How Custom Orthotics Can Help With Lower Extremity Joint Pain

You might think that a long walk is good for you, and it is, but if you don't wear the right shoes or you have an abnormal gait, you might end up with pain in the joints of your lower extremities. Irregularities in the way your feet move when you walk can cause alignment problems and musculoskeletal stress throughout your lower body and into your back.

At Foot Care Specialists, Inc, in San Mateo and Half Moon Bay, California, David J. Kaplan, DPM, provides comprehensive gait analysis and custom orthotics to address a wide range of issues, including ankle, knee, and hip pain. 

Let's explore how an abnormal gait can cause joint pain and why custom orthotics might be an excellent solution for your pain.

What is gait?

Gait refers to the way your feet move when you walk. Your heel should strike the ground first, and your foot should roll across the arch to the ball of your feet and toes, where you push off for your next step. You might also hear this referred to as pronation

In normal pronation, your ankle and leg are perpendicular to the ground, and the pressure is consistent on both sides of your foot. However, if your ankle or foot rolls inward or outward when you take a step, it not only puts unbalanced pressure on your feet, but also stresses the muscles and connective tissue in your legs. 

High arches, flat feet, and ankle weakness can all contribute to abnormal pronation. 

How an abnormal gait causes joint pain

When your foot moves abnormally, it sets off irregularities throughout your kinetic chain. This clinical term covers the connection among the joints in your lower body and how they work together to help you move.   

As a result of these imbalances, you end up with painful conditions such as Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, iliotibial (IT) band irritation, and muscular imbalances that increase your risk of injury and strain-related pain. 

How custom orthotics can help

Custom orthotics are specially designed and manufactured shoe inserts. They provide extra support to your feet and can correct an abnormal gait by forcing your foot to move correctly. Orthotics can also relieve pain caused by fallen arches, diabetic ulcers, neuromas, and other foot issues that can interfere with your biomechanics.

Here at Foot Care Specialists, Inc, we offer several types of custom orthotics, including soft, rigid, and semi-rigid options. We carefully assess your gait and your feet and take molds to ensure that we prescribe the correct type of orthotic and that the inserts fit your feet perfectly. In most cases, your custom orthotics are ready for you to wear in just a week or two.

It can take a little time to get used to wearing your orthotics, but it's worth the effort. Before you know it, knee and hip pain will be a distant memory. If you have any questions or experience persistent pain while you wear your orthotics, give us a call for help.

Call Foot Care Specialists, Inc today, or make an appointment online if you live with pain in your feet, ankles, knees, or hips. We can identify any foot and ankle problems contributing to your pain and provide customized treatment to restore your quality of life. 

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