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What are the Different Types of Orthotics Inserts?

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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Images By: Nebari, Mast, n/a, Dirima, Icsnaps, Sandor Kacso, Gvictoria, n/a
  • Last Modified Date: 25 July 2018
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Orthotics are used to treat and correct problems with the feet. In general, three are two different categories of orthotics inserts: functional and accommodative. The type that’s used for a certain patient depends on the activities that will be performed, the problem that the orthotics are being used to solve and the footwear that will be worn. Functional orthotics inserts are used to support the foot and correct an issue with a person’s bio-mechanics. Accommodative orthotics are usually much softer and are used to cushion the foot to decrease mild pain that may be present.

Functional orthotics are designed to correct problems in the feet. For this reason they are typically made of a hard and durable material — usually a polymer. A functional orthotic can be used to correct a number of problems, depending on the shape. For example, over pronation — also called flat feet — is a common problem, and an orthotic can provide the extra support for the foot’s arch in order to prevent or help correct this condition. Certain types of deformity in the foot can also be corrected using functional orthotics inserts.

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If custom functional orthotics are built for a person, they will be unique to his or her feet and designed to treat the specific problem. If, on the other hand, over-the-counter orthotics are used, it’s important for the patient to get a type that addresses their exact foot condition. For example, flat feet orthotics inserts are used to provide extra support to the arch area, while other types are designed to correct such issues as tendinitis or even knee problems.

Accommodative orthotics, in comparison to functional orthotics, provide relatively little support for the feet and are often only used for mild conditions. An accommodative orthotic is usually used for comfort rather than to correct a bio-mechanical defect although they are sometimes used to help correct foot conditions in children. There are several different types, including night bars, splints and gait plates, which are all used to correct problems with the toe either being too far in or out when walking.

There are many different conditions that can be helped using orthotics inserts. The foot plays an important role in the kinetic chain of the entire lower body and problems can cause pain and injuries further up. For example, runner’s knee, shin splints and IT band syndrome may be caused by a collapsed foot arch that is placing excess strain on the body. It’s essential for medical orthotics to be fitted by a professional, otherwise they can cause more problems. Although custom orthotics are more expensive, they are much more likely to be effective.

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