Have you ever experienced sore feet? As you age your feet will often change. Changes in the shape of your feet, the support of your ligaments, and complications from previous injuries can all cause strain and pain. This is why a custom orthotic is a good idea to provide proper support and relief for your feet. Contact Optimal Physical Therapy today to learn more about how we can help relieve your foot pain.
What are the Causes of Foot Pain?
Problems with your feet can be caused by several conditions directly related to the feet. General ailments and diseases that affect the body as a whole can also lead to foot pain. The following are several examples of conditions or diseases that can be the cause of foot pain. These conditions can all be treated with physical therapy.
- Plantar Fasciitis. This is a painful condition along the sole of the foot; and in particular, the area that connects the heel bone to the toes. This is due to thick tissues along the bottom of the feet becoming tightened or inflamed. Pain can occur in the heel or the arch of the foot. It can be caused by obesity, age, and standing for long periods of time on your feet.
- Heel Spurs. This is a bony protrusion on the heel that is usually made of some sort of calcium build-up. While the actual spurs are not painful they can poke the tissues in the heel and potentially cause severe pain. Many of the same risk factors that cause plantar fasciitis can also cause heel spurs.
- Diabetes. Diabetes can lead to foot problems because of restricted blood flow and nerve damage. When nerves are damaged through diabetes this is referred to as neuropathy. When the muscles in the foot no longer function together properly this can cause unequal pressure on the foot. Unequal pressure can result in sores, infections, and even amputation in extreme cases. Proper footwear can help prevent foot problems related to diabetes.
- Arthritis. Arthritis is a debilitating joint disease that can affect the joints throughout the foot. Stiffness and swelling in the joints can eventually lead to permanent damage. This can affect the way you stand or walk.
- Metatarsalgia. This is a painful disorder that affects the joints and bones along with the ball of the foot. This condition is often caused by ill-fitting footwear or restrictive footwear. Orthotics are usually recommended to help reduce pain caused by metatarsalgia.
Other potentially treatable conditions include patellofemoral knee pain, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, and bunions, as well as numerous systemic pathologies that (like diabetes) affect the function of the lower limbs. Physical therapy services can provide treatment to relieve pain and improve whatever condition you’re suffering from.
What are Custom Orthotics?
Custom orthotics are devices that are individually fabricated to fit your feet. They resemble insoles but are specifically crafted and made of materials that will last longer than prefabricated orthotics. They are sometimes referred to as prescription glasses for your feet. There are generally three types of custom orthotics.
- Therapeutic. If the shape of your feet is irregular, these types of orthotics can assist heel support, forward movement, and general stability.
- Accommodative. These are created to help you relieve the stress on joints that is often caused by conditions such as arthritis.
- Functional. These will help your feet to move in a more desirable way or bear weight in a way that will help you move and walk better.
Although custom orthotics are more expensive than off-the-shelf devices, they last much longer and provide more support or correction. Orthotic inserts will improve how your feet and lower legs feel and function. Quality orthotics can alleviate pressure, eliminate pain, and promote stability. It’s important to receive custom orthotics that are created to fit the exact shape of your foot in order to receive the maximum benefits.
How Can Physical Therapy Services Help?
Physical therapists are specifically trained in musculoskeletal movement. They have extensive knowledge of gait analysis and biomechanics of the lower extremities. They can provide you with orthotics that uniquely fit the contours of your feet, giving you the maximum amount of function, support, and comfort.
Our physical therapists can give you a comprehensive orthotic evaluation. He or she will provide a custom fitting to determine what will work best for your feet. Our physical therapist will take into consideration your current medical conditions and activity level when providing the best custom orthotics. After your evaluation and fitting, it will likely take a few weeks for your custom orthotics to come back from the lab.
After you have received your orthotics it will likely be necessary to provide an ongoing assessment of how your orthotics are working. Fine-tuning may be needed to provide the best results possible. Contact Optimal Physical Therapy today to learn how our customized orthotics can benefit you. We will have you feeling your absolute best and light on your feet.