Foot orthotics is a general term used to describe any device, arch-support or insole that changes the function and biomechanics of the foot. Orthotics can improve knee, ankle, hip and back pain in a number of ways:
- They can change the distribution of force through the foot and ankle, which can result in a change in the distribution of force through the knee, hip, pelvis and spine.
- They can act as a cushion to reduce the force through the foot and ankle, which can result in a reduction of force through the knee, hip, pelvis, and back.
- They can change the alignment of the foot and ankle, which can result in a change of alignment at the knee, hip, pelvis, and spine. For example, they can control overpronation (rolling in) of the foot, which can result in patellofemoral pain, iliotibial band syndrome, piriformis syndrome, low back pain, sacroiliac joint dysfunction or make the pain from some types of osteoarthritis worse. As the foot overpronates the lower leg and knee internally rotate. Orthotics can help control overpronation of the foot, which in turn, improves the alignment of the knee and thereby reducing lower extremity and back pain.
Orthotics are made of many different materials. Soft orthotics are beneficial if cushioning is required. Semi-rigid orthotics provide more stability while still providing good shock absorption, while rigid orthotics provide maximal support and stability.
Orthotics can be custom made or pre-made and are designed to fit easily into most casual or sports shoes. After an initial break-in period orthotics should feel comfortable. The foot and knees need time to adapt to new orthotics. If the orthotics are not comfortable in 2-3 weeks they may need to be adjusted. Properly designed, manufactured and fitted orthotics should not make feet or knees feel worse.
When used in conjunction with specific rehabilitation, orthotics can serve an important role in the treatment of some types of knee, ankle, hip, back and pelvic pain.
Our physical therapists work with the highest qualified orthotist to fit your needs.