Orthotics for Pain on the Outside of the Knee

At our Seattlorthotics for knee paine Foot and Ankle Clinic, we treat many patients who suffer from knee problems with foot orthotics.  Medical literature indicates there are two knee conditions that have been shown to respond relatively well to foot orthotic therapy – patello-femoral pain syndrome (Runner’s Knee) and medial knee pain (inside of the the knee).

Yet there is little in the medical literature to support the use of orthotics to treat lateral knee pain. We do know that we can decrease force through the outside portion of the knee joint by using an orthotic with a particular type of wedge.

Recently a patient visited our office with a 10 year history of pain on the outside of his knee. After multiple work-ups of the knee, nothing was found to be wrong.  But whenever he ran for more than 20 minutes, he would develop pain.

Because the patient had traveled to see us from Wenatchee, I wanted to test whether or not he was likely to get pain relief from my orthotics. We applied a special taping to his foot with some specific wedges that would simulate the type of foot orthotic that is likely to help patients with lateral knee pain. Then we sent him out on a run.

He returned an hour later saying that he had run for more than 40 minutes without developing lateral knee pain – the first time in 10 years. Based on that information we proceeded to cast him for orthotics. We will mail them to him in eastern Washington and then he’ll come back to Seattle after he has worn them for a few weeks for a follow-up visit. Learn why our orthotics work better.

How do Orthotics Decrease Pain on the Outside of the Knee?

There is actually a lot of research on orthotics for pain on in the inside of the knee, but very little on orthotics for pain on the outside of the knee. The way they likely work, however, is to act to wedge open the outer portion of the knee joint. To accomplish this we add wedging under the inside portion of the foot, particularly at the heel.  The appropriate amount of wedging varies from person to person so we usually use temporary wedges first to determine what works best for a particular patient and once that is determined, we make the wedging permanent.

Whether you are from Western Washington, Eastern Washington, Portland or right here in the Seattle area, it is worth the trip to see us to ensure you get the best possible orthotics. We will always work to accommodate your schedule. Contact us today to make an appointment.

Dr. Larry Huppin
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