7 benefits of custom foot orthotics to nudge your feet in the right direction

7 Benefits Of Custom Foot Orthotics

Custom foot orthotics are much more than just set-and-forget devices for flat feet. 

You might already be convinced, a proud owner of one or more pairs of custom foot orthotics and enjoying all the benefits they bring to your life. Or, you might be a little sceptical of how something so light, small and simple can possibly help you.

That’s fair too.

So let’s dive into the what wearers of custom foot orthotics report are the reasons they start, and continue to use them.

Pain relief with custom foot orthotics 

When you have pain in your feet or ankles, everything you do is impacted.

  • Want to head to the shops? Ouch, your sore feet will tell you about it.
  • What about going for a run? Playing netball with the squad? Ouch again.
  • Even the basics, getting up for a bathroom trip in the middle of the night. You betcha your sore feet will pipe up reminding you that there is something going wrong.

Pain relief is one of the main reasons you become custom foot orthotic wearer in the first place. Foot pain is no-ones idea of a good time so if it’s possible to reduce your symptoms by taking the load away from over worked foot structures it’s a great reason to start.

With custom-made foot orthoses your podiatrist will assess and advise you if you can expect pain relief from your orthoses. At PridePlus Health we’ll even guarantee it if we believe that an orthotic will help you relieve pain.

Save time with custom foot orthoses

Your time is precious, and any tool that can give you time back is a winner our book.

Custom foot orthoses work by pushing on your foot, changing the direction and magnitude of the way the ground pushes you around. Every time you take a step, you can change that pushing.

orthotics ground reaction force
An orthotic converts the Ground Reaction Force (GRF) into a nudge in the right direction – an Orthotic Reaction Force (ORF)

A quick explanation how this works without going too deep into the sexy physics side of things.

Let’s take the plantar fascia for example. Each step it gets pulled and twisted by the ground pushing on your feet and your muscles trying to control that movement. Now, with an appropriately prescribed custom-made foot orthoses you can use each step to push back differently. Supporting your plantar fascia so there’s less stretch or less twist.

A simple nudge on the foot every single step compounds to big changes as you take more and more steps.

How does this save you time?

Without a custom foot orthotic you would require either strapping tape or stronger muscles to change that twisting. Strapping each morning is at least a minute – probably more. Over a year you lose more than 6 hours mucking about with tape. Not to mention the irritated skin on your feet from all that time being covered with sports tape.

Getting stronger also takes time. Even the most efficient home exercise program is going to take 10 – 20 minutes a couple of times per week.

If you’re time poor (let’s be honest, who isn’t?) having an orthotic provide that extra support will save you hours and hours. 

What would you use your extra time for?

Foot orthotics save you money

Your accountant approves the use of custom foot orthoses.

You may have been told that custom foot orthoses are very expensive, prohibitively so for everyone except the 1%. Not anymore.

The cost of custom-made foot orthoses has come down in recent years with the move to 3D laser scanning and 3D printing. By digitising what was previously an analogue process, full of plaster of Paris, glue and dangerous heat moulds; the cost of custom foot orthoses is less than it was 10 years ago. There’s not many products that can make that claim.

And when you get a pair of custom foot orthotics, not only are they less expensive on day one, you’ll also gain the benefit of a device that can last you up to 10 years. On a cost per wear basis you’re absolutely out in front with the value you’ll obtain from your orthotic.

If you’d like a free quote on what a pair of custom foot orthoses will cost you can get yours here in less than 5 minutes.

Shoes are more comfortable

Ever get caught out going for a longer than expected walk in your non-walking shoes?

How’d your feet feel after? Not good?

When you and your podiatrist prescribe and fit your orthotic into certain shoes you’ll be able to spend more time or be more active in those shoes. This is due to orthotics being able to add support to certain areas, for example gently pushing on the inside of your foot to help with arch pain.

Reduce or accommodate a foot deformity

No one likes to think of their foot as being deformed, yet the appearance of our feet is important to us.

Toes that pop up and sit high, think of a hammer toe or a toe that gets corns on the top can be treated with certain modifications and styles of foot orthoses. 

Flexible foot deformities can be managed so that your feet feel comfortable and corns are less likely to come back. Your podiatrist will advise if this is possible for your feet.

Heal diabetic foot ulcers with custom foot orthoses

Diabetic foot ulcers are as serious as it gets when it comes to foot health. 

This is a dark statistic, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Within 3 years of an amputation from diabetes related complications there’s a good chance of another amputation. Within 5 years, there’s a high chance of death. As amputations are preceded by ulceration anything that can prevent or heal diabetes foot ulcers before they lead to amputations is crucial.

Custom foot orthoses can be prescribed to redistribute the pressure away from a diabetic foot ulcer or even a lesion like a corn or callus. This can allow the ulcer to heal or the pressure lesion to be managed safely.

Can your custom foot orthotic help improve performance?

Are you looking to ride faster, run further, miss less games due to injury?

For those of us who are keen on our athletic endeavours the holy grail is further, faster and winning flags (or medals, ribbons and cups). We’re now starting to have more and more evidence that custom foot orthoses have a bigger role than just injury treatment. 

We’re starting to see literature coming out supporting the effects of foot orthoses improving the way a foot functions in sport. A couple of prime example of this is in action is cycling and distance running.

Cyclists require their bodies to be effective and efficient in transferring power from their muscles to the bike. Any movement of the foot inside a cycling shoe is going to be wasted energy. Custom foot orthoses for cycling can stiffen the foot to allow maximal power transfer to the pedals.

Distance running has been shaken up by “super shoes” which have a combination of modern foams in the sole as well as onboard carbon fibre plates – a form of an orthotic. Nike famously developed the first of these shoes which all major brands now have in their armoury. On testing they were shown to improve running economy by 4%.

While this may not sound like much, a 4% improvement in running times is the difference between gold and outside the top 20 in most long distance races. 

While we’re yet to have large studies that show the addition of a custom foot orthotic to your running shoe leads to those 4% improvements, the first principals physics are sound and warrants further investigation.

Another curiousity relating to orthotics and sport. In basketball improved free throw shooting percentage has been linked to orthotic use.

Custom orthotics can help, but they’re not magic wands

While you now know 7 ways that you can benefit from custom foot orthotics it’s worth remembering that they are not magic.

You foot orthotic will be prescribed for you, your needs, your goals and your feet. If you suffer with plantar fasciitis and your podiatrist identifies that a custom foot orthotic will help – we’ll stand by you with our orthotic guarantee.

But, real talk, they can’t do everything, all of the time.

A custom foot orthotic won’t make a flat foot arched again. No orthotic device can change your foot type. The pair of shoes you wear with your orthotics matters. Some dress shoes and orthotics work well together. Other’s do not.

You and your podiatrist will determine what activity levels are appropriate for your orthotic use. For some this means you need to wear your insoles at all times. For others just in certain shoes or for certain activities (for example only while running or just during footy).

About The Author

tim mulholland podiatrist melbourne and pascoe vale

Podiatrist Tim Mulholland wants you to live your best life on your feet. If that means you benefit from wearing an orthotic he’ll happily help you out. For those who don’t need or won’t benefit from a custom foot orthotic, you’ll be confident in your success as Tim and his team of podiatrists help you achieve your goals with holistic treatment plans.

Keen to learn more about custom foot orthotics

If you’re in need of foot orthotics you can book online at any of our clinics.