Your feet are the platform on which your entire body rests when you stand, walk, run, or dance. So if your feet are unstable or misaligned, your whole body can go out of whack, too. If you have chronic knee or back pain or are prone to injuries that haven’t responded to other therapies, it may be time to see a podiatrist.
Led by board-certified foot and ankle surgeon Shay Fish, DPM, the team at South Texas Foot Surgeons, with offices in Kerrville and San Antonio, TX, know how vital foot stability is for your entire body. During a consultation, they examine your feet and legs and also watch how you move to determine if you have alignment problems in your feet.
Misaligned feet, fallen arches, and other foot problems can lead to such issues as:
Your feet are the first part of what podiatrists call the “kinetic chain,” which is how the joints in your legs and feet link together and affect one another. When your feet aren’t functioning optimally, you may compensate by putting more weight on one leg than the other or clenching muscles that cause your other joints to get out of alignment, too.
Many conditions can throw your kinetic base off kilter and cause chronic joint pain. During your evaluation, your podiatrist looks for foot conditions that affect the way you move and hold yourself, including:
If your foot bones are misaligned, your podiatrist may recommend custom-designed orthotics to straighten out your feet, support your arches, and optimize function.
You may not think about how unique your feet are, but the shape of your foot, where your arch falls or lifts, isn’t like anyone else’s foot. That’s why generic store-bought shoe inserts might be able to cushion some stress when you walk on hard surfaces but can’t fix your alignment problems.
When our podiatrists recommend custom-designed orthotics, they make physical and 3D impressions of your feet that they then send to a special orthotics lab. They also include recommendations that remedy problems such as overpronation or fallen arches so that your foot isn’t just molded to what it is now but to what it should be to function optimally.
Because your custom orthotics are a form of medicine for your feet, you need time to adjust to them. Your podiatrist may recommend just wearing them for an hour or two per day for the first day and gradually working up to full-time use.
Unlike shoe-bought inserts, orthotics aren’t devices you just put in your shoes and forget about until they wear out. Your podiatrist follows up and makes adjustments to be sure your custom orthotics correct your foot alignment and straighten your kinetic chain to resolve your chronic pain.