One of the most common foot problems is Plantar fasciitis or foot and heel pain. This condition is the swelling of the plantar fascia, the band of tissue that continues from the heel to the toes, down the bottom of the foot.
The plantar fascia ligaments act as the shock absorber, supporting the arch of the foot. There are several reasons that damages or tears the ligaments resulting in the inflammation. Overuse, too much pressure or weight, lack of flexibility or flat feet are some of the main causes.
The well-known solution in alleviating this kind of pain is using shoe inserts.
There are two types; the insoles, and the custom Orthotics. While it may look the same, there are significant differences between the two. Below are items to consider before selecting the most suitable foot support solution.
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Custom orthotics, as the name implies, are custom made. They’re made from firm supportive materials that have a plastic bump snug on the arch of the foot. They are fabricated to exactly fit the patient’s feet.
A custom orthotic device may take a day up to two weeks to create. Depending on the technology the specialist has. The patient first talks to a Chiropodist or Podiatrist and discuss specific issues and possible causes. Once those have been concluded, the specialist then makes a three-dimensional impression of the foot. A casting procedure or digital impression, force plate or compressible foam boxes will be used.
Once the mold is done, it’s taken to a lab for the orthotic device to be manufactured. The Chiropodist or Podiatrist can also do it on-site if the machines needed are available. Due to the meticulous details that go into the production, it may take some time to finish.
Custom orthotics provide short and long-term relief. These orthotics boast a personalized approach that addresses symptomatic conditions and biochemical imbalances. They are even customizable to fit only the heel or the whole foot. Furthermore, the effective design tackles individual issues and pain symptoms.
They are designed to spread even pressure on each foot to ensure that it hits the proper angles as it touches the ground. The devices alleviate some of the pain with the distributed pressure. They can prevent further damage to the plantar fascia.
Custom orthotics are beneficial to people who have consistent, prolonged pain.
They’re modifiable and likewise beneficial for people who have foot deformities— misshapen form or size. Correspondingly, in terms of correcting particular existing issues, they can produce faster results. And they can fit in most types of shoes.
Most of the time, custom orthotic devices last until they are needed. The inflexible materials that make them are quite durable. These can last up to five years, depending on the usage. And as with anything custom-made, a custom orthotics have a heftier price tag. They can go from $225 to as much as $500, based on CostFreak.
Insoles are ready-made shoe inserts made out of soft gel materials and/or foams and plastic. These pre-made, contoured foot-beds are mass produced. They are available in most stores and online – comes in a wide variety of brands, shapes, sizes, colors, and materials.
They are structured to suit a wide range of people. The design is based on the most common issues as per the brand’s statistic. Similarly, these are ideal for people who have infrequent foot pains looking for some relief.
Insoles work great as a preventive support. They’re often used in sports and anything that requires heavy feet usage. Even so, they are not intended for specific pain reduction nor suitable for feet corrections since they only come with the generic features.
Prefabricated insoles can provide short-term relief. These insoles aim to reduce pain by providing supplementary shoe cushion and feet support. They act as extra cushions in the shoe, thereby decreasing discomfort. They also provide minimal support to the foot and the arch, thus reducing pain in the meantime.
These inserts need frequent replacement as they only last around three to six months on the average. Although brand dependent, most materials deform quickly; regardless if they’re the typical soft gel or the firm components.
On the Plus side, these removable over-the-counter insoles are inexpensive. They cost an average of $13 to $55.