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Types of Orthotics

OrthoticsWhen it comes to the world of orthotics, depending on what kind of criteria you want to use, there are about as many types as there are pairs. You can categorize them by how much of your feet they contact. You can distinguish them by the materials they’re made from. You can separate them by the conditions they supposedly treat, or what they’re supposed to do. If you’ve ever stood in front of a rack and wondered whether you need gel or foam, antimicrobial or breathable, full contact or arch only … you get the idea.

There are pros and cons to all these features, of course, but let’s pull back from the trees and look at the forest a bit. Broadly speaking, there are two main ways to divide foot inserts.

Prefabricated vs. Custom

One major way to divide orthotics is by how they are made, and who for.

Prefabricated orthotics are the ones you buy off the shelf or online. They aren’t made for any one person, but mass produced to fit a number of generalized foot shapes. They certainly can provide temporary pain relief, particularly for minor aches and pains. But because they’re mass produced and generally not adjustable, they can usually only provide a partial or half-way fix for more serious pain.

By contrast, custom orthotics are fit and prescribed by a licensed foot specialist and made just for you. Because of this, they can provide more complete pain relief and are effective for a wider variety of diagnosable conditions.

Accommodative vs. Functional

The other major way to divide orthotics is by how they provide relief.

Accommodative orthotics, which includes almost all prefabricated and many custom orthotics, are meant to accommodate a structural foot flaw. In other words, they provide excess cushioning and/or support for heels, arches, balls of feet, etc. Like shock absorbers, they soak up impacts and reduce the amount of weight and pressure placed on troublesome hotspots.

With functional orthotics, the goal is to control or correct irregular or inefficient joint motion. For example, a functional orthotic can help keep your ankles from rolling, or your feet from turning too far inward when you step. Because of this, they tend to made from more rigid or semi-rigid materials.

What Orthotics Do You Need?

That’s what we’re here to help you find out!

The right pair of orthotics can provide massive relief, soothing chronic pain not only in the feet but throughout the body. The wrong pair, however, is at best useless and at worst harmful to your body mechanics. In other words: don’t guess. Make sure you get the right insert at the right fit.

To schedule your appointment with Las Vegas’ orthotics experts, please contact the Absolute Foot Care Specialists at (702) 839-2010.

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