We love custom foot orthotics because they can make a huge difference in the way you walk, hold yourself, and even how long your chiropractic adjustments last. Our feet are the foundation of our bodies and we need to care for the foundation or we feel the effects in the rest of our body. Unfortunately, there is some really bad advice out there regarding foot orthotics; and we want to clear the air and give you good information. Read on for the worst advice, and our response.
Bad Advice: All you really need is a cheap pair of Dr. Scholl's inserts.
Dr. Scholl's is a big name in orthotics. They offer everything from simple, inexpensive gel insoles to custom fit kiosks at drugstores that quickly scan your feet and assign you a number based on the scan. Then you can purchase the corresponding orthotic right there at the drugstore. The problem is that 80-90% of people have something called "bilateral and asymmetrical arch drop". This means that both of their arches are dropped, and one side is almost always worse than the other. Dr. Scholl's orthotics line, comprised of only 14 different options, is simply not customized enough to adequately treat assymetrical arch drop. Your assigned number will likely provide too much of an arch for one foot and not enough for the other.
One easy comparison is drug-store reading glasses. They work great if both eyes are in need of exactly the same correction, but if one eye is worse that the other (which is true for most people), then you are over or under-correcting one eye. This would lead to obvious eye-strain; and ill-fitting orthotics can lead to foot strain.
Custom orthotics solve this problem completely by using scans and a variety of views of your feet to build unique foot orthotics. Sioux Falls Chiropractic offers these options in house! Custom foot orthotics help to relieve back, foot, and leg pain in a way that drugstore insoles can not. Dr. Scholl's isn't a bad product, it just isn't nearly customizeable enough to benefit you. And for the same price, or a little more, you could have a truly custom orthotic that will last a lot longer.
Bad Advice: Get one set of custom orthotics and you'll never need to buy them again.
Foot orthotics are a great investment that truly last. However, it is important to understand the methodology of orthotics. The goal of foot orthotics is to retrain your feet into proper positioning and functioning. For some patients with severe foot issues, you may need to get one set for your first year and then re-scan after a year. In these cases it would shock the foot and cause pain to have an insole that completely lifted arches to the proper position. So for this reason, we occasionally recommend a two-stage insole process where you wear an initial insole that partially lifts your arches for one year. Then we rescan your feet and fit your for a second and final set that lifts your arches even further. Once you achieve the appropriate arch to your feet, a good quality, custom insole can last you a long time, if you treat it well.
Bad Advice: Hard insoles are always better than soft.
We almost never recommend hard insoles simply because they put a lot of pressure on your feet when you move. There are 26 bones and 33 joints in the foot. Your feet are meant to move. If you are in rigid insoles they lock up your arch; that translates stress into your knees and hips. Soft, but supportive insoles are the better option in most cases, as they allow the foot to move properly while maintaining just enough support.
If you deal with chronic foot, leg or back pain, your feet could be part of the problem. At Sioux Falls Chiropractic we treat more than just backs, we treat the whole body. If you are wondering about foot orthotics, schedule an appointment or free consultation today.
If you're looking for immediate relief for foot pain, click below to try our free guided video stretches to relieve your pain until you can make an appointment.