Unlike the generic foot inserts you may find at the pharmacy, custom orthotics are medical-grade prescription podiatric devices. While they do help eliminate pain and discomfort, they can also help treat foot conditions, correct structural abnormalities, and improve the function of your foot.
Our team of specialists at Manhattan Podiatry Associates, PC, offers two types of orthotics — functional and accommodative — from our offices in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan. While all orthotics are custom-made to fit your anatomy, the specific type of orthotic you need depends on your symptoms, conditions, and goals.
In this article, we share more information about each type of orthotic and which one might be best for you.
What are functional orthotics?
Functional orthotics correct problems that affect the functionality (use) of your foot. These orthotics are often made of semi-rigid plastic or graphite. Because they’re firmer, they can support your foot in specific positions to help address any abnormal motion.
When to consider functional orthotics
To put it simply, functional orthotics help your feet function better. So, you might benefit from functional orthotics if you have:
- Gait (stride) issues
- Pronation or supination
- Foot pain related to tendonitis
- Ankle pain due to misalignment
Functional orthotics can also help treat sports injuries that affect the biomechanics of your foot.
What are accommodative orthotics?
Unlike the more rigid functional orthotics, accommodative orthotics are softer and more flexible. They’re designed to provide comfort, and they treat foot problems caused by uneven weight distribution. Accommodative orthotics reduce plantar shear stress to help with plantar fasciitis, and they redistribute your weight away from trouble spots.
When to consider accommodative orthotics
You might benefit from accommodative orthotics if you have diabetic foot ulcers, arthritis (especially if you have painful bumps from rheumatoid arthritis), calluses, or corns.
Even if you don’t have a diabetic foot ulcer, you might still consider an accommodative orthotic if you're at risk for one. These orthotics can help prevent diabetic ulcers by preventing calluses and blisters — two conditions notorious for developing into ulcers.
What is the best type of orthotic for your foot pain?
The best type of orthotic for you depends on the issues you want to solve. Some conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can be treated with either accommodative or functional orthotics, depending on your symptoms.
For example, functional orthotics can help you if your rheumatoid arthritis causes abnormal foot motion and muscle pain, while accommodative orthotics may help address calluses related to rheumatoid arthritis.
In other words, the type of orthotic that’s best for you depends not only on the condition you have but also on the types of symptoms (including foot, ankle, or heel pain) you’re experiencing. Our team excels at matching the right type of orthotic with the right patient.
To get started with custom orthotics and to experience the relief you need, call one of our two convenient New York City locations or book an appointment online today.