What Are Orthotics?

Orthotics may sound like a complex term but don’t worry. They are pretty straightforward and, above all, helpful. Orthotics can offer support and comfort if you’re dealing with foot-related issues. Even if you don’t have foot issues, you may be surprised that they have practical uses that can benefit your life. 



What Are Orthotics?


Orthotics are medical devices designed to treat and alleviate foot and ankle problems. Also called foot orthoses or orthotic devices, they are typically prescribed and often custom-made. This is to cater to your unique needs and symptoms.


Orthotics work by providing support and realigning the foot and ankle. They also prevent, correct, and accommodate foot deformities. Finally, they allow for improved function and reduced pain.



Types of Orthotics


There are two main types of orthotics: rigid and soft. 


Rigid or functional orthotics aim to correct abnormal foot and ankle motion. It helps ensure proper positioning and stability. They are often made from tougher materials and work well with walking and dress shoes.  


On the other hand, soft or accommodative orthotics primarily focus on cushioning and providing support to areas that often receive pressure. They are made with soft, compressible materials. Calluses, diabetic ulcers, and bony prominences are some conditions soft orthotics can help with. 



Customization and Proper Fit


Some people think that inserts are the same as orthotic devices, but there is a remarkable difference. While you can buy inserts over the counter, foot orthoses are prescribed and customized.  


Each pair of orthotics is tailored to the individual's foot structure and needs. This means you must undergo several tests before you can get your pair. These tests may include taking detailed measurements and conducting gait analysis. The doctor also checks specific symptoms or conditions. 



Benefits of Orthotics


Orthotics offer a range of benefits. They provide pain relief and support and can improve balance, stability, and overall foot function. By realigning the foot and ankle, orthotics can help alleviate stress on other parts of the body, such as the knees, hips, and lower back.



Practical Applications of Orthotics


Even if you don’t have a foot issue, orthotics can still be helpful in many ways.  


In sports, athletes may rely on orthotics to prevent injuries caused by repetitive stress. Workers who spend long hours on their feet, such as healthcare professionals, can benefit from the added support and cushioning. Moreover, individuals recovering from foot surgery or managing chronic conditions like arthritis may find orthotics integral to their treatment plan.



Proper Care and Maintenance


Proper care and maintenance are essential to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your orthotics. It would be best to clean them regularly, protect them from excessive heat, and inspect them for wear and tear. Additionally, it's essential to communicate with a healthcare professional regarding any concerns or discomfort you experience while wearing your orthotics.



Do You Think You Can Benefit From Orthotics? 


Do you need orthotics for your foot condition? Or perhaps you feel you’ll benefit from having them? If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the experts. Visit Back and Neck Pain Centers at our offices in Bellevue, Tukwila, or Seattle, Washington. You may also call  (425) 649-9335, (425) 243-1200, (206) 233-0818, or (206) 772-0088 to book an appointment today.

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