Monday, August 9, 2010

Choosing The Correct Orthotic

In today’s marketplace there are a wide variety of orthotic arch supports available for consumers to choose from. Although they all claim to offer relief from the discomfort and pain caused by a misaligned or imbalanced foot, it is important to make sure the correct orthotic arch support is selected for your particular foot shape and particular foot ailment.

Buying the wrong orthotic arch support insole might actually cause more harm than good. So, how do you choose the correct orthotic arch supports? In most cases, the fit and comfort of the orthotic - basically, how it feels - is usually the best test. However, consumers should consider that it is normal in some cases for a “break-in” period to allow for the foot to get used to the new positioning resulting from the use of the orthotic arch supports

This can sometimes be a trial-and-error process, but ultimately it is important for you to know your need and how it feels when your foot is functioning properly. Whether you have high arches, low arches, or somewhere in between, comfort and function is what it comes down to.

There are a multitude of combinations of arch support and cushioning in orthotic arch supports. As such, it is important for you to know your foot type in order to choose the correct arch support.

Some orthotics are firm, sometimes called rigid, while the other extreme is an orthotic that is more flexible and soft. If you suffer from flat feet or more flexibility in your feet, it is usually important to have an orthotic arch support that is more rigid in order to prevent over-pronation. If you are not sure if you have over-pronation, understand that a person with a foot that tends to over-pronate will usually have a degree of “knock-knees.” This is the most common problem with the foot, and results in a decrease in balance as well as pain and discomfort in the ankle, knee, hip and possibly low back.

Other issues that can develop from over-pronation include plantar fasciitis, shin splints and achilles tendinitis. Proper orthotic arch supports can eliminate and prevent these conditions by bringing the foot back into proper alignment and balance.

On the other extreme, high arches usually result in someone with inflexibility in their feet. This usually calls for orthotic arch supports that do not really support so much as they provide more cushioning as opposed to support. The result of high arches is that the feet do not flex and move properly. This causes more pressure and tension in certain areas of the foot during the landing phase. This excess stress can result in injury to the knees and ankles, including achilles tendinitis, iliotibial band syndrome as well as plantar fasciitis.

Ultimately, someone with high arches does not have the ability to absorb the normal shock of walking. A more cushioned orthotic, likely a arch cushion instead of a firm arch support, will ease the stress and strain of everyday walking and help minimize the damage caused by high arches.

Whether you have low arches, high arches, or are somewhere in between, wearing the proper orthotic arch support insoles can help prevent aches and pains from walking and standing, and can also minimize the opportunity to develop more debilitating injuries.

Understand how your foot functions as well as what kind of arches your feet have is the simplest way to determine the proper orthotic arch supports you may need. If you are still unsure, it is best to consult with an expert who can guide you to the proper product that will give you the best results.

For detailed product information on the various types of orthotic arch supports, arch cushions and cushion insoles, visit The Insole Store today!

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