When it comes to your own personal health and wellness, it can be approached from two different avenues.
The first involves taking actions (or avoiding certain actions, as the case may be) in an effort to enhance your health. One example of this is eating nutritious foods so that you get the nutrients you need or engaging in regular physical exercise to keep your bones and muscles strong.
The second avenue or approach involves various actions and inactions aimed at correcting physical conditions, whether chronic or acute, in an attempt to reduce symptoms or slow progression. Prime examples include not eating gluten if you have Celiac disease or taking it easy if you’ve injured your back.
Well, the same is true when it comes to foot orthotics. Some are used to enhance your health and wellness and others are best suited for dealing with chronic or acute conditions.
Foot orthotics for wellness
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This couldn’t be truer when it comes to your health, as it is always more advantageous to take precautions to avoid the development of health-related conditions than it is to deal with them once they have appeared and can be difficult to get rid of.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that foot orthotics can be used for wellness by giving your ankle or foot the proper support and alignment it needs.1 For instance, if the soles of your feet tend to be flat, a wedge insert can help lower your risk of flatfoot-related issues like tendinitis. A heel flare may even help prevent one of the most common sports-related issues—ankle sprain.
Foot orthotics can also help prevent future issues if your limbs are differing lengths. By using these custom made devices to create a more symmetrical gait, you can potentially avoid issues not only with your feet, but also with your knees, hips, back, and other areas that face misalignment due to stepping or walking in a way that doesn’t support proper posture.
Foot orthotics for chronic or acute conditions
In the event that you have a chronic (long-lasting) or acute (suddenly appearing, but generally of shorter duration) condition related to your feet, you have orthotic options, as well. A good example of this is using foot orthosis to help treat plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is the connective tissue that runs from your toes to your heel. Medscape indicates that “plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain for which professional care is sought,” affecting roughly ten percent of the U.S. population and resulting in one-million visits annually to medical care providers.2
This particular condition, which is associated with a tremendous amount of heel pain, can often be remedied by a foot orthotic device. Specifically, the pain can be eased and the area can begin to heal with the assistance of a heel insert that is worn in the sufferer’s everyday footwear.
Other conditions that respond well to foot orthotics include runner’s knee, neuropathic ulceration (sometimes found in diabetics), and hallux rigidus, which is a disorder of the base joint of the big toe.
Essentially, foot orthotics are great when used for wellness or for treatment of a variety of conditions. To find out whether they can help you, you may find it beneficial to consult with a foot-related professional in your area.
1 American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. “Orthotics.” OrthoInfo.aaos.org. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00172. Updated September 2012. Accessed April 2015.
2 Young C, et al. “Plantar fasciitis.” MedScape. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/86143-overview. Updated November 2014. Accessed April 2015.