One of the most common misconceptions about orthotics is that they are prescribed for one specific reason. In reality, specialty shoe inserts support your physical health in many, many different ways. While your podiatrist might recommend this solution in response to something like foot pain, a broken arch, or diabetes complications, custom shoe inserts or orthotics offer multiple benefits.
When your podiatrist tells you to wear custom insoles, there are plenty of reasons to listen. Here are the top 11 reasons to wear the custom orthotics or insoles prescribed to you by a medical professional.
1. Orthotics take pressure off your joints.
When you walk or run, multiple body parts are working together to get you from point A to point B. Orthotics help your feet to properly carry your weight, which has a positive influence on every other body part involved in your movement. In particular, it takes pressure off of important joints including your ankles, knees, and hips. That means less pain and healthier movement all around!
2. Orthotics reduce back pain.
When your feet are not properly carrying weight while you walk, the pressure shifts to other body parts.
The chain reaction usually goes like this: Feet aren’t doing their job, so knees have to make up for it. The knees then turn inward (this is often referred to as “knock-knees”), shifting the angle where the thigh bone meets the pelvis and damaging a person’s posture. That unsteady posture is bad news, especially for the lower back.
Custom orthotics get to the source of these back issues, improving gait and posture by supporting the feet.
3. Orthotics help you move faster.
You might not be a professional athlete, but moving at a decent speed can make a big difference on a day to day basis. Orthotics absorb shock when walking or running. This better, easier foot movement makes a big difference in speed as well as stamina when moving.
4. Orthotics prevent injury.
Foot injuries are a big concern for people with diabetes. Nerve damage can make it difficult to identify or respond to foot pain, which can lead to exacerbated injuries and even loss of limbs. Orthotics add support for feet, reducing the risk of rolling an ankle or sustaining another foot injury. Orthotics can also help those who already have injuries to walk in a way that doesn’t add to the issue.
5. They prevent calluses and corns.
When calluses and corns grow bigger, they can cause serious discomfort and walking problems. Abnormal weight distribution on the feet is often the cause of these issues, making orthotics a great choice for someone looking to reduce or prevent this issue.
6. They prevent the wearing down of skin from diabetic blisters.
For diabetics, there is no such thing as a minor foot wound. Every foot issue must be taken seriously – even the smallest blister can turn into an ulcer, which may require amputation in serious cases.
Orthotics are one way diabetics can prevent or properly care for blisters. Custom fitted inserts can reduce the friction between the foot and the shoe, preventing blisters from developing or worsening.
It’s important that those who are using orthotics for friction management use custom fitted inserts that aligns with their feet. These are often covered by Medicare or insurance for prescription-holding diabetics.
7. Orthotics can realign your feet and ankles, preventing future foot problems.
Orthotics aren’t just for people currently struggling with their feet – they can also be a great preventative measure. Many people push through issues like fallen arches and misaligned ankles, causing them to worsen over time. As soon as your podiatrist notices over-pronation and suggests orthotics, you should start using them (yes, even if you don’t have that much pain yet). This will improve your foot function for years to come.
8. Orthotics allow you to walk for longer periods.
Not only do orthotics help you walk faster, but they can give you more endurance to boot! By improving alignment and posture, the right inserts can make walking and running feel like a lot less work, so you can stay standing or moving for longer periods without fatiguing your body.
9. Orthotics reduce or eliminate foot pain.
It’s no surprise that orthotics can make walking more comfortable. After all, they are well-cushioned, shock absorbing, often custom-fitted inserts – what’s not to like?
Still, many people only use their inserts from time to time and forgo consistent use. When you do this, you’re not allowing the orthotics to properly repair your over-pronation and may still feel pain in your feet. Consistent use will allow the orthotics to really make an impact in how you walk, reducing foot pain and preventing injuries.
10. Orthotics can preserve your hips and knees.
As you age, your hips and knees can weaken. It is not uncommon for people to need surgery on these body parts. Whether you are caring for your joints after a surgery or are trying to prevent deterioration to begin with, orthotics are a great option.
11. Orthotics can stabilize any destruction or deformities in the foot.
Orthotics are great for preventing foot issues, but they can also be an important part of healing existing problems. People who have a foot challenge or deformity may struggle to walk in a way that protects their posture, joints, and other parts of their feet. A podiatrist is an important person to work with to address these issues, and following their advice for care is critical to avoid future challenges.
How do I get custom insoles or orthotics?
There are several different types of shoe inserts, from generic over-the-counter brands to custom fitted insoles with a friction management design. Patients should medical professional to get personalized advice on what types of orthotics are best for their needs. Medicare covers three pairs of custom insoles each year for Americans with diabetes and a prescription, so it’s particularly important (and often free!) for diabetics to look into this option.
If you’re a medical professional or diabetic patient looking for insoles and shoes with direct insurance billing, visit nocostshoes.com.