It is a known fact that improper foot alignment is the primary cause of back, leg, and foot pain. If the problem is left unchecked, it may result in severe bodily injuries like tendonitis, shin splints, and stress fractures. The good news is that some pain and injuries can be prevented by orthotics.
What Is Orthotic?
Many people denote orthotic as ‘Arch Support’; however, they do much more than this. First, they help rectify incorrect foot alignment while undertaking activities such as running and walking. An orthotic is a shoe insert that works directly on foot position and has an effect on the hips, ankles, lower back, and knees. Remember, all these are linked together in a biomechanical chain. With this guide, you will learn ways to find the right pairs of orthotics for you.
Orthotic Qualities And Foot Types
Flat feet or low arched feet are foot types that do not have a huge gap between the arch and the floor while standing. As such, this type of foot is very flexible and needs a rigid orthotic. It is also important to have orthotic slippers like these Bearpaw Slippers.
- Rigid Orthotic – Rigid foot support governs the movement of the foot. As such, it is wise to go for an inflexible orthotic but must have good arch support. While choosing one, consider pushing down on the arch. If it collapses under pressure, then it is not rigid enough for you. Remember, wearing this kind of shoe insert may feel weird when first worn. A high arch foot is that that have large gaps between the arch and the floor while standing. As such, this type of foot tends to be rigid and therefore demands soft orthotics.
- Soft Orthotic – Soft Orthotics tend to feel softer and flexible to the touch. They also have high cushioning, which helps in absorbing shock while walking. When choosing one, consider looking for one that is flexible with proper cushioning, but still supports the arch. On the other hand, it is wise to note that this type of orthotic may demand constant replacing as they tend to wear out quickly.
How To Tell If Orthotic Is The Right Fit For You
The moment you have bought a pair of orthotics, take them out of the packaging and place them on the floor. The goal is to test them. As such, stand on pieces before placing them in the shoes. Get a feel for them by feeling the level of support you will get.
Fitting Them In Your Shoes
Some orthotics may need trimming around the toe area for them to fit in the shoe. If this is the case, it is wise to follow the instructions on the package and only trim a small section at a time. Do not forget to follow the curve very well. After trimming around the curve, consider attempting to insert them in the shoes. If they still do not fit, repeat the process until they fit.
How To Break-In Orthotics
Most of the time, the first time a person wears orthotics, that person has a high probability of experiencing soreness in their feet, leg, or low back. If you experience this, do not be afraid, a little soreness is normal, and it will reduce or disappear after some time. The main reason for the soreness is simply because they are still new and need breaking in. To break them in, follow these steps: -
- Wear the orthotics when you are active such as while shopping, running, or walking. In fact, place them in the shoe that you will be using the most.
- Increase your wear time by 2 hours every day. What does this mean? For example, during the first day, wear them for 2 hours. during the second day, wear them for 4 hours, during the third day, wear them for 6 hours, and so on.
- Maintain a similar level of wearing for several days until the soreness decreases. The best way to achieve this is by increasing the wear time each day for 2 hours until the orthotics breaks-in, and the soreness subsides.
NOTE: Avoid using your orthotics in your sporting shoes until the moment they have become comfortable, and you have broken them in. In other words, until you can comfortably wear them the whole day without feeling sore, then you can use them in sport's shoes. You can achieve making them comfortable by wearing them over a few days. Increase the type and amount of activity while wearing them.