“Now that my feet feel better, I can get rid of my orthotics, right Doc?” Well, not so fast there.
We hear this question fairly regularly at our Seattle foot and ankle clinic and the answer is simple. “No.” Why not, you may ask. Think of it this way. If you’re having headaches that you believe are related to vision problems and you visit your ophthalmologist who prescribes a new pair of glasses for you. You wear the glasses for a couple of weeks and begin to feel better. Are you now going to stop wearing your glasses just because the headaches are gone? Not likely.
The same principle is at work when you are advised to wear prescription orthotics to relieve a painful foot condition. Even though you’ve begun to feel better, the underlying condition remains; just as your vision still needs correction, so do your feet.
The doctors at the Foot & Ankle Center of Washington, Dr. Larry Huppin and Dr. Doug Hale, are more than just local podiatrists. In fact, both Dr. Huppin and Dr. Hale have been named Seattle’s top doctors multiple times, and possess national reputations as experts in foot biomechanics and custom foot orthotics.
One of the most common causes of foot pain, especially of chronic foot pain, is biomechanical dysfunction. In simple terms, this means that your feet and ankles are not working together properly and are likely out of alignment when walking, running, and even standing. Just as the glasses mentioned above help to realign your vision, so do orthotics realign your feet and ankles to allow them to work together in harmony, as designed.
Why you need to keep wearing orthotics
Suppose that, for example, you came to us because you were experiencing ongoing heel and arch pain. After taking a complete history of your complaint, along with a thorough examination of your feet, we prescribed for you a pair of custom made and personally fitted orthotics. Now, after a few months, your feet are feeling much better, just as we had hoped. Because you feel so much better, you decide to stop wearing your orthotics and – sooner rather than later – the pain returns.
The reason for this is simple. The underlying condition, the cause of the pain in the first place, continues to persist – and will continue to persist without the continued use of your orthotics; which were put in place to correct the dysfunction that was causing the problem for you.
The most common causes of heel and arch pain are:
- plantar fasciitis
- plantar fibroma
- flat feet
- other causes of heel pain not related to plantar fasciitis
If you live in the Puget Sound area, and are suffering from ongoing foot pain, make an appointment with your Seattle podiatrist today at the Foot & Ankle Center of Washington.