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what are orthotics and why do you need them

Your feet are much more complex parts of your anatomy than you might ever have imagined. Did you know, for example, that every foot contains 26 separate bones? And that connecting and supporting those 26 bones are hundreds of different muscles, ligaments and tendons? Those 26 bones and hundreds of other components support you while you apply over 1,000,000 pounds of force on your feet — every day. One report by the American Podiatric Medical Association finds that over 80% of people experience foot pain that restricts their regular activities. Considering everything we put our feet through, is it any wonder? If you’re one of those people who suffers foot pain, getting orthotics in SW Calgary can help.

Familiar as we all are without our own feet, though, we aren’t as familiar with the language and features of podiatry — including how podiatrists use orthotics to protect and preserve our feet. Here’s an introduction to some basic concepts of orthotics.

What are orthotics?

Orthotics are special inserts that go into your shoes where they add a layer underneath your foot. We were tempted to say a “layer of support,” but that’s misleading. It’s true that orthotics offer a “layer of support,” but they are much more than cushions. Getting customized orthotics near you designed by a podiatrist or chiropractor for your feet precisely will adjust the way your weight is distributed across your feet and throughout your body. By adjusting the distribution of weight and your posture, orthotics influence the way you walk and move to generate improvements in your posture, reduce pain and eliminate stress.

Orthotics might even make your feet more comfortable but, odd as it seems, that’s not their primary goal. Rather, the goal of a chiropractor in SW Calgary in recommending custom orthotics is to help you to stand, walk and move more safely, efficiently and effectively without causing harm or stress on your feet and body.

How to know you might need orthotics

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you should ask a chiropractor near you to assess your feet and measure you for customized orthotics:

  • Look at the soles of your shoes. Is one side of the soles on your shoes more worn down than the other? If so, your feet may be rolling in one direction or the other. The longer that happens, the greater the risk that you’ll experience pain and even joint damage.

  • Do you feel throbbing or stabbing pain in your heels or feet? Those are symptoms that you may already have sustained injury to your feet by wearing ill-fitting shoes and that you may develop the medical condition called plantar fasciitis

  • Have you recently suffered an injury to your leg, ankle, feet or toes? Walking with an injury can — often unbeknownst to you — cause alterations in your gait that can worsen your injury, delay your recovery and even trigger other issues later.

If you’ve experienced any of those symptoms, you may benefit from wearing orthotics. Just what are some of the benefits of wearing orthotics?

What are the benefits of wearing orthotics?

  • Orthotics will support your arches while standing to help prevent collapsed arches, foot pain and knee problems
  • You may experience less back pain
  • Orthotics will help prevent the development of corns, calluses and bunions
  • Orthotics will help to correct existing posture problems
  • Orthotics designed for athletic purposes can help reduce your risk of injury

No two orthotics are the same, because no two feet — not even your own two feet — are the same. A chiropractor in SW Calgary will select from a wide range of materials to design orthotics precisely for your feet, needs, symptoms and medical conditions to help you to stand and move more safely, effectively and even more comfortably.