Any architect or builder will tell you the same thing: if your foundation isn’t stable, the house doesn’t stand much of a chance. Your feet—your personal foundation—follow the same principle, and when they’re out of alignment, the pain and instability transfers throughout the entire body.
One way to fix your foundation might be surgery, but for many people that’s not necessary. Often, the better way is through the use of custom orthotics and bracing, tools that are designed to provide the support you need conservatively and non-invasively.
And an experienced doctor of podiatry should be your first visit (we share why).
What Conditions Can Benefit from an Orthotic?
Perhaps the greatest asset of these devices are their versatility. While most orthotics are broadly categorized as either accommodative (providing extra cushioning or support) or functional (restricting or guiding abnormal motion), each category contains devices in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, each one specially designed to provide a specific function or range of functions.
Whether you need more cushioning for your heel, more support for your arch, more stability for your ankle, or even a correction in the alignment or motion of your feet as you walk, the correct orthotic can dramatically improve your symptoms and mobility. Orthotics may also be a component of the treatment plan for virtually any common foot or ankle condition, particularly those that are chronic or result from an abnormality in foot shape.
How Are Custom Orthotics Different from Over-the-Counter Inserts?
Orthotics are custom-made to fit your unique, individual foot shapes, and designed to treat a specific medical condition. Ordinarily insoles are not. While a store-bought pair can provide partial or temporary relief in the form of extra cushioning and support, they cannot offer the same level or quality of results as a custom piece. The orthotics we make for you are also much more durable and can last years with proper maintenance. They can also be periodically adjusted to ensure they continue to provide the maximum benefit, and may be covered by your insurance.
Breaking in New Custom Orthotics
Various types of braces are another option that may be considered when strength or stability is lacking in the ankles. This may be a temporary solution while you’re rehabbing from an injury or recovering from surgery, or a longer-term approach to preventing future sprains or falls. As with orthotics, these are devices that you wear regularly inside your shoes or clothes and help you maintain the firm foundation necessary to live and move as painlessly as possible.
Bracing is an effective treatment method for a number of common children’s foot issues that feature an abnormal twisting of the feet or legs, such as clubfoot, tibial torsion, or metatarsus adductus. Because children’s bones are soft, flexible, and growing, braces can help correct these misalignments over time by guiding them into the proper alignment.
Your ankles depend on three major ligaments to keep the joint steady and in line. However, injuries such as sprains stretch and tear these ligaments, and careful attention is required to ensure they heal properly and regain as much strength as possible. Braces can help protect and support the joint during the rehabilitation process, reducing the likelihood of re-injury.
Did you know that 1 in 3 senior citizens (65+) will fall at least once this year? Falls can be especially scary for older Americans, not only due to the immediate risk of a hip or head injury, but also long-term consequences like permanently reducing mobility and independence. It definitely pays to be proactive, and balance braces are one of the best tools available to help you maintain stability.
At Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists, our experts provide an extensive range of custom orthotics and braces that have proven to be successful components in the treatment of dozens of foot and ankle conditions. If you have any kind of foot pain, there’s a great chance you could benefit from one. Call today at (512) 328-8900 to schedule an appointment at our state-of-the-art Austin, TX podiatry office, or request an appointment online by filling out our contact form.