The term orthotics is used to describe the field of medicine involving the design, production, and use of orthoses, which are external artificial devices that help with the treatment of foot and ankle conditions. Orthotics may include over-the-counter shoe inserts in addition to custom-designed prescription devices.
Orthoses that offer extra cushion and support may be purchased over-the-counter by considering your given health and the ultimate purpose of the device. Those that relieve pain or discomfort, however, must be made specifically to fit the contours of your feet.
Flat feet in a child requires no special treatment or orthotic devices. An overwhelming majority of infants are born with this condition, and most will grow out of it. Flat feet in an adult do not necessarily require intervention either. However, if an adult experiences pain or discomfort due to flat feet, a partially rigid shoe insert or a long arch pad or an extended heel counter or inner heel wedge may be used to alleviate symptoms.
Orthoses for bunions are directed at relieving the pressure on the big toe. It is recommended to purchase shoes with a wide toe box that are soft and have a one-piece, stretchy upper-parts. Consult your podiatrist for the orthotic device that best fits your needs.
Unless you have a structural or functional abnormality, you may not require a custom orthotic device for running. Before choosing an orthotic device, consider its purpose and whether the goal can be reached by alternative means. Research shows that while many runners aim to get custom orthotics to improve their performance, many could benefit from learning proper running form. Talk to Dr. Miller or Dr. Myer to see if an orthotic device will benefit your running.
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