You might have seen the various shoe inserts sold at drug stores and wondered which ones will help with your heel pain. Perhaps you have already tried them all and still are not getting relief. You’ve already spent so much money on these inserts and different types of shoes that the sound of paying for custom orthotics is a bit out of the budget. But yet your heel pain persists, you can’t do the things you normally enjoy, and in fact it feels like it is getting worse and that the pain is spreading. Medically prescribed orthotics can help.

What is an orthotic?
An orthotic is a medical device used to correct foot pathology to alleviate pain, much like how prescription eyeglasses correct ones vision. Orthotics can be mistaken for inserts that are commonly sold at retail stores but be warned, many of these products are not a medical device. Rather, they are cushions that help with shock absorption but they do not help you longterm.

What causes heel pain?
There are many causes for heel pain. The majority of heel pain that tends to be worse in the morning or with the first few steps after sitting, is a condition called plantar fasciitis. This is inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue on the bottom of your heel and spreads its fingerlike projections to each toe. It’s role is to support underlying muscle and prevent excessive friction. Fascia is not muscle nor tendon, so when this band overstretches it does not have much flexibility and leads to inflammation. Common conditions that cause this band to overstretch is excessive pronation, or flat feet.

How do custom orthotics help heel pain?
Custom orthotics are made to fit your feet perfectly. Just like how you cannot wear eyeglasses bought from the store and expect 20/20 vision, you cannot expect that over the counter “orthotics” work to resolve your pain. Individual factors need to be considered to make the most of custom orthotics, such as material preference, your weight, the amount of fat padding that is lost due to age, pressure points, feet asymmetry, etc. Custom orthotics are specifically prescribed for your unique situation to help you deal with heel pain by correcting the forces that is overstretching the plantar fascia. A custom orthotic molds perfectly to your arch to decrease this force and other preferences are taken into account, like material type, so that they are comfortable to wear all day long.

A podiatrist is a foot and ankle specialist that is qualified to prescribe custom orthotics. If you’d like to be evaluated for custom orthotics, schedule your appointment with us 831-288-3400. We offer a wide treatment plan to help with your heel pain including custom orthotics, injections, shockwave therapy and lastly surgery. Let us help you.