Our hope at Dr. DeCato and Associates is always that nonsurgical treatment options will be able to effectively address your foot or lower leg problem. (Actually, a bigger hope is that you are able to prevent having foot or lower leg problems in the first place.) Whether or not conservative care is the best course of treatment for your condition—or if surgery is necessary—depends, of course, on the nature of your particular lower limb issue.
The good news is that there are many nonsurgical options our doctors can use to develop a conservative treatment plan for you. One of those potential options is custom orthotics, which could be the pathway to finding the pain relief you seek.
Why Orthotics Help
Orthotics are medical devices customized for your feet. They can be used to provide the proper arch support you need, which corrects alignment abnormalities.
It is important to note that custom orthotics are not the same as shoe inserts you can buy at department stores or off the shelf at pharmacies. The key difference is that custom orthotics are carefully crafted to work in accordance with your unique foot structure and arch support needs. If you are experiencing foot and/or lower limb pain and need a medical solution, come see us here at Dr. DeCato and Associates.
Orthotics are certainly beneficial for correcting problems caused by high and low foot arches, but they are also used in treatment for a wide range of other conditions as well. Plantar fasciitis, bunions, diabetic foot ulcers, and other ailments can all potentially benefit from this particular form of conservative treatment. As with the case of arch abnormality, the shoe inserts found in stores cannot accommodate these conditions.
If you have pain in your feet or knees when you run, but aren’t sure what’s causing it, there is a decent chance the answer is actually your foot structure. When your foot arches are either too low or too high, it affects how your feet pronate when you run. Abnormal pronation patterns can lead to foot and leg pain and difficulty.
Pronation is the biomechanical process in which your foot rolls inward during the ground portion of every step – from the heel striking the ground all the way through the final push of your toes. This rolling motion can be either excessive (overpronation) or not enough (supination), depending on whether you have flat feet or high arches. Either abnormal pronation style disrupts the normal distribution of force loads across the foot. Overpronation leads to extra pressure on the inner edge of the foot, whereas supination causes the outer edge to absorb more force.
If you have issues with your pronation pattern, it could be time to ask any of our doctors about orthotics.
Types of Orthotics
Custom orthotics come in various sizes and shapes, and are constructed from a variety of materials, in order to achieve any of several different objectives. Typically, orthotics are used to protect feet from injury, correct abnormal biomechanics, or combine protective function with motion control.
Types of orthotics include:
Soft Orthotics – Soft orthotics are typically prescribed to absorb shock, increase your balance, and/or relieve pressure on sore or uncomfortable areas in your foot. Foot deformities (bunions, hammertoes), arthritis, and diabetic foot care are all reasons you could benefit from soft orthotic devices. In order to provide superior cushioning, they are constructed from soft materials and may extend along the length of the entire foot.
Rigid Orthotics – Whereas soft orthotics serve to decrease pressure and protect the foot, rigid models are used to restrict or control abnormal biomechanical processes. In order to do so, this type of medical device has a solid construction necessary for regulating movement. Rigid orthotics are constructed from plastic, carbon fiber, or other firm materials. They are often intended to be worn in walking or dress shoes and can help alleviate or eliminate foot pain, aches, or strain in the lower limbs.
Semi-Rigid Orthotics – When you need both the cushioning benefits of soft orthotics with the motion-controlling aspects of rigid ones, our doctor might prescribe a semi-rigid version. These usually combine layers of soft materials and are reinforced with rigid ones to provide structure, improve balance, and still offer a certain degree of cushioning. They are especially excellent for athletic use and may be prescribed to athletes who experience pain while training or competing. Children with certain issues, including flatfoot conditions, can also benefit from this orthotic style.
Professional Care & Custom Orthotics
Dr. DeCato and Associates is ready to help you with any foot or lower leg condition causing you pain or difficulty. Custom orthotics might be the nonsurgical treatment option that works for you, so let one of our experienced doctors create a pair for you.
Start your path to pain-free living by calling (440) 992-4477 to request an appointment at either of our two northeastern Ohio Podiatric offices!