Most of us have heard of orthotics (insoles for your shoes) and many of us even have worn them or currently do. But not many of us took the time to notice if they were truly custom (made specifically for us) or just a cookie cutter pair made by someone with no training. There is some basics to know about orthotic, what they are and why someone would need them.
Orthotics are medical devices that are placed into your existing shoes (or you can have them made specifically for a new pair of shoes). They are used to support your feet and correct any improper gait (walking) patterns you have developed. By fixing someone’s improper biomechanics in his/her feet/ knees and hips, orthotics can be used to treat many different conditions including: plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, knee pain, low back pain and flat feet. They can also be used to reduce fatigue for people who are standing for long periods of time on hard surfaces (construction/factory workers).
So let’s say you or your doctor have decided that you would benefit from a pair of orthotics. Who should you see and how do you know they are trained to properly fit you for orthotics? It’s important to go to someone who has been educated to assess your posture and gait biomechanics. You have options including Chiropractors, Podiatrists, Chiropodists, Orthotists or Pedorthists. When being examined they should be assessing the movements in your feet/ankles, knees, hips and even low back. They should assess your arch height to determine if you have low, high or normal arches. The way you walk should be assessed to determine if you roll in (pronate) or roll out (supinate).
“While it’s much more common to see pronators in our office, it’s important to do a full examination to determine each person’s individual need and to make sure we don’t miss anything,” explains Dr. Maja Salihbegovic, Chiropractor, Edgar Family Chiropractic. Once you have been assessed and your orthotics are made, they should be dispensed by the health practitioner to make sure they fit into your shoes properly, and if not to make any necessary changes. “The number one reason I hear people say that their orthotics didn’t help them was because they took them out of their shoes because they were uncomfortable. Orthotics can only work to help people if they fit properly and are comfortable” Dr. Salihbegovic states.
Orthotics can be extremely beneficial for people and can be the difference between daily foot and lower leg pain and no pain. But it is important to make sure what your wearing is going to help by having a regulated health practitioner examine and correctly fit you for your pair of truly custom orthotics.
Dr. Maja Salihbegovic is a chiropractor and works with her husband at their clinic, Edgar Family Chiropractic in downtown Burlington. They offer custom made orthotics and orthopedic-friendly shoes amongst other services such as massage, medical acupuncture and sports rehabilitation. If you have any questions, you can reach her at email@example.com or visit her website at www.edgarchiropractic.ca for more information.
Photo Credit (Yale)