Typically, we don’t really think about how our feet take steps when we walk. It’s just something we naturally do, like blinking or even breathing! However, when walking or running causes discomfort and difficulty enjoying activities, every step you take can be a cruel reminder that you’re in pain.
What’s Happening When You Walk
The way your foot hits the ground when you step is called pronation. Typically, the outside of your heel will hit first, then as your foot moves forward, it rolls in a bit to properly absorb the shock of impact and help you push off evenly with the front of your foot to complete your step. Problems can arise, however, if, for example, you don’t have a normal arch. Your foot may end up rolling too far inward, or not inward enough. As you can imagine, this can have a profound effect on not only your feet, but your ankles, lower legs, knees, and right on up.
The fact is, pronation problems are often at the source of many painful conditions, but guess what? Orthotics are often the source of relief! Keep in mind, though, that the type of orthotic you need depends on the type of pronation problem you have.
This occurs when your foot rolls too far inward, inhibiting it from absorbing shock efficiently and stabilizing your body—a surefire way to get stress fractures and shin splints! It also shifts your weight so that your big and second toes do the pushing off at the end of your gait making them more prone to injury. Those with flat feet are likely to overpronate.
Also known as supination, this is when your foot doesn’t roll inward enough during the gait cycle, forcing the outside of the foot to absorb most of the impact and causing the push off to be done by your smaller toes—another recipe for problems. This is often seen in those with high arches and tight Achilles tendons.
Orthotics can save the day!
The good news is, custom orthotics can help correct the alignment of your feet and provide arch support where you need it, as well as cushion and stability. Even better news? Sierra Foot & Ankle offers an on-site orthotic lab at their office in Carson City! That makes getting the help you need not only convenient, but also efficient!
We will assess your gait, determine what’s needed to correct your pronation problem, then create a pair of orthotics to meet your individual needs, custom-made for your unique feet.
Orthotics to correct abnormal biomechanics and pronation are referred to as functional, and are available in three types:
Rigid – these are made of hard plastic or carbon fiber and used to control motion.
Soft -- made of silicone or foam, these are typically best for those needing additional cushion and accommodation for deformities.
Semi-rigid -- Active individuals and athletes benefit from this type most as it provides both stability and comfort, made with a combination of soft, compressible materials and reinforced by rigid ones.
Which one is best for you? We can help you determine that! If you’re suffering from overpronation or supination, then step right up and give us a call! We’ll be happy to assess your feet and prescribe the type of orthotic that would fit your needs best so you can get the bounce back in your step—literally!
Call (888) 608-8406 to make an appointment at our Carson City podiatry office.