If youve pain in your knees or hips, you know how debilitating the pain can be.
But did you also know that tiny device you wear in your shoe can alleviate that pain, possibly even eliminate it?
The device is called an orthotic. Its usually an arch support or insole custom made to fit your feet and your needs that you wear in your shoe.
An orthotic created just for you can change the distribution of force through your leg (from ankle, to foot, up to your hip), which can change how the force thats applied to your hip and knee with every step you take is distributed.
Orthotics also can work as a cushion to reduce the force thats applied to your joints as you walk. In addition, orthotic can change your foots alignment, which will result in a change in the alignment of your knee and/or hip.
Have you noticed that your shoes tend to wear out on the inside of the heals as time goes by? That means your foot pronates (turns inward) as you walk. Or, do you see that your shoes heels tend to wear down on the outside? You supinate; your foot turns outward as you walk, which by the way is normal.
Most of people pronate or supinate as they walk, with the majority of us who do so walking a bit on the inside of our feet (pronation). These arent readily obvious to the untrained eye.
one way you can tell if you pronate or supinate is to check the soles of your shoes. Another test would be to stand normal and have someone try to put a finger underneath your arch. If you cant put a finger under the arch you are flatfooted and you mostly likely pronate. If you can put two fingers under the arch you have an high arched foot and you are most likely a supinator.
Excessive pronation will cause your knee and hip to bend inward thus putting abnormal pressure to the inside of your knee and outside of your hip. Excessive supination will do the opposite.
A well-made orthotic can help correct pronation and supination. Pronation and supination can cause hip and knee pain because they make your lower leg and knee rotate, causing pressure on the joints, which over time can cause pain. Orthotics help your feet hit the ground squarely, thus alleviating the rotation, the resultant pressure and the subsequent pain.
Your podiatrist more than likely will fashion an orthotic after examining your walking pattern, which we call it biomechanical examination and determining if an orthotic will be of help. Limb length discrepancy, pronation/supination, foot flexibility are amongst the most important measurements in this examination.
Your orthotics may be soft, semi-rigid, or rigid. Soft orthotics are best if your podiatrist determines that your knees and hips need some cushioning. Semi-rigid orthotics will give you more stability while still giving you support and some cushioning. Rigid orthotics will give you the most stability while with support.
It is also important what type of shoe you will be using the orthotics in. This will tell your doctor what type of orthotics you need.
Your orthotics, naturally, will feel a bit foreign in your shoes for a few days. If you find your orthotics are still uncomfortable after two or three weeks, check in with your podiatrist; your orthotics may need some adjusting. I recommend wearing your orthotics one hour the first day and increase by an hour each day.
If your knee or hip pain is worse after two or three weeks, you definitely need to check back with your podiatrist.
Copyright (c) 2009 Dr Alireza Khosroabady DPM
by: Dr Alireza Khosroabady DPMAbout the Author:Dr. Alireza Khosroabady is a Fellowship trained foot & ankle surgeon. He did his Surgical training in NY and his fellowship at the Rubin institute for Advanced Orthopedics/International Center for Limb Lengthening at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore with world renowned Orthopedic Surgeons. He is practicing in LA, CA . More information @ http://www.fixmyfoot.com you can also request his free book.