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Introduction to Orthotics – Foot Levelers

Orthotics

If you have chronic pain especially when walking, standing or sitting, chances are, a Doctor has recommended Orthotics in the past to lessen and prevent pain while doing these activities. Orthotics can improve your balance, especially when combined with manual therapy.

Do you (or a loved one) comment on aches and pains when taking off your shoes at the end of the day? It is important to note, all parts of our bodies are linked together and your feet are the foundation on which your entire body is balanced. If your feet aren’t supported properly, pain develops starting with either the knee, hip, back or neck.

In fact, most neck pain is the result of issues with the feet. I recommend them to all my patients because they are so effective. Continue reading this article to learn more about orthotics and how they can help you remain active while maintaining your results from Manual Physical Therapy and prevent nagging pain.

What are Custom Orthotics?

Orthotics are a prescription medical device specialized to fit your feet and improve specific medical issues. Those experiencing foot pain or discomfort may turn to shoe inserts found in the local drug store. Custom orthotics are different

Shoe inserts are designed to add generic cushion or support to shoes and are not custom fitted to correct the buyer’s specific medical concern. Foot Levelers offer a custom fitted shoe insert that addresses specific medical conditions and are designed to help you maintain your body’s newly found symmetry.

Orthotics address specific biomechanical issues due to the way you stand, walk or run. They can help you walk farther with less pain. They also help with medical conditions such as diabetic foot pain, arthritis, plantar fasciitis, SI Joint Dysfunction, high arches and flat feet. Orthotics have also been shown to reduce foot, leg and back pain. In addition, they play a part in preventing falls.

How do Custom Orthotics Prevent Falls?

Custom orthotics prevent falls by improving balance within your feet which are considered the foundation of your body. If your foundation is aligned and well balanced, the rest of your body is more stable.

According to the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, foot orthoses can affect improvement in balance measures for older adults Article here. Custom orthotics do this by promoting symmetry in your body, distributing weight within the foot and restoring balance.

Manual therapy is a way to treat the body holistically. Not many know that neck pain usually correlates with the feet. Correcting issues with the feet can bring relief to the neck and shoulders by creating balance within the whole body.

Restored balance helps the body remain stable when standing, walking and running, resulting in less pain. Balance is important for the weight of your upper body to transfer efficiently from one leg to the other when walking, with the help of the SI Joint (Learn more Here).

So, why is Symmetry Important?

Symmetry is your fountain of youth that allows your body to move efficiently without chronic pain. Once your therapist achieves symmetry, orthotics help maintain the alignment and reduce stress by evenly distributing weight as you walk. The ultimate goal is to reduce pain while walking, sitting and standing so as to not disturb the symmetry your therapist has worked on your body to achieve.

You must achieve symmetry between your right and left side of your body in order for it to function without pain. Manual Therapy is aimed at naturally reducing your pain. Your therapist will release muscles in your body, strategically, in a way that allows your muscles to move correctly. This allows them to work the way they are supposed to and naturally results in less pain. Maintaining symmetry is the key to Joann’s method of Manual Physical Therapy that reduces your body’s alarm system (nagging pain).

Once symmetry is achieved, orthotics, along with Pillowise Pillows (our favorite), are used to maintain your success from manual therapy treatment. You can remain active without fear of the pain coming back. This is especially important if your sleeping patterns are causing your dysfunction in the first place.

You made a life changing decision to work towards getting your body in alignment to eliminate pain. Once this symmetry is achieved, regular maintenance keeps you from getting back to the condition you were in before you decided to get treatment. This is where custom Orthotics come in.

We recommend maintenance products like custom orthotics and custom pillows along with monthly tune-ups to help you keep your pain free status. Think of the regular maintenance schedule for your car, you have to change the oil BEFORE the engine breaks down. Instead of waiting until you are unable to move.

How Do I Use Custom Orthotics?

To maintain your progress, you’ll want to use your orthotics in the shoes that you use when engaging in activities such as walking, running, biking, golf, tennis etc. This technology is amazing for prolonging the amount of time you can go between tune-up sessions.

Please note, though they will help you feel better in many aspects, your orthotics will also highlight any remaining problems. If you have discomfort or pain while wearing them (this can be any part of your body), make a note and report back to your PT. They will be able to correct this problem so your body can tolerate the neutral position of your orthotics.

In rare cases, orthotics can irritate the skin of the foot when first used. Please alert your PT of any irritation you experience or if redness occurs which does not subside within 20 minutes.

How Do I Get Custom Orthotics?

At Manual Physical Therapy, we have a machine that is specifically designed to measure discrepancies with your foot structure and assist with the correction and maintenance of biomechanical dysfunctions identified in your treatment plan.

The result is a custom fitted orthotic shoe insert for your specific needs. Please refer to the recommended break in schedule above for first time wear. Any discomfort will dissipate as the orthotics are broken in.

Orthotics Break-in schedule:

Day

How long to wear (Hours)

1-3

2

4

3

5

4

6

6

7

8

How Long Do Custom Orthotics Last?

Once broken in, your orthotics will last for years to come. However, your needs may change as time goes on. It is always important to get regular check ups with a physician or physical therapist as your condition improves. They may prescribe a new custom orthotic that fits better in relation to your changing needs.

In conclusion,

If you have chronic pain and a Doctor has recommended custom orthotics in the past, you may benefit from the natural relief custom orthotics provide. They prevent nagging pain while walking, standing or sitting. Orthotics can improve your balance, especially when combined with manual therapy.

When added to manual therapy, you and your loved ones will notice less nagging pain when taking your shoes off. Custom orthotics help all parts of our bodies by creating a strong foundation on which your entire body is balanced. When your feet are supported, you have less pain in your knee, hip, back or neck as you sit, stand and walk.


Joann Pung

Joann Pung

Founder of Manual Physical Therapy & Concierge Services and leading PT in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. Joann has been helping transform people’s lives since she was introduced to Manual Therapy techniques 28 years ago. Since opening up her own clinic in July 2016, her reputation has grown quickly, with patients now driving from areas as far as Punta Gorda and Orlando to see her and some even enjoying telehealth from as far as Denver, Seattle, London and UAE. To help more people, Joann works extensively with her team and spends a vast amount of her time continually training them. This ensures that our treatment approach is consistent and that every patient gets the functional outcome that is most important to them, regardless of who treats them. When not at work, Joann spends her time with Joel, her best friend, husband, and fellow PT who now runs the front desk. She has raised 2 amazing daughters and enjoys spending time with her family, learning new ideas (such a nerd), watching funny videos on YouTube, or planning for the next family trip.
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