Do you suffer from flat feet? Bunions? Shin splints? Plantar fasciitis? Toe, foot, ankle, leg, knee, hip, and/or low back pain? Bad posture? Arthritis? Chances are that you already have, but if not, that’s great, because what you’re about to read applies equally to everyone who lives in our modern day world of walking and standing on hard, flat surfaces such as concrete & wood.
You see, for most of our history on earth, we have walked on surfaces that at least partially support our arches: earth, grass, and sand. However, for the last few hundred years, and especially in the last few decades with the move away from carpeted homes, we have essentially limited ourselves solely to walking and standing on hard ground, which encourages our arches to flatten and our feet to pronate (roll inwards, following the flattened arches).
Orthotics, or arch supports, are designed specifically to counter act this very phenomenon, which is exactly why I would recommend them to everyone, young and old, regardless of if they have symptoms or not. People tend to wait until they start having problems before exploring the possibility of using orthotics, but like I tell my patients all the time, that’s like waiting until your vehicles engine has seized before giving it an oil change!
As for the kinds of orthotics, there are two basic types. The first type are prefabricated, generic shaped, orthotics which usually range from $20-50. A popular brand most people would know is Dr. Scholl’s. The nice thing about ‘prefabbed’ orthotics is that they are inexpensive and provide better support that what comes with your footwear, which is usually zilch.
The second type are custom made orthotics, which are formed specifically for your uniquely shaped feet and range from $100-$400. One way of making them involves scanning the feet on a pressure plate, which attempts to make a 3D image of the foot based on a 2D pressure scan. I prefer the other ‘old fashioned’ method of casting the feet in a corrected posture using a foam mold, giving a 3D mold of exactly what needs to be created in a proper orthotic.
I personally have seen and tried many different orthotics, and most of them are not worth the money people pay! To me, a good orthotic should be full foot length, so that they completely replace what came in your footwear, adding no extra height. They should also be somewhat flexible, just like your feet. At our clinic, we offer the highest quality prefabricated & custom made orthotics at great prices, so what are you waiting for?!