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Medical:  Foot Ailments and Orthotics

Mobilize Yourself with Orthotics
Orthotics are devises used to treat numerous foot disorders and conditions. They range from improvised do-it-yourself equipment to commercially manufactured devices.

Four General Categories of Orthotic Devices
Functional – These devices basically allow individuals to walk or move better and more easily. Examples of functional orthotic devices are wedges that increase the comfort of wearing shoes when individuals either have flat feet or feet with too high arches.

Weight-Dispersive – With this type of orthotic devices, individuals are able to move without pain. These devices are commonly used to treat metatarsal problems, chronically inflamed toes, and sesamoid bones.

Supportive Orthotics – When an individual is diagnosed to have a problem with the plantar arch, supportive orthotics may be used to ease his movement.

Early Childhood Orthotics – Splints, gait plates, and night bars are just some examples of this type of orthotic device. Some children are born with biomechanical walking problems and these devices may help in correcting and eliminating the problem entirely.

Do You Need an Orthotic Device?
Don’t be fooled into thinking that only people with serious feet problems will benefit from the use of orthotic devices. If you’re experiencing simple discomfort from walking or wearing certain types of shoes then that could easily indicate a need for orthotics. Here are several instances that signify a need for orthotic devices:

  • Look at Your Toes – Do you notice anything wrong with them? If they’re not straight, you could do with a orthotic device.
  • Look at Your Feet – Is there something wrong with its appearance? If so, have the doctor check on it, and don’t be surprised if he tells you that you need an orthotic device.
  • Look at Your Shoes – If the heel of your shoes doesn’t wear at an equal rate, there’s definitely something wrong.
  • Is There Pain – If your feet, shins, heels, or your lower back hurt, such pain is sometimes an indication of a need for orthotics.
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Types of People Who Commonly Need Orthotics

Skiing or Skating Enthusiasts – Making all those double and triple axles can certainly put undue pressure on your feet. The pointed tip design of skates doesn’t help either. Certain orthotic devices that are specially designed for skiers and skaters will provide them with proper foot protection and increase motion control for better sports performance. These orthotics may also give you a safer landing as they can absorb shock and lessen the landing impact for your feet.

Indoor Sports Enthusiasts – Whether you’re playing basketball, badminton, or volleyball, any indoor sport always increases your risks of developing a foot problem. The use of orthotics however will effectively counteract such risks.

Golfers – A golfer can twist his foot the wrong way while hitting the ball, or he can exhaust his feet too much as he walks the whole length of the golf course. Orthotics can relieve golfers from extreme pain and pressure.

Runners – Blazing your way on the track might be emotionally fulfilling, but it’s dangerous for your feet at the same time, especially when you weigh heavily or you prefer long-distance running. An orthotic device can help runners perform better by alleviating the stress conditions on their feet.

Diabetics – Individuals with diabetes can benefit from orthotic devices in two primary ways: Corrective: Some diabetics experience poor circulation or biomechanical problems with their feet. An orthotic device however will allow them to walk normally.

Accomodative: Diabetics heal more slowly than others. If wounds or blisters are located on the feet of a diabetic, these might require them to stay off their feet for a certain period of time. Orthotic devices such as extra depth shoes will however allow these individuals to regain control of their limbs sans the risk of having the shoes rub the wounds or lesions in the wrong way.

Arthritic Individuals – Arthritis is a leading health problem, particularly for the elderly. This condition can sometimes make a person unable to work properly or for a long period of time as pain accompanies movement of their feet. With the use of orthotic devices however, arthritis need no longer restrict people’s movements and lifestyles.

NEXT: Neuropathy, Tailor’s Bunion, Foot Ulcers



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