Whether you’re strolling through the grocery aisle, walking around the office, or hitting the treadmill at the gym, getting around comfortably is essential. From the tips of your toes to the balls of your feet, what you’re walking around on can mean the difference between major support and chronic foot pain.
Orthotics are medicated devices prescribed by your doctor and designed to eliminate various foot-related problems and discomforts. However, it is important to remember that orthotics vs orthopedic shoes offer different advantages. If you’re unsure about the benefits of orthotics, you came to the right place. Read on to see our breakdown of the top 5 orthotic benefits that could put some pep in your step.
#1 Foot Pain Relief
About 75% of Americans will deal with some form of foot pain in their lives, but that doesn’t mean that discomfort is inevitable.1 If you’re coming home with aches, pains, and discomforts, an orthotic could help improve your foot issue.
Orthotics can be a safe and effective remedy for a variety of painful conditions, including:
- Plantar fasciitis – The result of inflamed tissue that connects your heel to your toes, plantar fasciitis is a common problem for runners. This highly common foot problem results in a sharp, shooting heel pain, which may decrease throughout the day. The problem is often exacerbated by ill-fitting shoes.
- Heel spurs – If you’re engaging in frequent jumping exercises or putting excessive pressure on your heel as you walk, heel spurs may become an issue. Heel spurs are formed when calcium is deposited underneath the heel over several weeks or months, leading to pain while walking. While over-the-counter pain relievers may help with the discomfort, they won’t address the underlying problem.
- Arthritis – There are more than 30 joints in the human foot.2 Over time, the articular cartilage necessary to keep the joints moving smoothly wears away. The result is arthritis—an incredibly painful problem for millions of Americans.
- Bunions – These painful protrusions are caused by too-small shoes and a genetic abnormality. If your big toe leans toward your second toe, you are likely at risk for developing this issue. Of course, comfortable shoes provide a simple way to help prevent the problem.
Additionally, orthotics may help with recent or long-term injuries. Bursitis—a condition that results in sacks of fluid developing around joints—is a common result of trauma-related foot injuries.3
Not only can foot orthotics help current injuries, but they may also be a treatment for a prior injury. If aches have returned long after an injury has healed, orthotics may be able to provide sufficient pain relief.
#2 Workout Advantages
If you’re looking to get active or to up your output of exercise, orthotics may be the missing piece of your workout regimen.
We’re all hoping to push ourselves in the gym and maximize our workout for the best potential results, so why not take advantage of all that modern podiatric science has contributed to exercise?
Consider the following ways that orthotics can make breaking a sweat even better:
- Balance – Orthotics have been shown to assist with balance, especially in athletic scenarios. That means less wobbling while on your feet, allowing for more reps and sets. Just as they say, slow and steady can win the race (and provide a truly effective workout).
- Fatigue reduction – Feeling worn out a little sooner than you’d like? Orthotics could be the perfect way to push through workout fatigue and ensure you’re hitting your gym goals every time you exercise. Sometimes all it takes is some medical-grade footwear to make it through a rigorous training session.
- Shock absorption – Run, jump, and leap at your peak. While you may be happy to push yourself when completing vertical exercises, it’s the landing that you have to worry about. Orthotics can up your shock absorbing abilities, making tough jumps and even regular running significantly easier on your joints.
There’s no telling what you’re capable of with the right orthotics under your feet. For casual exercise enthusiasts and professional athletes alike, orthotics offer a simple way to always stay at the top of your game and feel great while doing it.
#3 Joint Protection
Sticks and stones can break your bones—and so can high-performance athletics, accidents, and falling objects.
The joints in your foot are particularly vulnerable to a plethora of painful possibilities, and one wrong step can mean months of recovery time. No one wants to be put on their back from a foot problem. That’s why orthotics are a popular choice for those looking to minimize potential harm.
The protective benefits of orthotics include:
- Injury prevention – Orthotics can help protect against sprains, fractures, and a variety of foot injuries. You could think of orthotics as a seatbelt for your soles—a simple way to lessen the damage of unexpected accidents.
- Post-surgery – Unfortunately, foot injuries are still very common, despite the availability of orthotics. If you’re recovering from foot, ankle, or leg surgery, it’s quite likely that your doctor will encourage the use of orthotics once you’re back on your feet. Giving your feet support during rehabilitation is key to a fast and full recovery.
- Work-place protection – Whether you’re moving around a bustling office or working outdoors on rough terrain, a set of orthotics could help you keep up with whatever the job throws at you.
