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Bloomington (812) 333-4422
Bedford (812) 277-1000
Washington (812) 254-2911


Do I Really Need Custom Orthotics?

custom orthotics

We get it. We’re all on the lookout to save a few bucks where we can. The off-brand cereal that tastes just as good for half the cost. The barely-used designer jacket that pops up at the local thrift store. That comfy chair that granddad doesn’t want any more. All great ways to get deluxe quality at bargain prices.

So when you’re facing a rack of slick-looking “orthotics” at the pharmacy—maybe even next to a foot pressure monitor promising a “custom fit”—it’s natural to wonder whether you really need to get a pair of custom orthotics from a podiatrist. Couldn’t you just get by on a cheaper, mass-produced insert?

Truthfully, only a foot expert can answer that question fully. But unlike “off-brand” food products or gently used clothes and furniture, prefabricated orthotics and custom orthotics are not just cheaper versions of the same basic tool. There is a significant gap between what each item can realistically achieve.

To start, custom orthotics are made to fit your feet exactly. Even if you stand on a testing kiosk and a computer tells you which “custom fit” you need, the truth is that store-bought insoles just aren’t in the same league. The best you will get is an approximate fit. This may provide some moderate relief from the extra cushioning and arch support, but for more serious foot pain you’ll almost certainly notice the difference.

Custom orthotics, unlike regular inserts, are meant to treat specific medical conditions. At your appointment, your foot specialist with carefully examine your feet and arrive at a diagnosis. We’ll also measure your feet using a scan or mold in order to create a precise fit. The type of orthotics, materials used, and other features can be selected based on the specific needs revealed during your examination. And of course, when your completed orthotics arrive, we can make a few final adjustments as necessary to ensure a perfect match.

Custom orthotics are also much more durable than generic inserts, so in addition to better performance, they also prove the better financial value over the long run. They’re a little more expensive up front, but they work better, you won’t have to replace them as often, and they can often be repaired or adjusted rather than junked when materials wear down or your needs change.

So, do you really need those custom orthotics? Again, it’s impossible to say without an evaluation. It’s possible that ordinary inserts—despite their limitations—may provide acceptable relief for your condition. This is more likely to be the case if your pain is milder, or more temporary. However, in a lot of cases, the custom orthotics really will perform much better, and be the better choice by most if not all measures.

Ready to find relief for your foot and ankle pain? Give Kevin J. Powers, DPM in Bloomington, IN a call today at (812) 333-4422.

Causes of Foot Drop: Why Your Feet Are Flopping

Potential Causes of Foot DropIn just a couple of months we will be thinking about everything Christmas-related. In fact, it won’t be too long before the shelves in stores are stocked with red and green—seems to happen earlier every year! The Christmas season may send shivers down your spine as you anticipate hanging lights and the frustration of what happens when even one section has a problem—one burnt light and they all go out. In a similar way, when a nerve in your body has a problem, the effect can be widespread. This is the case with a condition called foot drop in which a nerve injury affects your ability to move your foot and ankle.

Foot drop is also called peroneal nerve injury. The peroneal nerves branch out from the sciatic nerve and supply sensation to the front and side of your legs and the top of your feet. They also supply the movement necessary to lift your toes and ankle upward—when these nerves are injured, the result is an inability to do exactly that. Further symptoms of a peroneal nerve injury include weakness, pain, numbness on the top of your foot or on your shin, and loss of function. When a patient is unable to lift the front part of the foot, it is common to see a high stepping walk, which is also called steppage gait—this is a natural response during walking. This condition can affect anyone at any age and there are several contributing factors, which include injury to the knee, regularly crossing your legs, joint dislocation or fracture, wearing high boots, having a tight plaster cast on your lower leg, and underlying disease such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. Other causes of drop foot include sprained ankle and knee joint replacement.

We have several ways we can treat foot drop so you feel more stable when you walk and have no discomfort in your foot. We may use custom orthotics, foot splints, braces, and physical therapy to maximize your mobility. Contact Kevin J. Powers, DPM for further information or treatment. Dr. Powers is the only foot specialist who has special training and certification to perform drop foot surgery–just see what our patients have to say on our testimonials page. He is also a Fellow of the Association Of Extremity Nerve Surgeons and has had microsurgical training by the Mayo Clinic. You can reach our office in Bloomington, IN, by calling (812) 333-4422 or contact us through our website.

Shoes For Bunions: Search for Comfort

The fall season is a time when the fashion scene comes alive. The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week takes place in several different countries throughout the fall and showcases the latest from the time-honored and up-and-coming designers. Shoes are always a hot topic, but there often is no thought given to comfort—only what will grab attention on the runway. If you have bunions, sacrificing comfort for fashion may have you hobbling in pain at the end of the day. The right kind of shoes for bunions will not only keep your feet happy during the day, but also help prevent the problem from getting worse.

Whether your bunion problem is at the beginning stages, or you have a nasty, painful bump protruding out of the side of your foot, what you wear on your feet is crucial. Bunions typically develop due to a faulty foot structure, and you may not be able to prevent them from eventually making their presence known. You can, however, delay their progression, and a big factor is the footwear you choose. Ladies, unfortunately those tight, pointy high heels are simply not going to be friendly to your bunion-prone feet. This type of shoe only forces your toes into an unnatural, awkward position, which will encourage the big toe to lean inward even further and make the bump even bigger.

Purchase shoes for the larger foot if your feet are different sizes, and go shopping later in the day when your feet are biggest. Whether you need a narrow shoe or a wider style, don’t settle until you find one that really fits your feet well. Look for a pair with a wide, deep toe box and made of a stretchable material. Custom orthotics and bunion pads can also offer cushioning and support, so you’ll need to find shoes with room to accommodate these if you are going to wear them.

Comfort and support is important in shoes for bunions. If you are struggling with pain or can’t find the right pair of shoes, contact Kevin J. Powers, DPM for help. You can reach our office in Bloomington, IN by calling (812) 333-4422.

Photo Credit: Marin via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Choosing Orthotics or Inserts for Your Feet

Life is full of choices: what to put on your plate in the buffet line, what movie to watch when you are at the theater. The hard part of making choices is when it involves something that you are unfamiliar with, or when you don’t know what is best. What toothpaste should you use? Which shampoo is best? If you need help for foot pain, should you use orthotics or inserts? We can definitely help you figure out the last one.Custom orthotics help your feet!

If you have been living with painful feet, it is possible you have stood in the drugstore in front of a wall of inserts and scratched your head trying to choose the best one. These shoe inserts that you can get at any pharmacy are pre-packaged types that you slip inside your shoes. Several kinds are available depending on what sort of pain you are experiencing and where you need extra support.

They are usually “one size fits all,” but they can provide some help in alleviating discomfort. If you have flat feet they can support your arch with extra cushioning and stabilization. The fat pad on your heel can thin over time, but an insert can provide that extra padding to keep your feet comfortable. They may be okay for alleviating some symptoms on a day-to-day basis, but you can’t count on them to fix long-term problems or biomechanical issues with your feet.

Custom orthotics are a cut above the typical store-bought kind, as they are prescription inserts that are specially made for your feet. Using a mold or digital technology, they are crafted to your foot contours to provide support, stability and cushioning where needed. Some control motion, and others function just to boost support.

In our office, bursitis, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, bunions, diabetic foot ulcers, and heel pain are often helped with the use of custom orthotics. Contact Kevin J. Powers, DPM if you have questions and would like to see if orthotics can help you. Call our office in Bloomington, IN at (812) 333-4422.

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