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Posts for tag: accommodative orthotics

Limb length discrepancy. You may think you know what it is just based on the name, but there is more to this condition than meets the eye. Would it surprise you if I said up to 95% of the population may have a difference in leg length?1 For most people, the difference is not enough to interfere with healthy motion and so it goes unnoticed. For others, there are simple podiatric solutions for getting you back on even ground.

 

The two major types of LLD are structural and functional. Structural LLD occurs when there is a measurable difference in the corresponding bones of each leg, either femur, fibula, or tibia, creating an uneven gait. Patients may be born with this structural abnormality or it could result from bone trauma or hip and knee replacements.

 

READ MORE: Joint Replacements and LLD

 

 

Functional LLD occurs when the bones are of equal length, but a muscular or functional imbalance in the feet, legs, hips, or back causes an apparent difference in length. Often this presents alongside structural LLD cases. Differences in functional length can also occur from an unnatural curvature of the spine pulling one hip higher than the other.

 

Humans aren’t made symmetrically, but differences of 5mm or less (about 1/4 of an inch) rarely bother people enough to seek treatment and many of them will not notice at all. Differences over 5mm can cause uneven gait, making it difficult to exercise. Foot complications such as tendonitis and plantar fasciitis may develop from the strain of improper function. All of this will result in leg, hip, and back pain.

 

Luckily, most cases of LLD can be solved with shoe lifts, either placed in the shoe under the heel or mounted directly to the shoe sole. Your degree of discrepancy will determine which solution is right for you. There’s no reason to live life with the pain of LLD. Talk to your podiatrist today to keep you healthy and active.

Last week we talked about Functional Orthotics, which are designed to align your foot so it functions in an efficient and healthy motion. Accommodative orthotics are somewhat different, so let’s take a look…

Accommodative orthotics do exactly what they say, they accommodate the foot as it is rather than changing it. Some foot deformities are considered “rigid”, meaning they are something we have to work around, not correct. Examples of these include high arches, flat feet, and diabetic ulcerations. These orthotics allow for pressure alleviation on sensitive areas by redistributing body weight and provide support to decrease pain.

Just like functional orthotics, these are custom molded in our office and will arrive back within a week or so. The materials used for accommodative orthotics vary between plastic, EVA, multi-cork, neoprene, or even viscoelastic gel. If you are in need of an accommodative orthotic, it’s very important that this be custom molded to you. Use of an over-the-counter functional orthotic when you really need an accommodative orthotic can actually do more harm than good.

I will be the first to admit that I am a proud person and sometimes have trouble asking for help when I need it. I’m sure you know people who are like this or maybe you are one yourself, but you may not realize that almost everyone takes this same attitude toward their foot health. Sometimes our feet need a helping hand or in a lot of cases a helping orthotic. Orthotics come in many varieties, but two terms you will hear are “functional” orthotics and “accommodative” orthotics. For today, we are going to look at functional orthotics.

A functional orthotic is exactly what it sounds like; the orthotic helps your foot function in a normal fashion. Not many people have a perfect foot strike. That means that most of us, often without our knowledge, don’t walk perfectly upright with an even distribution of weight around the foot. Issues like these can lead to all sorts of ailments such as flat feet, high arches, bunions, plantar fasciitis, and neuromas. If you have one of these conditions, your podiatrist may recommend a custom molded orthotic.

Let’s talk for a short second about custom versus generic orthotics. Whenever consumers hear the word “custom” they automatically associate it with “expensive”. Sadly, this is often true. The FAAWC carries a wide variety of generic orthotics and we will always steer you toward that option first if we can. Not all foot problems can be helped with something directly off the shelf, but if yours can, we can help you pick out the best size and shape for you and your problems.

The whole idea behind a functional orthotic is that it places your foot in a more natural position where the tendons and muscles and ligaments are aligned for maximum efficiency and comfort. If you have a high arch, the orthotic will fill in the gaps and help your foot strike the ground evenly. Do you overpronate? An orthotic can help turn your foot to the correct positioning and avoid uncomfortable things like bunions. Functional orthotics are designed to make your foot act exactly as it should under ideal circumstances. And after all, don’t we all want to perform at our best?

The molding process is easy; all you have to do is stand up in a box filled with blue foam and your exact foot map will be created. Most custom orthotics will arrive within a week, which means you will be on your way to better foot health in no time. Isn’t that what we all want in the end?

Stay tuned next week to hear about accommodative orthotics!