Help! My heel hurts when I step out of bed in the morning!
This is a very common symptom caused by plantar fasciitis. This occurs when the large ligament in the bottom of your foot becomes over stretched and possibly torn. This is a very common problem that will often sneak up on you without much warning. The good news is that there are many treatment options for this problem. Our focus for this article is custom foot orthotics and their crucial role in eliminating this problem.
Custom Orthotics. What and Why?
Many foot problems occur because the foot is out of balance. Even a slight malalignment can take its toll over several years. This will result in an abnormal pull on ligaments or tendons which then results in pain and inflammation over time. This will require a two step approach. The first is to eliminate the pain and the second is to correct the underlying problem that caused the issue in the first place.
- Eliminate inflammation. Obviously the first issue is “please make my heel stop hurting!” This can be done in several ways depending on the level of pain and how long it has been present. Common treatments include stretching, icing, antiinflammatory medications and cortisone shots. We will discuss these in greater detail in future blogs.
- Address the overall cause of the heel pain. Quite often this can be what we call abnormal mechanics of the foot. This can be compared to your car being in poor alignment which results in abnormal wear on the tires. Functional foot orthotics address the malalignment of the feet which are causing the plantar fascia to overload.
Orthotics are not all the same. A quick perusal on the internet will overwhelm you with an array of shoe inserts. There are many prefabricated inserts that can be helpful but are not custom made to your foot. Your best option is to visit your podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
The True Beauty of Orthotics
What I love about orthotics is that it is a treatment that will be with you for years to come. They are extremely durable and will last for years. You simply put them in your shoes and let them do their magic! Long after medications have worn off, the orthotics are still in your shoes showing up for work daily and helping you get back to the life you love!