On average a regular person will take around 7,500 steps a day. So in a lifetime the average person takes about 216,262,500 steps. That’s a lot of walking and weight on your feet right? Now imagine if a person runs every day, the force your feet are absorbing from your bodies weight is multiplied by three to four times. All of that strain and pressure on your feet is damaging of course and often times you most likely wont feel pain at all, but that does not mean the issue is not present. Orthotics are custom made medical devices that are inserted into shoes to help correct foot imbalances. Orthotics are most commonly known for improving abnormal foot functions but can also help with proper movements of the hip, normal upward and downward flexing of the toes, normal knee movements, etc. But these problems are usually results of foot abnormalities worsening. So the way orthosis work is actually really simple. These devices realign your foot and ankle bones to their original or natural positions and restore foot function. There are three kind of orthotics meant for specific needs according to your lower body problems. Rigid orthotics are made from hard materials that help position the foot in a specific way so the shock and weight is distributed evenly throughout the foot. Soft orthotics are made from soft and cushioned materials that protect the foot and adjust to weight shifting throughout the day. Semi-Rigid orthotics are made from both rigid and soft materials with the main purpose being to give both supporting factors of soft and rigid. For example, if you are an athlete who does a lot of running or jumping the best orthotics would be semi-rigid because it provides the protection and cushioning of the soft materials and the support and even distribution of the rigid materials. Orthotics can be found over the counter as an alternative for custom-made orthotics. But these are obviously not made to fit your specific need. They are more of a general shape that can be used by many people with much different type of problems. The best way to help specific problems is to get custom-made orthotics. These devices are made to fit you and are fixed to help whatever abnormalities you may have in the lower extremities. The way these medical devices are made is really simple and yet so helpful. The patient, you, would go see a podiatrist and then they would have you step into a memory foam like sponge or take a plaster cast impression, which would essentially leave your exact foot shape imprint. Then specialist would tweak your imprint and make inserts that have been designed to fit your needs specifically. So listen to your body and do what is best for you. And what is that? Get fitted for your custom-made orthotics.

Shadi Yadegaran, DPM Podiatrist in Burbank, California

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