What is an Orthotic?

An ORTHOTIC is a foot-supporting device also known as a custom insole. Foot Orthotics support, correct and accommodate the 26 bones, 2 sesamoid bones, tendons, ligaments, and plantar fascia band in each foot. 

Foot Orthotics allow the muscles, tendons and bones of the feet  through open and closed chain joint migration, up through the legs, hip and lower back, to function at their optimal potential for our body weight, structure, walking pattern and life styles. 

When appropriately prescribed and more importantly, appropriately manufactured, Foot Orthotics can decrease pain and discomfort in the foot, ankles, knees, hips and back. Foot Orthotics increase our stability, prevent further progression of bony deformities, soft tissue pain, burning and numbness and help to improve our overall quality of life in our activities of daily living (ADLs).

Remember, foot pain is not normal and should not be ignored. The pain in our feet often is associated with other pains in our lower limbs all due to the poor inherent biomechanics of our foot.

With a foot orthotic supporting the three main arches of the foot the muscles and tendons are able to work within their intended range of motions (ROMs) and we do not run the risk of causing injury or furthering one.
 

Benefits of Orthotics

Custom Foot Orthotics help in providing relief for painful foot problems or an injury, especially for those who must walk, or stand excessively on the job or in every day activities.

The mechanical properties  of the Custom Foot Orthotic help to maintain the normal positioning of the bones in the foot, the joints in the ankle and knees leading up to the hips and lower back. The muscles and ligaments holding these bones in their intended anatomical positions are prevented from over stretching and becoming lax over time.

With enough functional correction from a Custom Foot Orthotic, the foot structure can be aligned to give more propulsion, making walking, running and even cycling more efficient biomechanically.

Along with aligning the foot structure, the Custom Foot Orthotic reduces muscular fatigue and helps to promote more efficient muscle performance thus enhancing performance during the gait cycle.

Below is an example of a foot without the corrective support of an orthotic and then another example of the same foot with a Custom Made Foot Orthotic from POL correcting and supporting the foot. Notice the difference a well made Custom Foot Orthotic makes!

 

The Structure and Function of an Orthotic

Foot Orthotics are constructed from various materials consisting of plastics, foam, rubbers, and cork composites that are utilized for their mechanical properties.

The main similarity of all Foot Orthotics is the principle of their structure. The core is comprised of a plastic material more commonly referred to as the shell. External support structures on the underside of the shell material are utilized for balance and support inside the footwear; these are commonly referred to as extrinsic posts. Soft padding is placed on the underside and the topside to absorb compression forces when walking and running, this includes the top covers, underlay materials and arch fills.
All of these materials have the goal of improving foot function and minimizing the stress forces that cause foot deformity and pain.

Dependent on the reason for the prescription of Foot Orthotics, all of the above mentioned materials can be utilized in many combinations to achieve three broad categories of Foot Orthotics:

  1. Those that primarily attempt to change foot function, known as functional Foot Orthotics
  2. Those that are mainly protective or accommodative in nature, and
  3. Those that combine functional control with accommodation for comfort.
 
 

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Quick starts and stops and lots of movements from side to side are the characteristics that make tennis challenging -- and stressful on your feet. Amateur and professional tennis players alike are prone to injuries of the foot and ankle, primarily from repeated lateral motions and quick stopping and starting. Clay and crushed stone courts help players slide better, and are considered the safest surfaces on which to play. Asphalt, concrete, rubberized, or carpeted courts don't allow sliding, and are not as healthy for your feet.

Common tennis injuries include ankle sprains, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, and tennis toe. If you experience recurring or persistent pain, please contact our office for an evaluation.

The best way to prevent foot injuries from tennis is to make sure you condition yourself. This includes building all-around body strength and flexibility; stretching the muscles (particularly in your calves) before, during and after play; drinking lots of water; and wearing the right shoes.

Tennis Shoes

Tennis shoes need lots of cushioning and shock absorption to deal with all the forces placed on your feet during play and to keep your foot and ankle stable. Be sure to choose shoes specifically for racquet sports; running shoes, for example, don't have the support needed for the side-to-side movements common to tennis. Look for a tennis shoes that have a reinforced toe, wiggle room in the toe box, padding at the ball of the foot, sturdy sides, a low, well-cushioned heel that is not flared, and a firm heel counter for support.

When shopping for tennis shoes, follow these tips:

  • Try on shoes with the socks you normally wear to make sure the fit is right.
  • Go shopping at the end of the day when your feet are larger and fit your shoes to the larger of your two feet.
  • Let your feet be your guide to fit. Choose only shoes that are comfortable in the store -- don't expect a wear-in period. The shoes should feel supportive, cushioned. and flexible, with some resistance in the heel for greater stability.
  • Walk around the store in each pair you try on. Be sure to walk on a hard-surface, not just a carpeted floor. Emulate tennis play by jumping up and down in the shoes and making some fast turns to see how the shoes will really perform.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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