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Three Types of Orthotics

Orthotics are a popular therapy for a wide range of foot conditions. But that doesn’t mean they are a one-size-fits-all solution. 

At Precision Footcare in Midtown East, New York City, John Jurcisin, DPM, specializes in podiatric medicine, especially sports injuries and foot deformities, such as bunions and hammertoes. Unlike mass-produced, over-the-counter shoe inserts sold at drugstores, Dr. Jurcisin diagnoses the foot issue causing your symptoms and creates custom-made orthotics to correct your unique problem.

If you have foot issues, here’s how custom orthotics could help.

Using orthotics to correct function

Before digging into the different types of orthotics, you should have a basic understanding of how they work.

Your feet and ankles help support all of your body weight when you stand and move. So, when you have problems with your feet, it can throw off your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. The result? Pain, fatigue, and discomfort. And, just because these issues may start in your feet, that doesn’t mean your symptoms will stay there. In fact, even a seemingly small foot issue can lead to problems in your legs and back. 

Common foot conditions that orthotics can accommodate for include the following:

Dr. Jurcisin can determine the best orthotics for your individual needs by performing a thorough examination and reviewing your foot mechanics.

Finding the right orthotics for you

Custom-made orthotics are a far cry from the shoe inserts you can buy at the store. Dr. Jurcisin uses diagnostic methods, molds, or 3-D imaging to create customized orthotics.

Orthotics come in many shapes and sizes based on your foot. Some are full-shoe inserts, and others simply cup the heel of your foot. However, while each insert may be different, they typically come in three different materials.

1. Soft orthotics

Dr. Jurcisin may recommend soft or “accommodative” orthotics if you need extra cushioning because of tender or sore spots on your feet. These orthotics use soft, compressible materials and often have more bulk than other options to add plenty of cushioned support. 

Soft orthotics could be a great solution if you have medical issues, such as plantar fasciitis or diabetic foot ulcers.

2. Rigid orthotics

If you have foot problems that affect other parts of your body, such as your legs, thighs, or lower back, Dr. Jurcisin may suggest rigid or “functional” orthotics. These devices usually come in stiffer materials, such as plastic or carbon fiber, which can help control motion directly below your ankle joint.

These orthotics often work best in walking or dress shoes.

3. Semi-rigid orthotics

Sometimes, you may need the best of both worlds: soft and rigid. These orthotics combine layers of soft cushioning with rigid materials for reinforcement. Dr. Jurcisin often recommends these orthotics for children who have in- or out-toeing disorders or flat feet. However, these orthotics can also help athletes avoid pain while training and competing.

In many cases, custom-made orthotics can help correct foot problems and help you avoid more invasive treatments. But, they need to fit well and be worn properly to provide the best results.

To see if custom orthotics can help you, book an appointment online or over the phone with Precision Footcare today.

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