A human foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints and numerous muscles and ligaments. Foot is the point of contact between the body and joint. The structure of foot, alignment of joints, muscles and ligaments play an important part to determine one's walking and running pattern. With every step one takes, a force is exerted on the ground and the ground exerts an opposing force called ground reaction force. This ground reaction force not only goes through the foot but also through knee, hip, pelvis and lower back joints. Therefore, every step taken has an impact on all lower body and lower back joints.
Structure and support of foot is influenced by lifestyle habits, occupation, athletic activity, and the type of footwear worn. An imbalance in foot structures can lead to problems in the foot, ankle, lower extremity and back.
Role of Custom Orthotics
A condition or injury involving foot like plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinosis, toe arthritis, flat arches results in altered walking pattern and a biomechanical imbalance. In addition to foot pain, this will lead to joint and muscle pain and limitations in knee, hip and lower back or it may aggravate a pre-existing pain in these areas.
Custom foot orthotics provide a critical contact point between our feet and ground. They work by aligning foot joints, providing support, improving joint and muscle position, relief pressure and accommodate deformity in an efficient manner thereby reducing strain on joints. This improves gait pattern and lower body biomechanics and helps to reduce pain and improve mobility.
How are Orthotics made and what do they treat?
Custom orthotics are made based on foot structure, body weight, footwear type, activity level among other factors. A certified pedorthist or trained physiotherapist takes a client's foot casting after completing a biomechancial examination and gait analysis.
Custom orthotics are used to reduce pain and limitation from conditions like plantar fasciitis, toe arthritis, pes planus (flat foot), toe valgus, achilles tendinosis, patellofemoral pain syndrome, shin splints, IT band syndrome, hip and knee osteoarthritis and secondary lower back pain. Orthotics may be used in conjunction with other physiotherapy treatment techniques like manual therapy, ultrasound, taping and exercises.