What is Orthotics?

What is orthotics? They are inserts in your shoes or other devices that are used to help your feet. This could be to help you walk with proper gait, keep your feet and ankles stable or to help with shin splints or other leg problems.

Orthotics can be purchased in the pharmacy or large stores like Target, K-mart or Walmart. You have probably heard of Dr. Scholl’s. They make orthotics that can be used in a variety of shoes for a variety of needs.

So, do you need them? Well, let’s begin with the shoes. Everyone needs shoes. We wear them for play, work and socializing. However, one mistake we often make is wearing the same shoe for everything.

We are not advocating retail therapy by buying tons of shoes, but there is a sound reason to have more than one pair. Shoes can wear over time. Wearing them for more than one occasion can lead to premature wear and the need for a new pair.

Also, shoes have different purposes. For instance, if you were running, you would need a pair of shoes that keep your feet cushioned, absorbs shock and also keeps the body aligned properly with each step to avoid hip and knee pain. At work, you may need a pair of shoes with good arch support if you are standing all day. For leisure, if you are a hiker, a pair of tennis shoes won’t fit the bill for foot support.

Are you getting the idea? To find the right kind of shoes, visit a specialty store. Even though they can be pricey, deals can be had there as well. Buy on Sundays when the sale papers come out. In specialty shoe stores, there are more knowledgeable sales associates that can fit you properly for your sport or occasion.

As for kids, their feet are constantly growing and changing. When they play sports, it is important to get the proper shoe to avoid injuries. Also, just for walking, choosing a shoe with cushion can make the difference in how they walk.

Orthotics are available for people with specific needs that shoes alone cannot address. A condition such as plantar fasciitis may need additional orthotics to help with cushioning to avoid pain. But, if you use orthotics for a reason like this, don’t forget to include them in all your shoes for even comfort.