Before you buy shoes, think again

A well-made, custom footbed, called an orthotic or arch support, helps support the three arches of the foot to alleviate pressure, absorb shock, and align the ankles, knees and hips.

by Peg Mitchel — 

How many pairs of shoes have you bought because you hoped this or that pair might relieve your foot pain or provide all-day comfort? How many pairs of shoes never lived up to your expectations and now sit in the back of your closet?

Many of us have experienced varying degrees of discomfort in our feet, shins, knees and back at one point or another. We may have tried all kinds of shoes and endless over-the-counter products like gel cushions, hoping to find something that really works, but nothing has made a significant difference.

Keep in mind that the foot contains 28 bones, four layers of muscle, over 100 ligaments and is designed to adapt to varying terrain (dirt, grass, sand, rocks, etc.). However, in our industrialized world, the earth is now covered in concrete and asphalt, and the wearing of shoes is crucial to protect our feet. Today, chronic foot issues are widespread and are primarily the result of walking on these smooth, unyielding, man-made surfaces.

The combination of inappropriate footwear for your foot type and ill-fitting shoes, along with the wear and tear our feet and bodies endure with each step, can create myriad injuries and ongoing discomfort. If visits to your podiatrist or orthopedist have not adequately helped, you may want to pay a visit to a certified pedorthist to find out how custom footbeds may help.

A certified pedorthist is trained in shoe fitting, shoe construction, custom footbed fabrication, lower-extremity anatomy, pathology recognition and gait analysis. A certified pedorthist understands the importance of picking out the right shoe for your foot type, discovering and diagnosing problems, and knows how to combine the features of that shoe with a custom-made footbed.

A well-made, custom footbed, sometimes called an orthotic or arch support, helps support the three arches of the foot to alleviate pressure, absorb shock, and align the ankles, knees and hips. Many other specific steps can be taken to customize footbeds to address your particular problem, and there are different types of footbeds available, depending on what type of shoes you are wearing. Most custom footbeds range in price from $250 to $400 per pair and will last several years.

Whether you suffer from arch pain, shin splints, forefoot pain, arthritis, diabetes, plantar fascitis, posterior tibial tendonitis or other debilitating foot-related discomfort, a certified pedorthist can help troubleshoot the problem and find a solution.

If you are interested in learning more about pedorthics, visit: www.pedorthics.org.

 

Peg Mitchel, a former ballet dancer, has a degree in exercise science and is certified in pedorthics from Rosalind Franklin University. 602-476-9919 or p.mitchel@esoles.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 2, April/May 2008.

 

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