Foot Orthotics: Use Them or Lose Them?
Foot orthotics have helped many people that I have worked with and I have seen the benefits of foot orthotics with discomfort ranging from mild to severe pain in the foot, legs hips and even the neck and shoulders.
The main problem that I have with foot orthotics is that they alleviate rather than eliminate pain. And people that use them tend to get very attached to their necessity. As a practitioner I am not a fixer and am not all that big on telling people what to do. I make suggestions. “If you change the way you walk and stand, you might well get relief from a lot of your pain”
People who get relief from foot orthotics invariably need them to facilitate the easing of their pain but it doesn’t really serve them to think that work is over once the insert goes into the shoe. If everyone who got orthotics spent some time thinking about what led them down the road towards pain it might begin to make sense to change the way they walk and stand.
Feet are fascinating appendages when it comes to the way that the individual brain thinks about them. The arches of the feet are built upon the tone of the muscles of the calves. While most people believe if they did a few hundred pushups each day, or a whole mess of bench presses, their upper body and biceps would change and develop muscles.
For whatever reason, most people with flat feet can’t seem to apply this same logic to the muscles of the feet and calves. They see their flat feet as something they are stuck with. Having helped numerous people develop sound arches from the flattest of feet, I can attest to the fact that it isn’t true.
The same goes for high arches. The body, including the feet, is highly malleable and barring nerve damage, it is amazing the changes that can be made to our structure.
Most people walk way too heavily on their heels. This is a recipe for disaster. For whatever reason, many people get away with this type of patterning and neither need foot orthotics or suffer pain as a result. But as I have written so many times before, poor body mechanics can often come back to haunt people much later in life when it might be too late to change them.
If you wear foot orthotics and appreciate what they have done for you it isn’t an absolute necessity to change. But if you were to change your body so that you no longer needed the foot orthotics you would be creating a host of other benefits as well. Just food for thought.