In many cases of acute injuries, as well as with chronic pain symptoms, podiatrists will often prescribe orthotics as part of rehabilitation or pain management. Depending on the reason for prescribing orthotics, they can be useful for prevention of future problems (e.g. when used for children), immobilizing injuries to prevent worsening symptoms (e.g. after foot or ankle surgery), and for treating painful symptoms of foot or ankle deformities.
There are generally two types of orthotics that our foot doctor will prescribe: accommodative foot orthoses and functional foot orthoses.
Accommodative orthotics are:
- Generally made of more flexible or soft materials such as leather, foam cushions, and rubber.
- Used to provide extra support or relieve pressure from a painful area.
- Typically used for treatment of minor pain caused by diabetic foot ulcers, corns and calluses, and bunions.
Functional orthotics are:
- Generally made of flexible, semi-rigid, or rigid plastic or graphite materials.
- Used to control pain or prevent worsening problems due to abnormal function.
- Typically used for treatment of conditions like big toe joint pain, tendonitis, bursitis, and plantar fasciitis.
- Additionally, children may require orthotic inserts or custom orthotic shoes to control problems with pediatric flat feet, in- and out-toeing, or other injury to the growth plates.
Both are created by taking a mold of your feet and/or ankles using plaster or foam. Mechanical or optical scanners can also help to take measurements for an accurate fit. This process takes place during an office visit, taking into consideration your footprint, gait, and any inflammation or deformity in the feet or ankles. The end goal is to either relieve symptoms so that you can resume normal activities without pain, or to deter/correct a deformity that can keep getting worse.
For additional questions regarding how orthotics can help your foot or ankle pain, consult with our podiatrist, Dr. Jonathan M. Kletz, at Texas Foot Works. He will assess your feet and ankles to see if orthotics will work for you. Make an appointment today at any of our Abrams (Dallas), Athens, and Gun Barrell City, TX offices!