By New England Foot & Ankle Specialists
December 03, 2015

Do you suffer from bunions, flat feet, plantar fasciitis, or Achilles tendonitis? These are just a few of many common foot conditions that can be helped with orthotics. Orthotics, or orthoses, are any device that goes inside your shoes with a goal of protecting a painful or injured part of your foot or to change the mechanics of how your foot is positioned when standing or walking. In some cases, orthotics fulfill both roles. There are many kinds of orthotics and some are available over-the-counter while others are custom made. There are three basic types of orthotics:

  1. Rigid Orthotics—as their name implies, these orthotics are made of a hard material, such as carbon fiber or plastic. Their primary purpose is to control the function and motion of two major joints below the ankle joint. They are made from a mold or another kind of image done by your podiatrist. Rigid orthotics are usually inserted into walking or dress shoes and can help eliminate strains and aches in the lower back, thighs, and legs.
  2. Soft Orthotics—these orthotics are also made from a plaster cast mold or other image and then are constructed of cushiony materials that can be worn on the sole of the foot. Soft orthotics protect sore spots and absorb shock. This makes them effective in treating arthritic or deformed feet.
  3. Semi-Rigid Orthotics—fashioned to provide increased balance and to treat flatfoot and in- or out-toeing, especially in children, these orthotics are made of alternating layers of soft and rigid materials. Semi-rigid orthotics are often used to help athletes to avoid pain when they are training or playing a sport.

Only a qualified podiatrist will know the correct orthotics to prescribe for your particular foot condition. Our podiatrists, Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond will do a thorough examination of your foot and take a complete medical history first. Then they will be able to tell you if orthotics might be helpful for you. To learn if orthotics can help relieve your pain and discomfort, make an appointment at our Reading office today.

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