Wearing Orthotics? Learn What Type You Should Use Based on Your Condition

Did you know that many pains throughout your musculoskeletal system can be traced to your foot problems? Here, we will answer the question: why are orthotic shoes good for your health?

Misaligned feet lead your sinus tarsi (space between two bones on your feet) to collapse, making your feet roll inward excessively. That’s the reason why you are experiencing chronic pain. But as soon as you address the root cause by wearing orthotics and using other foot and ankle treatments and services, the pain is eliminated. If you need foot care specialists in Mississauga & Hamilton, visit Feet In Motion. They are one of the leading foot and ankle clinics in these areas, with their top-notch services. They also accommodate weekend and evening appointments to suit your busy schedules.

Orthotics are custom shoe inserts or a medical device inserted into a shoe used to manage many foot problems, such as bunions, hammertoes, flat feet, heel pain, arthritis, etc. However, before you invest in orthotics, you must understand their different types to determine which kind you need based on your condition.

Types of Orthotics

Orthotics have three categories: those that are customized prescribed by doctors to treat foot and ankle issues and act as protection, those that mainly attempt to maximize foot function, and ones that protect the wearer from potential injuries. 

1. Rigid Orthotics

Rigid orthotics are designed to control the motion of two major foot joints, which lie right under your ankle joint to help alleviate strains, aches, and pains on your thighs, legs, and lower spine. They’re also often used as dress shoes. These medical devices are long-lasting, do not change shape, and aren’t easy to break.

Their most important characteristics include:

  • Made up of firm materials, including plastic or carbon fiber.
  • You do not need too much modification to meet your shoe size.
  • They extend from the sole of the heel to the toes or ball of your foot.

2. Semi-rigid Orthotics

Athletes or people active in sports often use these types of orthotics since they provide foot balance for walking. They might not offer you a permanent solution to foot problems but can help support joints, muscles, and tendons.

Their attributes include:

  • Composed of layers of soft materials, reinforced with rigid materials.
  • Suitable for athletes and sports enthusiasts.

3. Soft Orthotics

Soft orthotics are designed to help absorb shock, optimize balance, and remove pressure off sore or uncomfortable areas. They are molded by your foot’s walking actions or fashioned over a plaster impression of your feet. They are usually utilized to treat deformed, arthritic, and diabetic foot problems.

Soft orthotics are:

  • Used to absorb shock, increase balance, or release pressure.
  • Made up of soft, compressible materials.
  • Often recommended in addition to prescription footwear and may need extra room in shoes.
  • Worn against the sole of your foot, extending from heels to toes.

4. Orthotics for Children

These medical devices are utilized to treat children with foot deformities. Most podiatric doctors recommend that children with such problems be put in orthotics shortly once they start walking to stabilize their feet. The best thing about children’s orthotics is that you can put them directly into standard or athletic shoes.

Children’s orthotics are often replaced when their feet have increased two sizes. Since their feet develop and change shape as they grow, several types of orthotics may be required.

5. Other Types of Orthotics

Several other orthotic types serve as protection for people involved in skiing, inline skating, and ice skating. They can also treat back problems caused by foot imbalance.

Specialists recommend custom or non-custom bracing for more complex foot and ankle deformities to relieve pain and enhance function. It will stabilize your foot and ankle and may include an orthotic-like footplate. It can also fit a typical shoe and may avoid surgery for foot and ankle problems.

Practical Tips for People Wearing Orthotics

If you are advised to wear or are currently wearing orthotics, consider following these simple tips to avoid issues:

  • Each time you want to buy a new pair of shoes, bring your orthotics.
  • Wear sneakers, which function well with your orthotics.
  • Wear socks or stockings like those you intend on wearing when you purchase a new set of shoes.
  • Always contact or follow your doctor’s recommendations and return for follow-up when required.