Many people have problems with their feet which makes standing, walking and running very difficult. Among these problems are heel spurs, hammer toes and being unbalanced because one leg is longer than the other. However, by wearing specially made orthotics these problems can be resolved. These are the three different types of orthotics that may be commonly prescribed by your podiatrist to help correct these issues.
Soft orthotics are used to provide comfort and support to feet that are very sore and painful. These are more commonly used for people who have diabetic ulcers, bunions or inflamed joints in the feet. The soft orthotics are made of soft, cushiony material that prevents the shoes from causing further irritation to the already irritated areas. These orthotics also absorb shock when a person is walking, running or jumping so that unnecessary pressure is not put on the painful areas of the feet.
Rigid orthotics are made of a harder, solid material. These are used to help control movement of and hold the foot in place to prevent injuries. They are usually placed near or around the foot joints below the ankle. Rigid Orthotics prevent sprains, strains and achiness that people who have weak ankles often suffer from. These are often worn by people who spend many long hours a day on their feet. Rigid orthotics are also worn by those who have one leg longer than the other to add height to the shorter side of their body so they can walk evenly and maintain balance.
The third type of orthotics that podiatrists often prescribe are semi-rigid orthotics. These orthotics serve the purpose of providing both control and protection of the foot. They are often worn by athletes who need to have added comfort and balance but also need to protect their feet from injuries. Semi-rigid orthotics are made of both firm and cushioned materials. They are also often used for young children who are flat footed or have toes that turn inward or outward instead of straight forward. The top layers of this type of orthotic is soft and cushiony and the bottom layer is firm.
Custom made orthotics have been used for many years to correct a wide variety of foot problems. They make standing, walking and running much more comfortable and those who wear them are able to perform these activities in a more closely to normal manner.