Do Orthotics Really Work?

There has been some confusion circulating for years now about foot orthotics and if they really work. There are over the counter options, custom orthotics and a wide range of options in between. With so many different options and information, it can be hard to understand what will work best for you and your unique situation. One of the best ways to determine what will work for your individual body is to work with a qualified practitioner in Calgary that knows your body, lifestyle and wellness goals.

What are custom foot orthotics?

custom foot orthotics calgary are prescription medical devices that you wear inside your shoes to correct biomechanical foot issues such as problems with how you walk, stand, or run. They can also help with foot pain caused by medical conditions such as diabetes, plantar fasciitis, bursitis, and arthritis. They are made by taking an exact mold of your foot to ensure a perfect fit and then the mold is turned into either a rigid or soft orthotic depending on your needs.

Why are custom orthotics used?

Foot orthotics are powerful tools that can alleviate back pain to a degree, straighten out hip and knee alignment and alleviate foot/ankle pain and dysfunction. If you are experiencing this type of concern, your practitioner will likely prescribe custom orthotics for you.

Custom foot orthotics are often recommended for those suffering with common conditions such as:


Arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can cause discomfort in the feet that orthotics may help to correct.

Back pain. Sometimes poor positioning of the feet, such as arches that roll inward, or lack of cushioning can cause pain that orthotics can reduce.

Bunions. Bunions are painful bumps that can develop at the base of the big toe and cause foot deformities. Orthotics can help to reduce pressure on the big toe and relieve pain.

Bursitis. Inflammation of fluid-filled sacs in the heels and toes can cause bursitis pain and discomfort. Orthotics with heel and arch support can help to reduce the discomfort.

Diabetes. Sometimes, a person with diabetes can lose sensation in their feet, a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. When this occurs, orthotics can help to reduce excess stress and pressure could otherwise lead to foot ulcers.

Flat feet. Flat feet can cause foot, ankle and back pain. Orthotics can help to support the feet and promote correct foot positioning.

Hammer toes. Hammer toes often occur as a side effect of bunions on the big toe. They cause second-toe pain and deformities on the ball of the foot. Orthotics can provide additional support to the feet and reduce the likelihood that hammer toes will get worse.

Heel spurs. Heel spurs are conditions where excess bone grows on the back or bottom of the heel. Orthotics can reduce inflammation by supporting the foot.

High arches. Very high arches can stress muscles in the feet and lead to a number of conditions, such as shin splints, knee pain, and plantar fasciitis. Orthotics can help prevent these concerns.

Injuries. People who’ve experienced trauma to their feet and ankles may require extra support during the healing process and orthotics can be a great help.

Plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain. Doctors may sometimes recommend orthotics to better support the heel and foot.

While foot orthotics can be helpful in treating many conditions, healthcare practitioners will typically use them in conjunction with other treatments such as physical therapy exercises. A practitioner may also recommend taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to reduce pain and inflammation.

Ideally, custom foot orthotics are used to help a person avoid more invasive treatments, such as surgery.

Do custom foot orthotics really work?

Orthotics don’t universally help all people with conditions that affect the foot and ankle. There are many complex considerations surrounding the effectiveness of orthotics, including:

the training and experience of the person making the orthotic

the doctor’s prescription

the shoe in which a person wears them

how often a person wears them

There are studies that support the use of orthotics for treating foot and ankle problems, however, many of them stress that the orthotic must fit well and be worn correctly.

Overall, there are certain situations where foot orthotics work and somewhere they don’t. The practitioners you work with are your best source of guidance on whether a custom orthotic will work for you and which options will be best in your unique situation. Expert opinions are definitely your best bet to determine if orthotics will work for you.

 The chiropractic team at ProActive Health Group in downtown Calgary has years of experience working with patients who have found relief using custom foot orthotics. If you’ve been wondering if orthotics will work for you, book a consultation with one of our Calgary team members today!


What do you think?

Written by Proactive Health Group

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