WHAT ARE ORTHOTICS? WHO NEEDS ORTHOTICS?
LEARN ABOUT THE DAILY BENEFITS OF WEARING ORTHOTICS. EXPERIENCE BETTER SHOCK ABSORPTION, PRESSURE UNIFORMITY AND PROPULSION, AND MORE!!
Orthotics (popularly known as shoe insoles) help prevent the feeling of tired, achy feet, and are specially developed to meet various needs. Depending on the desired benefits, you can choose between different types of insoles. Most orthotics are able to be used for casual shoes, sneakers, or shoes without heels. They are highly recommended for sports and work shoes; especially in cases where the feet are subjected to excessive pressure for long periods of time. They are also recommended to wear for walking and other daily activities. For Athletes: Orthotics allow optimal muscle activation and healthy alignment: foot orthosis for athletes are specially designed to increase their performance and minimize the risk of injury.
Insoles are placed in a shoe, underneath the foot. They significantly improve the functions of the foot, providing optimal repositioning, support, and balance. They are suitable for people of all ages, who want to prevent or treat postural disorders, or a targeted pain. In this article, you will find relevant information on orthotics in general, on different types of orthotics and their daily benefits.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ORTHOTICS? The type of foot orthotic you need is the one that best suits your lifestyle. A pedorthist, orthotist, podiatrist, physical therapist, occupational therapist or chiropractor can be a knowledgeable specialist who is able to recommend an orthotic based on your pathologies, and your specific needs. Most orthotics are designed to meet a handful of targeted needs. Some are specific for relieving heel pain, others help ball of foot pain, while others stop over pronation and fallen arches. The diversity of the materials that compose them, such as leather, foam, gel or thermoplastic provide different results.
Hard orthotics can provide ample support for collapsing arches while standing, however, especially if the hard plastic is underneath the heel of the foot, they do not have ample impact absorption for higher impact activities like running. Most hard orthotics are made by making a mold of the foot that is experiencing foot problems, then the mold is sent to a laboratory where the orthotic is custom molded, essentially copying the underside of that problem foot into hard plastic to fit the bottom side of that foot. It is often covered with a softer foam or leather material for comfort.
Soft Orthotics are often sold over the counter in various pharmacies, shoes stores and online. They often come pre-made in various sizes and shapes. They generally provide ample cushioning and impact absorption for active people, without providing as much structural support as a harder orthotic. For more active people, it can be important to find a support that is both soft and flexible while also having a substantial amount of arch support that maintains its shape over time. Softer supports mimic walking on grass or sand while gently guiding the feet into proper alignment. Foam insoles can have great impact absorption, yet most foams tend to compress fairly quickly. If the insoles have ‘poron’ foam – this is a high quality foam that does not compress over time. Gel insoles can also provide a great solution for impact absorption and support that doesn’t compress over time.
WHAT ARE THE DAILY BENEFITS OF ORTHOTICS?
Orthotics can help to alleviate pain and biomechanical imbalances. Here are some of the daily benefits that help improve your quality of life:
ADAPT YOUR FOOT TO THE TERRAIN
Orthotics can help adapt your foot to the terrain whether it is a slippery, sloping or uneven rocky or hard surface. The surfaces on which we walk or carry out our activities – such as working or playing a sport — could pose certain difficulties for our feet. Jumping, running, or simply walking are so intuitive for humans that we take for granted the substantial energy that our lower limbs put into staying mobile and in balance. Typically, our body adapts to different terrains during movements. However, if the weight load on the lower limb is not evenly distributed, the imbalance could lead to injuries over time. They range from blisters, plantar fasciitis to stress fractures. This is where the orthotics come to the rescue. They can redistribute the load of pressure points under the foot, to support it during activities.
CORRECT YOUR POSTURE
Body movements, posture, and muscle performance are also optimized, thus, playing a major role in the prevention of several types of pathology of the feet or lower limbs. After a biomechanical assessment, and based on the results, your doctor or orthotist may recommend that you wear orthotics to correct specific postural imbalances. In this context, orthotics play a corrective role. It engages a biomechanical realignment, allowing the muscle and joint tissues of the entire body to move better. This is followed by the natural correction of your posture and the continued prevention of malaligned movements.
In many cases, orthotics are used to relieve pain in the feet. These pains are mainly caused by a repeated load on tissues designed to receive a lesser load (either in terms of frequency and/or weight). It is important to note that wearing shoes that are too narrow could compress the forefoot bones of the foot (metatarsals). In certain cases, the muscle and ligament tissues between them are also affected. This constant, daily pressure – coupled with friction between structures — often causes micro-tears, inflammation, and substantial pain. This phenomenon is called metatarsalgia. It is known to be one of the clinical reasons why orthotists recommend orthotics.
Here are other examples of painful conditions in the feet and lower limbs that orthotics can relieve:
- Foot pain (heel pain, arch pain, ‘ball of foot’ pain etc.)
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Joint and muscle pain in the legs
- Morton’s neuroma
- Over Pronation
- Over Supination
- Hallux valgus
- Hollow foot
- Flat foot
- High Arches
- Pain in the knees
- Back pain
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU NEED FOOT ORTHOTICS?
A biomechanical assessment can be a great first step. This allows you to study the relationship between your joint structures and their physiological functions while walking. In other words, this assessment makes it possible to analyze and to discover possible anomalies. It is a known fact that everyone, regardless of their age, benefits from a biomechanical assessment!
Here are the steps of the biomechanical and postural assessment:
- Range of motion assessment
- Examination of posture and alignment of joint structures
- Gait analysis
- Plantar pressure analysis: The resulting imaging focuses on the foot structure and pressure levels that can affect mobility and comfort.
# 1 RECOMMENDED ORTHOTICS FOR CASUAL WALKING / STANDING / DAILY ACTIVITIES
Its biomechanical shape is designed to effectively redistribute pressure or weight, evenly, across the foot, helping to relieve excess pressure on the heel and forefoot. Its uniquely soft support helps to train your foot and strengthen its natural arch without causing your foot to become perpetually reliant on support. Simply put, Soul insole Bubble micro-size Orthotics has a flexible design that works with your shoes, not against them — leveraging the existing structure of your shoe to increase support to your arch.
# 1 RECOMMENDED ORTHOTICS FOR RUNNING + SPORTS
The Soul Insole Shoe Bubble Pro-Lite Orthotics are about ⅔ the thickness of the Original Shoe Bubble Orthotics. Many athletic shoes come with a small amount of existing support. For these shoes, adding the Pro-Lite’s can softly guide your arches to the right place while providing impact absorption, energy return and pressure relief from the heels and ‘ball of foot’. Soul Insole Shoe Bubble Original and Pro-lite orthotics are unique in that they rest only in the midfoot section of the shoes – not under the heels, not under the forefoot. So, they will not change your shoe fit or crowd the shoes.