Types of Orthotics
Foot orthotics fall into three broad categories:
- Return foot function to normal
- Protective in nature
- Combine functional control and protection
Strains, aches, and pains in the legs, thighs, and lower back may be due to abnormal functioning of the foot, or a slight difference in the length of the legs. In such cases, orthotics may improve or eliminate these symptoms, which often is not associated with foot function. The so-called rigid orthotic device, designed to control function, may be made of a firm material such as plastic and is used primarily in walking or dress shoes. It is worn mostly in closed shoes with a heel height under two inches.
The soft orthotic device helps to absorb shock, increase balance, and take pressure off uncomfortable or sore spots on the foot. Soft orthotic devices are effective for arthritic and foot deformities where there is a loss of protective fatty tissue on the side of the foot. It is also widely used in the care of the diabetic foot.
Semirigid orthotics provide support and balance for the foot while walking or participating in sports. Each sport has its own demand and each sport orthotic needs to be constructed appropriately with the activity taken into consideration. This functional dynamic orthotic helps guide the foot through proper functioning of the foot during activities and allows the muscles and tendons to perform more efficiently.
Other Types of Orthotics
Research has shown that back problems frequently can be traced to a foot imbalance. It’s important for our doctors to evaluate the lower extremity as a whole to provide appropriate orthotic control for any foot problems.