Orthotics are custom-made shoe inserts designed to improve foot alignment and support.
We spoke with CU Medicine provider Teresa Alpert, CO, who works with CU Medicine orthopedic providers and patients, about how orthotics can help improve athletic performance and prevent injury among patients.
“Everything we do at the foot affects every joint above it. An orthotic brings balance to the foot, supporting the whole body,” explains Alpert.
Who needs custom orthotics?
People with foot, ankle, knee, hip and back problems often benefit from custom orthotics.
Individuals with flat feet, high arches, plantar fasciitis, injuries, poor alignment and joint issues are ideal candidates for custom orthotics.
Additionally, those with diabetes or poor circulation in their feet can benefit from orthotics.
Benefits of wearing custom orthotics
Alpert explains the main benefit of orthotics is “to create a proper alignment between the foot and heel.” The benefits of this proper alignment are:
Relieves Foot Pain
Custom orthotics cushion and support the feet to relieve pain from plantar fasciitis, bunions, injuries and other issues. They also correct overpronation to reduce associated pain.
Reduce Injury Risk
Orthotics improve alignment of the feet, ankles, knees, hips and back to prevent injuries in these areas. They also absorb shock from impact to reduce stress on joints and tissues.
People with diabetes and reduced circulation to their feet can prevent injuries by wearing custom orthotics.
Correct Gait and Posture
By aligning the feet properly, orthotics optimize the walking or running gait. Correcting posture from the ground up also takes pressure off the knees and back.
Orthotics are made from cushioned, supportive materials selected for comfort. They also help athletic shoes fit more comfortably.
In some cases, custom orthotics can be an alternative to surgery to correct foot problems like plantar fasciitis.
The Orthotics Appointment Process
During the initial appointment, the podiatrist thoroughly examines the feet, range of motion and gait to determine orthotic needs. Impressions are made of the feet to create custom orthotics specific to the patient. Follow-up appointments focus on checking
the fit and making any necessary adjustments for optimal comfort and support.
To learn more about how custom orthotics could help your foot, ankle, knee, hip or back issues, schedule an appointment with a CU Medicine orthopedic provider. Their expertise can determine if orthotics are right for you.