Orthotics are devices used to correct and treat various foot disorders. They are used to correct imbalances and foot discomfort. A Biomechanical complaint (walking imbalance) could be lower back pain, flat feet, pain in your heel, arch, Achilles, shin or knee.
The shoe inserts used for these treatments can be bought over the counter at almost any pharmacy or department store but since these products are used to realign your ankle and foot back into natural alignment, the best type of Orthotics would be ones prepared for you personally by professionals.
There are four types of Orthotics when taking into consideration the structure of building these devices for the needs of adults and children:
- Orthotics for Children.
Rigid Orthotics would be used primarily for function of walking or standing a long time and may be constructed from plastic or some other form of hard material. The device normally is made in a type of mold that is in the shape of the patients’ foot and would encompass their foot when done from the heel to the ball.
Soft Orthotics are used to restore balance, absorb shock and help relieve pain from sore areas. A soft Orthotics as its name states is usually constructed out of a soft, pliable material. Often an Orthotic device of this nature will need to be replaced much more often than one made of rigid material, but a bonus is that it can be easily adjusted when needed. This type of orthotic is often used for those who have diabetes or those who have some form of foot malformation. Unlike the rigid orthotics, soft orthotics are made more ‘bulky’ in their formation and hence will take up more space in one’s shoes when used.
The Semi-rigid orthotic devices are used for those who are involved in sports primarily. Each athlete and for each sport that athlete is involved in, an individual orthotics made of soft material with hard plastic placed in appropriate places to fit that individuals needs for that sport. For the athlete these types of orthotics allows the tendons and tendons to work more efficiently and allows the athlete to participate in a sport they enjoy without the pain or hopefully very little, they would normally experience.
Children’s who have foot malformations are usually put into a form of orthotics as early as possible to help clear up any problems with learning how to walk or get around / function, from the time they start walking preferably. Children usually need to have their feet ‘remolded’ and a new set of orthotics made for them once their shoe size has grown 2 sizes past their original orthotics size. The time needed for a child to wear an orthotic device is determined by each case and how severe the malformation is. Once an adult they will usually need to use orthotics for the duration of their lifetime to help retain their balance and keep them from having foot, ankle and back pains during their lifetime (that would be caused by their problem).