Orthotics: A Solution for Many Common Pains
What are orthotics?
An orthotic device is an insert placed in the shoes, under the feet, to correct foot posture. Most people have a natural foot posture, which is not always efficient. For example, they may have flat feet, meaning they tend to be pronated. Or, they may have high-arched feet.
Shoes are very generic and don’t account for these differences. Different brands also vary in fit and can work better for some people than others. For example, Nike shoe is designed with a narrow sole. Nikes will work well for someone with a narrow foot. New Balance, on the other hand, has a much wider sole.
Tip: Avoid cheap, poor quality footwear. It is tempting to buy those 50 RMB knock-off shoes, especially for kids with constantly growing feet. But, they’re made of poor quality materials and can cause problems. They don’t wear well and are usually made of non-breathable material which can lead to fungus and other issues.
When you walk, you’re propelling yourself forward using the foot. When wearing shoes designed to fit an “average foot” that don’t fit your specific foot posture, you will tend to have side-to-side (less efficient) movement. The orthotic inserts allow you to walk with maximum efficiency.
What are some signs that you might need orthotics?
• Plantar fasciitis: a common diagnosis for foot pain. Orthotics can almost always provide relief.
• Hallux Valgus: many people experience bunions, which appear as a big bump on the side of the big toe. This is reflective of changes to the bone structure, where the big toe points inward and cramps the space of the other toes. This can cause pain and soreness, as well as a tendency for tough skin buildup where the foot rubs in the shoe when walking.
• Hammer toe: a contracture/bending of one of both of the joints of the little toes. This puts pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing pain, irritation, corns, calluses, and inflammation (sometimes with redness and burning).
• Pain in knees and/or hips after walking: often results from an imbalance in the pelvis/spine due to different leg lengths. A leg length measurement is part of the patient assessment (some people are well aware there’s a difference, others may only know they have the pain and not know of minor differences). Heel inserts can help immensely for people with leg length disparity.
• People often show signs of feet/leg structural challenges at a young age. Early intervention with orthotics compensates for these issues and keeps problems from developing. Inefficient foot posture, if uncorrected, can lead to pain and imbalances throughout the body. However, even at later ages, the orthotics can make a big difference going forward.
What is the process for getting orthotics?
The measuring and casting is done here at the Body & Soul clinic. The orthotics are custom-designed by an expert orthotics professional in Hong Kong (it is vital to get proper custom orthotics from a specialist, and to be measured properly). Once completed, the patient comes for the fitting at Body & Soul.
Do I wear the orthotics all the time? Do I need more than one pair?
Yes, they are like corrective lenses (eyeglasses or contacts). They correct the problem only when you’re wearing them.
Orthotics come in a few varieties. Most people want to get one in a dress shoe style and one for active wear.
How long will orthotics last?
They will generally last 3-5 years, depending on your level of activity. Many insurance plans cover orthotics.
Herman Szeto is chiropractor specialized in pain management and postural restructuring. He offers orthotics consultations to treat a variety of conditions. Contact us to schedule an appointment with him. For other foot related issues and orthotics prescription, you can also book an appointment with Scott , our podiatrist.
Orthotics are covered by major insurances. Body & Soul – Medical Clinics also provides direct billing with various insurance companies. Our team assists you in the process of getting cost estimations, guarantees of payment and reimbursements. If you need any assistance to find out whether your insurance covers the services we offer, feel free to send us an email with a copy of your passport and your insurance card. Our team will check your policy and inform you about your individual coverage.