprioception, and strength. Walking barefoot on uneven ground can help in these areas as well. This may even be possible to do here in Wisconsin now that the weather is starting to actually warm up! However, sometimes additional support is needed to provide that solid foundation in the form of an orthotic.
While premade orthotics can be a more affordable option, they are not tailored to an individual’s specific needs and may not provide the same level of support or comfort as custom orthotics. They are also going to be the exact same on the left and the right. While many people can benefit from a premade orthotic, it is rare to have a person with the exact same needs on both sides.
Custom foot orthotics are designed specifically for an individual’s unique foot structure, gait pattern, and biomechanics. They are made by taking a mold of the person’s foot and creating a support that is tailored to their specific needs. We also utilize a pedograph, which shows areas of increased and decreased amount of pressure under the foot while actually walking (think of your footprint on the concrete after getting out of the swimming pool, but more advanced). Gait analysis and a comprehensive history are also utilized to provide the most custom product possible. This customization provides several benefits over premade orthotics, including:
Precise fit: Custom orthotics are designed to fit the contours of the individual’s foot, ensuring maximum support and comfort.
Enhanced support: Custom orthotics can provide targeted support where it’s needed most, helping to improve gait and reduce pain.
Durability: Custom orthotics are made from high-quality materials and are built to last longer than premade orthotics.
Better function: Custom orthotics can help correct imbalances or abnormalities in foot function, improving overall body mechanics and reducing the risk of injury.
Better performance: For athletes or those who are physically active, custom orthotics can help enhance performance by providing support and reducing the risk of injury.
It’s important to consult with a specialist to determine if orthotics may be an appropriate treatment option for your symptoms, as the underlying cause of the pain may be related to other factors beyond foot mechanics. If you do have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d be happy to schedule a complimentary consult and pedograph to see if you would be a good candidate.