Inserts vary significantly from one another; there are a vast array of choices and options when discussing orthotic inserts. To begin with it is important to distinguish between accommodative and functional orthosis. To determine if an insert is merely accommodative is a simple test, try to bend the insert if it bends and it can be twisted it is just a cushioning for your shoes. This type of insert can pad a foot and help reduce painful calluses on the bottom of your feet, but it is only a cushioning device with minimal if any corrective abilities. Sometimes, cushioning is all you need, but if you do suffer from any type of biomechanical abnormality than a functional orthotic is probably indicated. There are over the counter inserts that are generic and give some support but are based on a conglomeration of many foot types and therefore are not specific for the individual needs. Nevertheless, if you are unable to see a podiatrist or can’t afford custom orthotics, then the generic type of insert is an option. It may not eliminate the problem but it may help reduce the pain.
At Eastern Shore Foot Center we scan your feet while walking across a gait plate. This allows the lab to determine the various forces and abnormalities that we witness from observing the patient’s stance and gait patterns. The integrated mat is so sensitive that it surpasses the human eye and can measure changes that the human eye could easily miss. The Metascan pressure mat created at Footmaxx is capable of capturing 150 images a second in comparison to the human eye that is capable of only 7 images a second. The lab’s orthotist and the physician work in unison to create orthotics that helps reposition the feet and correct the pathology based on the information received from the scan.
So now back to the original question “Why Functional Orthotics?”. The answer is simple, they work, and they are able to realign the foot and alleviate various problems and help you avoid surgery. After surgery they can help maintain the correction avoiding further surgery. For runners and active people they are essential in alignment of the ankles, knees and back.