Foot pain is quite common. When a person experiences foot-related issues, there are products that can help. An individual can choose between custom orthotics and insoles. It is important to understand the differences so that a person can select the most effective item for relief.
What are Insoles?
Insoles, also called inserts, are commonly found on store shelves. Usually, they are crafted from a soft material that cradles the foot. Foam, plastic, and gel are most commonly used. Many times, a person chooses insoles to solve problems like fallen arches. The main focus is to provide cushioning and shock absorption.
Insoles provide a cushion to the foot and added support. This helps decrease pain into the short-term. In this manner, insoles are better for individuals who do not suffer with constant foot discomfort. They are effective to use as preventative care on feet, especially when a person is participating in activities that require standing for long periods of time. Unfortunately, these products are not made to address underlying problems. This means that pain and other symptoms will continue and may become worse. It is important to have problems diagnosed by a medical professional.
Different Kinds of Insoles
There are three varieties of insoles.
- Foam. Generally, foam inserts offer a low level of comfort to feet. However, they only deliver minimal support to arches. Foam tends to degrade fast as well. Many times, a person will only be able to use them for a few weeks before another pair is needed.
- Gel. Gel insoles offer more support than foam counterparts. However, they are still not firm enough to help with long-term problems.
- Rigid Inserts. Rigid insoles are commonly crafted from molded plastic. They offer support to a foot’s heel or arch, but they can get uncomfortable.
What are Orthotics?
Orthotics are in the same category as inserts. However, they are custom fit. Insoles are manufactured to help the masses, but orthotics are specially crafted for one person’s feet. Since they fit perfectly, effectiveness is increased. They raise the likelihood of lowering pain and successfully correcting foot issues.
Even though both insoles and custom orthotics cushion feet, orthotics can correct the way that a person stands and walks. When a person’s feet are even slightly misaligned or are having issues, it has a negative impact on his or her entire body. For instance, a person’s knees, shins, and back are all linked to his or her feet. Orthotics can correct problems by evenly spreading pressure around the feet. Also, they help to ensure that feet hit the ground properly with every step.
If an individual has been having pain for a regular period of time, orthotics are the best option for relief. They bring results that are quick and noticeable. Custom orthotics eliminate pain by supporting and realigning bones and ligaments in feet.
Different Types of Custom Orthotics
In certain places, kiosks are available to take scans of people’s feet. Based on the scan, a particular style or size of orthotic is recommended. Oyher custom orthotics are available by prescription. A doctor performs a medical assessment of person’s body, level of discomfort, and health history. This professional determines the most appropriate material to be used. Then, impressions of the feet are taken.
Most Common Conditions Helped with Custom Orthotics
There are many different conditions that improve with the use of custom orthotics.
- Metatarsalalgia. This occurs when there is an inflammation between the metatarsal bones in the foot. This results from wearing ill-fitting shoes, improper walking, or increased activity. Orthotics help to decompress joints and to restore regular movement in feet.
- Plantar Fasciitis. The planter fascia is tissue that offers support to a foot’s arch. Also, it acts like a shock absorber. When a person has a flat arch without support, this part of the foot can tear and cause pain. A custom orthotic restores an arch’s height, which prevents new damage.
- Low Back Pain. Foot problems can cause negative effects in other parts of the body. For instance, if a person’s legs are different lengths, the pelvis tilts. This places pressure on the lower back muscles. By using orthotic lifts, alignment is restored so that pain is eliminated.
Insoles or Orthotics?
When a person experiences trouble with his or her feet, it is wise to invest in insoles or custom orthotics. However, the person must decide what option is better for individual problems. People who want comfort during times when they will be on their feet will enjoy the cushioning that is provided by insoles. However, custom orthotics are better for conditions like flat feet, heel spurs, back pain, and similar ailments.
Besides relieving pain, they prevent issues by offering support, especially to the ankles. Orthotics can be a key part of comprehensive treatment to individuals who deal with foot and ankle issues.
Everyone is advised to wear shoes that fit properly, especially during athletic activities. If pain persists, it is wise to visit a healthcare professional for an evaluation. Prescription orthotics work for individuals with extreme foot deformities or diabetes.
Although these items are expensive, certain Medicare programs cover a portion of the cost. If the price is still too high, a person should consider an insole that is made of a rigid material, which offers support and stability. This helps with plantar facetious, overpronation, and structural misalignment. When a person’s feet are kept healthy and comfortable, the rest of the body will follow.