Custom-molded Foot Orthotics
and Gait Analysis

What are Foot Orthotics?

Foot orthotics are inserts for your shoes that allow you to maintain proper biomechanics and weight distribution while on your feet. Often problems can start in the feet and work their way up the body and can present as pain in the ankle, knee, and or back.

Why do we use them?

Uneven weight distribution can result in conditions such as Bunions, Plantar Faciitis, Achilles Tendonitis, Shin Splints, Knee or Hip pain, or even Low Back Pain. This can make certain activities such as walking, running, and standing difficult due to the pain.

What to expect at our office:

All of the physicians on staff at Progressive Physical Medicine are certified and well experienced in the examination and casting process of orthotics. Initially, the doctor will analyze your stance and gait cycle (the way you walk) in order to correct any imbalances you may have biomechanically. Next, your weight and the flexibility of your foot are taken into account so that the orthotic can be perfectly calibrated for your specific use. Finally, the doctors will cast a mold of your feet which is then sent to a medical foot orthotic manufacturer. Here, at PPM, you don't only have one option for style and/or color choice. The staff will help you find the proper orthotic that meets all your biomechanical and stylistic needs.

How the foot works during the Gait Cycle:

The foot is actually a complex machine that depends on all 26 bones to work in perfect harmony. When it works as designed, the foot is capable of remarkable things which all help insure not only pain-free health of the foot, but also all body parts up the biomechanical chain, including ankles, knees, hips and spine.

The foot unwinds to absorb shock as the heel strikes the ground, changes shape to accommodate to varied terrain, then winds back up to be a firm, propulsive lever to advance forward. There are two basic states of the foot: arch up (high arch) and arch down (collapsed arch).

The arch down state is important to absorb shock and adjust to uneven floor surfaces. But when it is overdone, the arch can't raise back up to its arched counterpart. About 90% of the population can't regain the arch-up position enough to have normal foot function. Assisted by gravity, body weight, muscle weakness and hard floors, the foot learns to unwind and flatten the arch ever closer to the ground, getting flatter with age. This can be called over-pronation, or described as flat, flexible feet.

The arch up state comes next, because that is what makes the foot a rigid lever for push off. The foot must wind back up inside to raise the arch and stiffen itself. If the arch stays down you have to propel yourself forward with a mushy foot. This is not only tiring because your muscles have to work harder, but it also leads to the common foot pains and deformities.

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