As you age, joints wear down, muscles weaken, and tissue becomes more prone to injury. While orthotics are a good option for people of all ages, they can be particularly helpful to those in their 40s and above, as their feet have already experienced a few decades of wear.
#4 Long-term Support
For many Americans, managing foot discomfort is a lifelong undertaking. While orthotics are great for short-term problems, they may offer even more benefits to those with chronic issues. If you’re looking for a dependable, non-invasive solution to foot issues, orthotics are an obvious choice.
Look no further than these long-term problems that orthotics can actively address:
- Improper fit – Feet are as diverse as the people they’re connected to, and while some shoe companies offer a variety of sizes, it’s often not enough to ensure a proper fit for every set of feet. Orthotics can allow every shoe to feel custom-fitted, ensuring comfort and helping prevent injury.
- Flat-footedness – It’s estimated that more than 30% of Americans are flat-footed.4 There’s nothing inherently wrong with being arch-less, but this anatomical quirk can lead to discomfort and may even make you more prone to foot injury. Orthotics offer a helping hand—or should we say a helping foot?—for those looking to mitigate issues related to flat feet.
- Posture correction – While they may not be the cure to your slouch, orthotics offer a way to improve posture problems related to unbalanced muscle development. If you favor one foot, the muscles on one side of your body may be under-developed, resulting in an uneven posture. A pair of orthotics could have you standing tall and feeling stable.
What you do for your feet today can have a major impact on how you feel years from now. That’s why it’s never too late to start using orthotics to assist with long-term issues. The sooner you slap on a pair, the sooner you can get started moving how you want to.
#5 Overall Health Benefits
Orthotics aren’t just for your feet. While they are customized for your soles, the benefits extend above the ankle. Whether you’re using a custom orthotics guide to shop or exploring simple inserts, you may begin to experience positive physical and mental effects.
When it comes to the human body, everything is connected. Consider some of the synergistic benefits of orthotics:
- Better sleep – Struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep? While the source of your insomnia may seem difficult to pinpoint, sore and aching feet can be a contributing factor. By implementing orthotics during the day, you may find your nights more restful and your mornings more pleasant.
- Improved back health – Are you doubled over in pain on a daily basis? While back issues are notoriously difficult to treat, orthotics can often surprise those with chronic lower back pain. The stabilization provided by orthotics can help reduce discomfort and correct potential problems that cause back pain.
- Diabetes symptom management – Foot health is essential for those dealing with diabetes. Orthotics can help reduce friction and prevent ulcers and other foot abnormalities from forming. Additionally, they can ensure proper blood flow and help relieve neuropathy.5
The associated health benefits of orthotics are wide-ranging and not always easily quantifiable. While orthotics aren’t a magical cure, they’re a tried and true therapy for a whole host of daily discomforts and come at the recommendation of podiatrists across the country.
Vionic: Take A Walk In Our Shoes
Think you can benefit from orthotics? Whether you’re suffering from a painful shuffle or hoping to protect your tootsies from harm, orthotics are a slam-dunk solution for millions of people.
Then again, there may be an even easier way to make your daily trot feel like you’re walking on cloud nine.
At Vionic, we specialize in comfortable, stylish active sneakers that offer foot support like none other. With Three-zone comfort, our Vio-Motion footbed technology delivers stability, arch support, and cushion. We don’t believe in suffering for fashion, and with innovative tech and optimized designs, every pair of Vionic shoes is a step in the right direction.
- Orthopedic Associates. 25 Facts About Foot Pain That You Probably Didn’t Know. https://orthopedicassociates.org/facts-about-foot-pain-that-you-probably-didnt-know/
- Ortho Infor. Arthritis of the Foot and Ankle. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/arthritis-of-the-foot-and-ankle/
- Mayo Clinic. Bursitis.https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bursitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353242
- CBS Baltimore. Flat Feet More Common Than You Might Think. https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2013/06/13/flat-feet-more-common-than-you-might-think/
- Intermountain Foot & Ankle. The Benefits of Custom Orthotics Go Well Beyond Foot Pain. https://www.painfreefootcare.com/blog/the-benefits-of-custom-orthotics-go-well-beyond-foot-pain
- The Sports Medicine Review. Sports Injuries and Foot Orthotics: Prevention and Recovery. https://www.sportsmedreview.com/blog/sports-injuries-foot-orthotics-prevention-recovery/