First of all, it is important to understand that all orthotics are is something that wedges or is shaped to create the right shape for your foot. Depending on the severity of your problem, having the right fit could be the difference between being able to walk or run more comfortably and reversing a chronic problem that could ultimately lead to you not being able to walk or run at all.
With the consultation of a professional, orthotics can often prove to be a fairly simple solution to a troublesome problem. That being said, wasting time and money buying orthotics that fall flat is worse than having no orthotics at all. Here is so advice on what to look for and how to buy.
1. Don’t pick up the first pair you see
The scope and quality of orthotics varies greatly, and it seems like there are more prepacked options available every day. Be wary of these. The orthotics industry has largely capitalized on the fact that a lot of people experience foot pain and is looking to provide a quick fix that could potentially even contribute to making the problem worse down the road.
Just because something feels comfortable when you step onto it for the first time does not means that it will be good for your foot in the long, or even the short-, term.
2. Talk to a professional
The reason why you can’t always rely on the initial look or even feel of a pair of orthotics is due to the fact that the biomechanics of the foot, ankle, knee, and hip are extremely complex. Professionals have dedicated years and years to understanding the science of gait analysis and they need to spend significant one on one time with a patient if they are going to be able to diagnosis them properly.
If someone is trying to sell you orthotists without a thorough and in-depth examination, it is probably because they are trying to money rather than actually help you solve your problem.
3. Have a clear objective in mind
Orthotics are not necessarily the solution for every kind of problem associated with your feet and therefore it is important to have a reason and goal for wearing them. Throughout the process and diagnosis, something should be clearly identified and the root of the problem and the decision to get orthotics should spring from an intention to deal with that exact issue.
If there is no clear objective in mind or measure by which the success of the treatment can be measured, then wearing orthotics can be pointless at best and potentially harmful at worst.
4. Expect to see a long-term (if not lifetime) guarantee
Custom made orthotics are not cheap, and this is, understandably, a major deterrent for many people who could stand (no pun intended) to benefit from them. Although we can likely all agree that it is important to keep our feet feeling good and be able to move confidently with comfort and freedom, there can be a fear associated with orthotics that they won’t work and will end up being a big waste of money.
This is why you should always look for orthotics with a lifetime guarantee. You will know that you can trust the purchase you have made and that there will be someone there to support you if you’re disappointed in the product.
5. Don’t forget to follow up
If you have purchased orthotics and they are working well for you, that’s great but it is important to follow up regularly to ensure they continue to fit and work properly. Your body may change naturally over time and additional concerns could arise that would impact what you need out of your orthotic.