Why Your Orthopedist May Prescribe Orthotics

Orthotics are special shoe inserts intended to help improve the comfort of your feet and bring you more support. They are not the same as the shoe inserts you can buy at the store or at your local shoe supplier, even though they look similar and have the same end goals.

Your orthopedist, or specialist in bone conditions, may prescribe orthotics to you for a number of reasons. Following a thorough foot exam with x-rays and 3D imagery of your feet, your orthopedist may be likely to suggest or prescribe orthotics for the reasons below.

You have flat feet 

Flat feet put pressure on the arch of your foot, causing strain, pain, and discomfort. If your arch is so severely flat that surgery is the only alternative to orthotics, you're likely to be fitted for orthotics with a cushioned arch support in the center to help you find greater support and balance. Your orthopedist will take measurements and casts of your feet to get the exact shape of your arch so they can prescribe you custom orthotics.

You have nerve issues

Nerve issues resulting from an underlying medical issue, including multiple sclerosis, diabetes, lupus, or other nerve or immune disorders, can cause pain, discomfort, or even numbness of the feet. Foot problems can result in having to have surgery or in losing the ability to walk normally, so take any issues with your nerves seriously.

Your orthopedist may prescribe orthotics in addition to other bone and joint support aides, such as support hose or special shoes. Your orthotics have to be worn every day to be effective.

You have walking or balance problems

If you have an issue with the way you walk or with your balance in general, then orthotics can help. Your balance may be off because of the way you put pressure on your toes, or perhaps your balance is incorrect because you have ankle or heel problems. However your balance or walking issues are created, putting orthotics in your shoes to help encourage better support and more natural walking habits can improve your overall physical health.

It may take a few fittings and some practice to get used to orthotics. If you have any discomfort or pain while wearing orthotics, change your shoes to wider soles or speak to your orthopedist about ways you can improve the way your orthotics feel. New orthotics can give you a better quality of life and allow you to be more active.