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FAQ – Orthotics

What are “orthotics”?
Orthotics (orthoses) are specially-prepared foot supports. These anatomically molded devices, worn under the heel and arch of your foot to correct skeletal anomalies, do more than “support” your feet. They actually realign them to a natural, “neutral” position to relieve foot, let and back stress, increase endurance, restore critical balance, improve sports performance, alleviate foot fatigue and prevent a wide range of foot problems.

How do I know if I need orthotics?
You definitely need orthotics:

If you participate in any activity that places stress on your feet.
If you have an obvious imbalance that causes such symptoms as flat or high arched feet.
If you have external malalignments such as bow knees, knock knees, pigeon-toes, or “duck feet.”
If you’ve already developed chronic foot problems, ranging from corns and calluses to arch pain and heel spur pain.
If your job requires being on your feet for extended periods of time.

How can orthotics improve sports performance?
Athletics make demands on the feet not encountered in normal daily activity. Slight imbalances in the foot not dangerous or detectable under everyday circumstances may render you vulnerable to injury with the extra stress of sports activity. By eliminating the need for your muscles to compensate for these “hidden” imbalances, orthotics reduce fatigue and promote the kind of efficient “muscle memory” that’s crucial to outstanding performance. By aiding your control of foot movement, custom-fitted orthotics also maximize the biomechanical function not only of your feet but of your legs and torso, as well. The difference is often noticed almost immediately, giving you the kind of increased agility, balance, and sure-footed response you never knew were in you.

Do orthotics help people with high arches?
Yes. If you have a “cavus” foot (on with high arches), a functional orthotic will provide a greater contact area for you foot and spread the weight-bearing surface more evenly. This can contribute to the healing of calluses in the foot (hyperdupination), improving control and lateral stability.

What causes foot problems?
The primary cause of foot problems and related conditions is skeletal imbalance. Most people have some degree of hyperpronation (flat feet) or hypersupination (high arches). These structural imperfections cause a certain amount of instability during foot function, subjecting the foot to excessive stress and stain that can eventually cause pain and deformities. The greater the imbalance, the earlier these symptoms will become evident a greater their intensity. Orthotics compensate for the inherent imbalances in the foot, improving function and relieving or preventing the appearance of such symptoms.

Does excess weight cause or aggravate foot problems?
Definitely. Additional stress to feet magnifies existing imbalances and increases symptoms. Anyone with a weight problem can benefit from orthotics.

Can foot imbalances cause leg, knee, hip, and back pain – and can orthotics help?
Yes. Poor skeletal structure in the feet puts stress on the entire skeletal system and reduces shock absorption. That’s why you will hear people say, “When my feet hurt, I hurt all over.” Orthotics, by improving foot function, can relieve stress in the ankles, legs, knees, hips, and back.

Do orthotics have any effect on my posture?
Yes. Imbalances in your feet can distort the skeletal architecture of your entire body. While orthotic foot supports will not make a marked improvement in everyone’s posture, they may eliminate posture problems caused by your feet.