Custom moulded orthotics are a device which repositions your foot in a more biomechanically correct position. The realignment of the muscles, tendons and joints allows the foot to be more efficient. There are various types of orthotics available, these are designed for patients of different ages and activities. They can be fabricated specifically for sports such as skiing, skating and jogging, as well as for diabetic and arthritic patients to relieve foot pain during weight-bearing. Orthotics slow the progression of deformities and maintain the extremity in the biomechanically best-suited position.
An orthotic is not arch support. Orthotics correct abnormal foot functions whereas arch supports to accommodate the foot. In fabricating an orthotic the Podiatrist first performs a biomechanical examination of the lower extremity. A diagnosis of the foot problem is made where orthotics may be one part of the treatment plan. The foot is cast in the neutral foot position. The cast is then sent to a local orthotic lab that handcrafts the orthotic.
The Achilles tendon is a fibrous cord of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. This tendon allows you to rise up on your toes and push off while walking or running. Common problems with the Achilles tendon are that the tendon can become inflamed, can tear or can even rupture. Treatment varies from stretching exercises to complete immobilization.
Back or Knee complaints can arise from foot problems. Treating the underlying foot problem can often times alleviate or stabilize chronic discomfort felt on the lower back or on the knees.
A bunion (hallux valgus) is a sometimes painful structural deformity of the bones and the joint between the foot and big toe.
A bunion is an enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint at the base of the big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint). The big toe may turn in toward the second toe (displacement), and the tissues surrounding the joint may be swollen and tender.
Bunions are caused by a biomechanical abnormality, where certain tendons, ligaments, and supportive structures of the first metatarsal are no longer functioning correctly. This biomechanical abnormality may be caused by a variety of conditions intrinsic to the structure of the foot–such as flat feet, excessive ligamentous flexibility, abnormal bone structure, and certain neurological conditions. These factors are often considered genetic.
Bunions may be treated conservatively with changes in shoe gear, different orthotics (accommodative padding and shielding), rest, ice, and medications.
Flat feet, also called pes planus or fallen arches, is a condition in which the arch of the foot collapses, with the entire sole of the foot coming into complete or near-complete contact with the ground.
A hammertoe is a deformity of the second, third, or fourth toe causing it to be permanently bent at the proximal interphalangeal joint, resembling a hammer.
A heel spur consists of a thin spike of calcification, which lies within the plantar fascia at the point of its attachment to the calcaneum, or heel bone. While this condition is commonly present in plantar fasciitis, it is a result of the inflammation and is not the cause of the pain caused thereby. The X-ray findings are not diagnostic and are commonly reported in people not suffering from fasciitis.
Morton’s neuroma is an enlarged nerve that usually occurs in the third interspace, which is between the third and fourth toes.
Symptoms include pain on weight-bearing, frequently after only a short time; the pain is felt as a shooting pain affecting the contiguous halves of two toes. Burning, numbness and paresthesia may also be experienced. Classically the 3rd digital space between the 3rd and 4th toes is affected, but the condition can occasionally occur in the 2nd and 3rd interdigital space. The pain is caused by pressure on the enlarged section of the nerve where it passes between the metatarsal heads and is squeezed between them. The first toe is usually not involved. A neuroma in the 4th/5th interdigital space is described but is extremely rare.
Plantar fasciitis, formerly known as “policeman’s heel”, is a painful inflammatory condition caused by excessive wear to the plantar fascia of the foot or biomechanical faults that cause abnormal pronation of the foot. The pain usually is felt on the underside of the heel and is often most intense with the first steps of the day. It is commonly associated with long periods of weight-bearing. Obesity, weight gain, jobs that require a lot of walking on hard surfaces, shoes with little or no arch support, and inactivity are also associated with the condition. This condition often results in a heel spur on the calcaneus, in which case it is the underlying condition, and not the spur itself, which produces the pain.
Pronation is a condition wherein the feet collapses to the inside when the owner’s full weight is on them. The feet may look perfectly normal when there is a weight on them.
We can help this condition by fitting the patient with an orthotic device. Dramatic results often occur within the first few weeks of wearing the orthotic device.
A stress fracture is one type of incomplete fractures in bones. It could be described as a very small sliver or crack in the bone; this is why it is sometimes dubbed “hairline fracture”. It typically occurs in weight-bearing bones, such as the tibia (bone of the lower leg) and metatarsals (bones of the foot). It is a common sports injury.
Stress fractures usually have a narrow list of symptoms. It could present as a generalized area of pain, tenderness, and pain with weight-bearing. Usually, when running, a stress fracture has severe pain at the beginning of the run, moderate pain in the middle of the run, and severe pain at the end and after the run.