The foot is a complicated structure of bones, joints, muscles and soft tissues that allow humans to stand upright, walk, run and move; all of which are crucial to human life. The human foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles and tendons. The complex nature of the foot and its associated structures allows for movement, coordination and balance. The average person takes 8-10,000 steps per day. The feet are the foundation of the body, as they support the weight of the body above. During movement, there are complicated patterns that begin in the foot, as it is the body’s first contact with the ground. Forces travel through the foot into the lower limb and up the kinetic chain into the pelvis and back. If these functional movement patterns are faulty, weak or there is an injury, this can lead to compensation in different parts of the foot and body and cause pain and discomfort.
A custom foot orthotic is a device designed to align the foot and ankle into the most anatomically efficient position to prevent and accommodate foot abnormalities. These devices used in conjunction with appropriate footwear can be used to treat many foot and lower limb imbalances, effectively preventing injury. Orthotics provide support and stability to the foot, reducing the stress and strain on the foot and in turn the rest of the body during load bearing activity. An orthotic is fabricated using a custom imprint of each patient’s foot. This aligns the foot to the individuals optimal anatomical position, redirecting and reducing certain unnecessary and improper motion occurring during standing, weight bearing, and gait cycles.
Poor foot mechanics can lead to a variety of symptoms and injuries including metatarsalgia (localized foot pain), plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, shin splits, bunions, hammer toes, knee pain, hip pain and low back pain. These conditions often stem from a biomechanical gait abnormality or misalignment of certain structures leading to injury over time. Orthotics can be an effective way to achieve and maintain healthy gait patterns, leading to reduced risk of injury and healthier feet!