Custom orthotics are commonly used in the treatment of plantar fasciitis by podiatrists as a treatment for foot and heel pain. The reason they are used so commonly is that patients report relief of their symptoms when using them. As you might expect, not every patient responds in the same way to various foot and heel pain treatments. This is logical because every patient is different. Therefore podiatrists rely on feedback from their patients and regular consultations to determine the effectiveness of any treatment plan.
Custom orthotics are not automatically prescribed to every patient who walks into a foot and nail clinic. Rather, your podiatrist will examine your foot and take a full history before considering the best treatment plan for you.
If your foot has an obvious mechanical problem such as a medial arch collapse or a pronated foot, then the choice to use custom orthotics in your treatment plan will be more likely. If your podiatrist determines the cause of your plantar fasciitis is related to a mechanical problem, then the use of custom orthotics to treat your plantar fasciitis will also be more likely as the use of custom orthotics help restore optimum mechanics. Custom orthotics can help relieve stress on the plantar fascia and redistribute pressure placed on the foot so the heel takes less pressure, consequently reducing foot and heel pain.
Your foot doctor will generally use custom orthotics as part of a suite of treatment approaches for your foot and heel pain. In general custom orthotics are not considered a magic cure by podiatrists. However, podiatrists do understand that your foot provides the base for so many other mobility motions. Ensuring your foot is in the correct position, shape, alignment and is well supported reduces the load on the foot and leg muscles, helping to reduce foot and heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
One of the best treatments for plantar fasciitis is extended rest. This may mean a patient has to completely stop a sport or activity they love for months at a time. Not every patient is prepared to do this and may not be able to prevent being on their feet all day, especially taking into account work commitments and financial considerations. Therefore, your foot doctor will offer you other treatment options to help manage your plantar fasciitis and reduce your foot and heel pain. Typically your podiatrist will want to cover all the bases to help support your feet as much as possible and help you effectively manage your condition. Custom orthotics combined with well-fitted shoes, stretching exercises and strengthening exercises are commonly used in unison to help you overcome your condition without giving up all the activities you love. It’s about finding the right balance and formulating a treatment plan that considers both your lifestyle and the underlying condition.
To summarise, custom orthotics can and do provide effective foot and heel pain treatment for many patients, especially those with plantar fasciitis. However, their use is not a foregone conclusion. While treatment plans by podiatrists will often include the use of custom orthotics as part of a suite of strategies, they are not suited to everyone.
If you are experiencing foot and heel pain, or think you might have plantar fasciitis please talk to us about how we can help you
Also check out this page on our orthotics which might help.