Beyond Foot Pain: How Custom Orthotics Can Also Improve Ankle, Back, Knee, and Foot Pain

Your feet are the platform on which your entire body rests when you stand, walk, run, or dance. So if your feet are unstable or misaligned, your entire body can go out of whack, too. If you have chronic knee or back pain or are prone to injuries that haven’t responded to other therapies, it may be time to see a  podiatrist.

The expert podiatrists and podiatric surgeons at Lake Ridge and Stafford Foot & Ankle Centers know how important foot stability and health is to the stability and health of your entire body. During a consultation, they examine your feet and legs and also watch how you move to determine if you have alignment problems in your feet. 

Misaligned feet, fallen arches, and other foot problems can lead to such issues as:

Your feet are the first part of what podiatrists refer to as the “kinetic chain,” which is the way the joints in your legs and feet link together and affect one another. When your feet aren’t functioning optimally, you may compensate by putting more weight on one leg than the other, or clenching muscles that cause your other joints to get out of alignment, too.

A healthy kinetic chain starts with a healthy base

Many different conditions can throw your kinetic base off kilter and cause chronic joint pain. During your evaluation, your podiatrist looks for foot conditions that affect the way you move and hold yourself, including:

If your foot bones are misaligned, your podiatrist may recommend custom-designed orthotics to straighten out your feet, support your arches, and optimize function.

Your footprint is your fingerprint

You may not think about how unique your feet are, but the shape of your foot, where your arch falls or lifts, isn’t like anyone else’s foot. That’s why generic store-bought shoe inserts might be able to cushion some stress when you walk on hard surfaces, but can’t really fix any alignment problems you have.

When our podiatrists recommend custom-designed orthotics, they make physical and 3D impressions of your feet that they then send to a special orthotics lab. But they also include recommendations that remedy problems such as over-pronation or fallen arches so that your foot isn’t just molded to what it is now, but to what it should be to function optimally. 

Our podiatrists choose either accommodative orthotics, which cushion your foot, or functional orthotics, which are more rigid and supportive, based on your needs.

Because your custom orthotics are a form of medicine for your feet, you need time to adjust to them. Your podiatrist may recommend just wearing them for an hour or two per day for the first day and gradually working up to full-time use.

Orthotics aren’t a one-time thing

Also unlike shoe-bought inserts, orthotics aren’t a device that you just put in your shoes and forget about until they wear out. Your podiatrist follows up and makes adjustments to be sure your custom orthotics correct your foot alignment and straighten your kinetic chain to resolve your chronic pain.

As your gait improves, if you gain or lose weight or have other new needs, your podiatrist may prescribe a new orthotic. If you have severe alignment problems or have complications — such as diabetic foot or peripheral neuropathy — they may recommend prescription shoes as well as orthotics.

Your podiatrist might also recommend other therapies to help build a solid foundation for your kinetic chain. Physical therapy, for instance, can help you build strength and flexibility while improving your balance. If you have damaged tendons or other tissues, they may recommend regenerative medicine or corticosteroid injections.

Get back on your feet and back to your life by correcting misaligned feet with custom orthotics from Lake Ridge and Stafford Foot & Ankle Centers today. Call the office nearest you or reach out with our online form.

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