Does The Ideal Foot Orthotic Exist?
The ideal foot orthotic: "Is there such a thing?" Perhaps not. Can one
orthoses meet the needs of all people? Of course not. Is there an orthoses
so ideal that can prevent foot problems? Possibly so, but this needs clarification.The
purpose of a foot orthoses is to limit the total range of motion available
to the foot as it coils to the ground (called "pronation"). Most prescription
orthoses do this. In fact many non prescription supports do it too. However,
the closer the orthoses is to the individuals own functional prescription,
the more comfortable it will be to get used to, to wear, and above all
else produce results. Foot orthoses unfortunately do not work like eye
glasses. You do not get an instant resolution. Some people do respond amazingly
quickly, although this is the minority. Some people are more complex for
whatever reason and they may take anywheres up to six months to begin to
respond favorably. The majority of people feel a 40-60% minimum average
improvement in their symptoms within 8 weeks, (this is not the same as
being cured). As time continues it is possible to feel like progress has
stopped or that the pain is coming back. As you wear the orthoses you begin
to absorb the prescription so you may start to feel the residual inflammation
and tension temporarily. If your orthoses are comfortable and you are able
to wear them most of the time they are working. The healing of biomechanical
inflammation takes time.
It can take 1-2 years for an orthoses to generate its maximum effective
range of healing. As your foot flexibility increases, the optimal position
of alignment will change (due to reduction in tension and inflammation).
Then regardless of your symptoms you need to get another prescription in
order to keep your feet and body working to their best efficiency. If your
orthoses work correctly you can expect 2-3 changes in your lifetime. Most
of these changes should occur in the first to the second year. The next
change should be very gradual over the next 4-6 years. After that changes
may or may not occur. If they do it will take a long time.
So to clarify the last question, "Is there an orthoses so ideal
as to prevent foot problems?" Depends on what problems we are looking to
prevent. If we are looking to prevent injuries from inadequate training,
excessive distances, increasing mileage too quickly, anatomical or functional
abnormalities, accidental sprains or strains , uneven surfaces, and aging,
probably not. But if there are biomechanical reasons for something to eventually
happen e.g structural (like a bunion or heel spur), then it is possible
to at least slow down the process and possibly prevent this from occurring
enough to not let it be a problem in your lifetime.