How Orthotics Work
By David A Kingston
All persons are not born with a perfect walk. It is something that is learned and is acquired as we grow older. However, some individuals don’t acquire this walk even with age and experience. Also some may have acquired their walk but lose it as they get older. This is due to pain and loss of balance brought about by foot injuries, abnormal deficiencies and stress on the job. Aside from this it can also contribute to a wide variety of physical and mental ailments like depression and back pains. Fortunately, a field known as foot orthotics or orthotics exists. For those who have not heard of it, this article can help in defining what are foot orthotics and how it can help.
Knowledge on what are foot orthotics starts with its description as an allied medical field that makes use of various sciences like materials engineering anatomy and physiology to help a person achieve that perfect walk. It does this by treating, minimizing and correcting the various foot problems stated above by providing support and better positioning for the foot as well as accommodating any existing foot deformity.
This specialized field is generally grouped into two categories:
· Functional orthotics are used as a support for persons with abnormal foot biomechanics. They help stabilize the foot by reducing the impact every time the foot hits the ground during walking and running. This helps in improving the balance especially when the person is engaged in activities that require a lot of movement like games and sports.
· Accommodative orthotics, on the other hand, is typically used to correct minor foot problems especially in young children. These include the use of splints, gaits and braces for minor adjustments like excessive toe – in or toe – out walking and improper hip angles especially when sleeping. Aside from that, it is also use to relieve mild foot pain and fatigue brought about by injuries and stress.
Anyone can make use of foot orthotics, even those who have no major foot problems. This is because orthotics can also be used to improve foot performance which is quite useful for those who tend to stand and move a lot like dancers and athletes. In fact, the use of foot orthotics is quite common that it is often compared to eyeglasses wherein both are devices that anyone can use and both have basically the same function that is to adjust problems that hinders proper physical function.
Foot orthotics can appear as simple premade shoes and sandals that are easily acquired in pharmacies and many retail stores. However, custom made casts are highly recommended especially for major foot problems and injuries because this caters to each person’s specific needs. It is usually done by creating an impression or cast of the foot. This usually duplicates the abnormalities and deficiencies in the foot. A proper device is then designed and prepared at a laboratory to correct the discovered problems based on this cast.
Even though many people are not born with it, it’s good to know that the knowledge on what are orthotics can really help in order to achieve the perfect walk which can also contribute to overall body health, confidence and success in life.