Orthotics Q & A

Q: What are orthotic inserts?

A: Orthotics are special inserts that go into your shoe to correct structural foot problems such as flat arches and foot, heel, and leg pain. Custom orthotics are also specifically made to fit the unique shape of your feet to provide cushioning, comfort, and support. They can also be removed and moved from one pair of shoes into another. The most common types of shoe inserts are:

  • Arch supports - designed to support the foot's natural arch.
  • Insoles - made of gel, foam, or plastic and slid inside the shoe to provide extra cushioning and support.
  • Heel liners/heel cups - provide extra cushioning in the heel region.

Q: What are prescription custom orthotics? 

A: Over-the-counter orthotics are generally a one-size-fits-all product. Custom prescription orthotics are specially created to the unique structure of your feet. They are designed to match the precise way that you move, cushioning, and supporting with each step. Orthotics are made after a podiatrist has conducted a complete evaluation of your feet, ankles, and legs so that the orthotic can accommodate your unique foot structure and pathology.

Prescription orthotics are divided into two categories:

  • Functional – These are created of a semi-rigid material like plastic or graphite. Functional orthotics are designed to control foot pain caused by abnormal motion. They can also be used to treat injuries such as shin splints or tendinitis.
  • Accommodative – this orthotic is softer and designed to provide additional cushioning and support. They can be used to treat diabetic foot ulcers, painful calluses on the bottom of the foot, and other conditions that cause discomfort like plantar fasciitis.

Q: Why should I see Dr. Erman for orthotics?

A: Dr. Erman use orthotics to treat a variety of foot problems. He will examine your feet and the way that you walk to evaluate how you stand and move. When possible, a computer analysis of your foot and gait will be used in order to design the custom inserts so that they meet your specific needs. Podiatrist-prescribed foot orthotics decrease foot pain and improve function. Dr. Erman offers custom-made orthotics for both children and adults which will accommodate specific shoe styles such as dress shoes, sneakers, cleats, and high heels.

Heel Pain Q & A

Q: What causes heel pain?

A: There are many causes for heel pain. They range from simple mechanical issues to complex metabolic diseases. One of the most common reasons for heel pain is faulty foot structure. For example, flat feet or high-arched feet, wearing non-supportive footwear on hard, flat surfaces, or even obesity can cause heel pain. Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, arthritis, or a stress fracture can all be contributing factors for heel pain. Because there are many different causes, it is recommended that you visit Dr. Erman so that he may properly evaluate your condition, diagnose its exact cause, and provide you the best treatment.

Q: What is plantar fasciitis?

A: The most common complaint for heel pain is plantar fasciitis, a condition that affects the bottom of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes. In this condition, the fascia first becomes irritated and then inflamed, resulting in heel pain. Morning pain and pain after periods of rest is characteristic and can progress to pain all the time. As the pain worsens, the heel can hurt even while not weight-bearing.

Q: What is the treatment for heel pain? 

A: Most people suffering from heel pain recover with conservative non-surgical treatments. Dr. Erman may use one or more of the following techniques for treating heel pain.

  • Plantar Fascia-Specific Stretching Techniques.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medication.
  • Physical therapy to calm the inflammatory process.
  • Recommended shoe gear (both dress and athletic) that we individually match to each patient’s foot type, body type, and activities.
  • Custom orthotic devices which are made to fit either your dress or athletic shoes to help distribute pressure across your feet more evenly and correct the underlying structural abnormalities.

In some cases, injection therapy may be used to help reduce the inflammation and relieve pain.

Flat Feet Q & A

Q: What are flat feet?

A: Pronation is a term used to describe the inward leaning motion of the foot and ankle bones towards the arch. The amount of pronation correlates with arch height. The more a person pronates, the flatter the arch will be. Many people who over-pronate do not experience any pain or discomfort. When flat feet become symptomatic, a thorough foot evaluation by Dr. Erman is recommended. 

Q: What is the treatment for flat feet? 

A: Treatment for symptomatic flatfeet includes topical and oral Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, taping and strapping, ice and massage therapy, passive and active physical therapy, and orthotics. Daily use of orthotics may keep flat feet from becoming painful.


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