Everyone has a different foot type, and therefore the way each person walks is slightly different. Studies have shown the structure of the foot influences the way someone walks. There are 28 bones, 100 ligaments, and 33 tendons in the foot and the process that allows us to walk is highly complex. Imbalance in the foot can lead to tendonitis, arthritis, bursitis, neuritis, as well as knee and back pain. The way people compensate for pain will have a domino effect and make people’s pain spiral. Special inserts that go into shoes can help realign this underlying issue, however are all inserts the same and does any doctor or prosthetist make the right device? Let’s find out!
Over the Counter versus Custom?
When someone has trouble reading, they get a $5 pair of reading glasses from Walmart. However, when people begin to not see stop signs, faces, and headaches reading glasses no longer work and prescription glasses are needed. Over the counter vs custom orthotics are very similar. Over the counter, or off the shelf, inserts are made to help general achy feet. Dr. Scholls can provide cushion, however, without any underlying structure, it is not holding the foot in line and ultimately only helps for people that want a little more padding. SuperFeet and PureStride are over-the-counter inserts that have structure and cushion, all with standard arch heights and padding thickness. They tend to help people with generally normal arches and achy feet. The downside to these is they only last 1-2 years and are a bit bulky. This type of insert tends to only fit in athletic shoes. The arch is “one size fits all” and therefore high arch or flat-footed people tend to get less benefit. Custom orthotics on the other hand take a foot cast or image and are designed specific to the foot type. They can either accommodate the foot with support or re correct and realign the foot. The problem with customs is the design is everything. The foot cast is a starting point but how it is designed determines if it works for someone or collects dust in the closet.
The Align Foot and Ankle Orthotic Difference
True custom orthotics involve starting with a weight bearing X-ray. This will show all the joint angles and the foot position. Dr. Barnett can see structural issues that are usually the driving force for altered pressure and pain. The next step is a Gait analysis. The 3d sensor/camera system will show what the pelvis, hips, knees, ankles, feet are doing through the entire step cycle to see if the issue is stemming from hips and knees and will show where the person is compensating. The pressure plate shows how the foot moves through the step cycle. This is called the functional part of the foot and is even more important is making a corrective orthotic. Once all aspects of foot structure and movement are assessed, Dr. Barnett will do a full foot exam to determine the areas of pain, weakness, and tension. Once this is done a 3d scan of each foot is made. Now the MAGIC begins. Dr. Barnett will utilize AutoCAD to overcorrect the foot and add wedges, cutouts, corrective angles and precisely placed padding to alleviate pain and realign each foot individually. The structure of the device is then 3D printed with carbon fiber, polymers, graphite with widths and heights . These all carry lifetime warranties. Next the padding and cushion is added and is tailored to each foot and shoe type. Orthotics through Dr. Barnett have over 500 modifications and can fit into any shoe desired. Once the patient is fitted for inserts they will break them in and all inserts are guaranteed for comfort and fitment. No other practice will guarantee their work like Align Foot and Ankle. The insight, design, and guarantee will help resolve foot pain and will last a lifetime.