More than three-quarters of Americans suffer from foot pain, according to statistics from the American Podiatric Medical Association, including adults of all ages and from all walks of life. About 83 percent of the survey’s respondents said their chronic symptoms limited their activities, interfering with their ability to exercise, work, walk, and even engage in family activities. About 40 percent of respondents said they’d be more physically active if they could find relief for their painful symptoms.
Yet despite how common foot pain is — and the serious toll it can take on your life — many people don’t bother to seek medical care for their symptoms. That’s too bad, because many types of foot pain can be treated with relatively simple solutions and without surgery, injections, or long-term use of medications. In fact, some of the most common causes of foot pain can be treated with custom orthotics, a completely noninvasive, completely customizable option that can reduce pain not only in your feet but in your legs and lower back, as well.
What are custom orthotics?
Custom orthotics are shoe inserts made of comfortable but durable materials. At Great Lakes Foot and Ankle Institute PC, we perform a thorough exam and evaluation before fitting you for your orthotic to make sure the end product addresses all your symptoms. Then we take a series of very precise measurements of your foot and your gait (the way you walk). Those measurements are sent to a lab where your orthotic will be made using state-of-the-art technology and materials engineered for your comfort.
Unlike off-the-shelf shoe inserts or insoles you can buy at a drugstore, custom orthotics are made specifically for your foot shape and your symptoms, so they’re far more effective in providing relief. Drugstore orthotics are designed for the masses, and in some cases, they can wind up doing a lot more harm than good. Even in the best cases, they’re not designed to provide the same type of long-term relief as a custom orthotic. Plus, custom orthotics won’t lose their shape the way drugstore orthotics do.
5 common foot problems
Since custom orthotics are created on a patient-by-patient basis, they can be designed to treat lots of problems, including these five common causes of chronic foot pain.
The plantar fascia is a strong band of tissue that extends along the bottom of your foot, beginning at your heel. Sometimes, this band becomes inflamed or irritated, resulting in chronic pain along the bottom of the foot or focused around the heel. Plantar fasciitis becomes a lot more common with age, and it’s also common among athletes whose feet take a lot of pounding.
Bunions form when the big toe is pushed in toward the rest of the toes, placing pressure on the lower toe joint. Over time, the joint can become “displaced” and deformed, resulting in a painful lump on the outside of the foot. In extreme cases, the big toe may be forced over the neighboring toes. People who wear tight or high-heel shoes are especially prone to bunions, and so are people with specific types of foot shapes.
Heel spurs are bony growths that form along the edge of the heel bone. When these hard growths press on soft tissues or tendons, they can cause considerable pain and inflammation.
Neuromas are benign nerve growths or tumors that occur when a nerve becomes irritated and inflamed. In addition to pain, neuromas can also cause numbness and tingling. Morton’s neuroma is a common type of neuroma that forms in or near the ball of your foot.
There are lots of tendons in your feet, and any of them can become inflamed. One of the most common types of tendinitis involves the posterior tendon, which runs from the inside of the ankle to the middle of your foot. This tendon helps support your arch. A lot of impact activities or even long periods of standing can irritate this tendon and stress your arch.
Stop letting foot pain interfere with your enjoyment of life. To find out how custom orthotics can help put an end to your symptoms, book an appointment online today.