You're walking through the mall and see a kiosk advertising "custom fit orthotics" and think to yourself, "Hmm, my feet hurt sometimes when I run or walk a lot. Maybe I should get some of these things!" But do you really need them, and if you actually do, is this sketchy little shack with a pushy salesperson the best place to get them? Today's blog will discuss how to know when it's time to get a good pair of orthotics and what to buy when it is time. While it can be a complicated process figuring out if an orthotic is right for you, we'll try to simplify it to a few simple steps!
Step 1: Look at and feel your feet!
Take off your shoes and socks and just look at your feet while sitting down. What do you see? Do your arches look extremely high or are there no arches at all and your feet look flat? Are there any other deformities in the foot like bunions or hammertoes? Move your toes, foot, ankle in every direction. Do any of those movements hurt or feel more difficult than others? Feel the sole of your foot. Any spots that feel extremely rough or tender to the touch compared to the rest of the foot? Get an idea of how your feet look, feel, and move! Compare the left foot to the right foot and try to notice if there are any differences side to side!
Now stand up! Find a mirror, stand in front of it barefoot with shorts on or roll up your pant legs, and look at your feet and ankles. Do any notice any differences in your feet from when you're sitting to when you're standing? Do the arches of your feet suddenly flatten out completely so your whole foot is on the ground or do they stay extremely high, or do any of the deformities you noticed while sitting suddenly get worse? Do your ankles suddenly feel unstable and your feet feel like they are rocking side to side, or do your ankles and feet seem to "lock-up" and feel stiffer? Do you have new or increased pain while weight-bearing?