Custom shoe inserts (clinically known as orthotics) can be a great tool to fix issues with gait abnormalities such as over-pronation or over-supination of the foot. Many chronic aches and pains in the feet resolve rather quickly with the use of non-invasive shoe inserts. Here in the office, we custom-fit patients with orthotics for a myriad of conditions, and their lives are infinitely better for it. Sometimes we come across patients who just really don’t want to wear orthotics long-term for various reasons; maybe they spend a lot of time on the beach or in yoga class; maybe they prefer to wear sandals or open-heel shoes that don’t accommodate the inserts. Whatever the case may be, we have a few tips for weaning off orthotics that may work for your situation.
Custom orthotics can serve as a first step for addressing a wide range of foot and ankle injuries at many podiatry offices. Naturally, your podiatrist will want to start with the least invasive treatment method that could be successful in treating and addressing your injury or ailment. This makes custom orthotics a go-to solution for many patients.
But athletes have some additional and unique concerns that must be taken into consideration. At The Center For Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine, we are not only NYC podiatrists; we are sports medicine physicians too. We understand total body biomechanics and we are very aware of how a foot-related treatment can have a much broader impact, affecting other structures such as the the ankles, legs, back and neck. Former Chicago White Sox infielder Brett Lawrie recently highlighted what happens when medical professionals do not take these complexities into consideration when prescribing treatment, including a seemingly straightforward treatment option such as custom orthotics.
Cushioned shoe inserts continue to be popular among consumers with foot pain, with brands like Dr. Scholls, Spenco, Sof Sole, and New Balance flying off the shelves. One would logically assume that a little extra padding to the sole could only help reduce the pressure our feet face everyday. But is there any evidence these products work? Is it possible they could actually do us more harm than good? Australian researchers published new findings from a meta-analysis review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
If you’ve been following our blog, you know by now that we support the use of orthotic shoe inserts to non-surgically improve the lives of people suffering from foot pain. Our NYC center’s founder, Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, has personally worked with SOLS to help the team develop one of the most affordable, effective custom orthotics on the market. That said, we also believe custom orthotics are not suitable for every individual or every injury, and we do agree with a recent Medscape article suggesting orthotics are often overprescribed.
The best orthotics aren’t churned out of a vending machine: they’re custom-made to fit the curves and subtle nuances of your particular feet. They can be prescribed for issues like heel pain, arch pain, tendinitis, flat feet, high arches, limb length discrepancy, metatarsalgia, sesamoiditis, and arthritis. They must be worn at all times, but the benefit is that orthotics offer a non-invasive way to resolve many common foot-related aches and pains. If you’re a candidate for custom insoles, you may be wondering: will this one pair get me by, or will I have to get my orthotics replaced or refurbished over time?
The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine is no stranger to the SOLS orthotics brand. Our very own Dr. Josef Geldwert DPM was on the medical advisory board, sharing his 40+ years of experience in podiatry to help the team create the most ergonomically sound, custom-fit shoe insoles. Unlike traditional insoles, the SOLS brand are manufactured more quickly and designed for the individual using computer technology and 3-D printing, rather than older plaster casting methods that are not only messy but cumbersome, time-consuming, and expensive to make. The designs come in a variety of cool colors and designs to meet modern standards for further personalization. The company made news again last month when they announced their plans to sell directly to consumers.
Many times patients come to The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine seeking surgery, specifically. What they’re really looking for is an end to their suffering as soon as possible. However, in most cases, surgery isn’t truly “a quick fix” because it involves a lengthy recovery time and may involve the risk of complications, which delays healing even further. The good news is that we treat serious foot problems like bunions, plantar fasciitis, hammertoes, and nerve pain with a high degree of success using nonsurgical foot treatments.
Custom orthotics have withstood a lot of flack over the years. The New York Times has reported that “Shoe inserts or orthotics may be helpful as a short-term solution, preventing injuries in some athletes — but it is not clear how.”1http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/22/fashion/thursdaystyles/22Fitness.html?pagewanted=allThe Chicago Tribune reported on a study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine that implied store-bought orthotics may be just as effective as custom orthotics from the podiatrist.2http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-03-30/a-z/sc-health-0330-orthotics-20110330_1_orthotics-physical-therapist-foot-pain Barefoot running enthusiasts would go so far as to say orthotics actually “weaken the foot” and are rarely ever needed.3http://www.thebarefootrunners.org/threads/are-orthotics-really-ever-necessary-by-dr-stephen-gangemi-a-k-a-the-sock-doc.5689/
Despite what naysayers may say, The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC has seen custom orthotics work wonders for certain types of patients — particularly athletes who are recovering from an Achilles tendon injury. The importance of orthotics can be plainly seen in the recent story of a Washington Redskins player who took to Twitter to find his lost insoles.4http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/13410635/deangelo-hall-washington-redskins-getting-cleat-insert-back-search
Where do you spend your evenings after work? Most people would never dream of saying, “At the orthotics store!” Yet, SOLS, a new brand of 3-D custom shoe inserts, is revamping the industry image for the orthopedic device with “Martini Mondays,” live DJ sessions, and candlelight yoga classes at their NY shop in Bowery. “We are trying to make orthotics sexy,” explains VP of Marketing Joy Altimare. “We’re not just an orthotics company, we’re a lifestyle brand.” The Center for Podiatric Care and Sport Medicine has been working with SOLS for more than a year. Our very own Dr. Josef J. Geldwert serves as a biomechanics advisor to the company.
According to a new Australian study in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, increased shoe depth reduces disabling foot pain and improves function for adults over age 65. The study, which surveyed 120 seniors over a four-month period, found that individuals wearing shoes with deeper footbeds scored 11 points better for pain and 10 points better for function than those in regular shoes — a “significant” difference, say researchers.
The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City treats many seniors for a number of conditions, including acute and chronic foot pain. Helping patients choose the right footwear is a huge part of long-term care for common foot issues and reduced mobility.
“I am so grateful for having had Dr. Geldwert perform bunion surgery on both of my feet. I have complete confidence in him and continue to see him for other sports related injuries. I was cautious about having surgery for the first time, but his knowledge, patience, and skill made me completely comfortable in trusting him. And I couldn’t be any happier with the results!! When anything else feels wrong with my feet, I love that I now know to go immediately to him. He is my top choice for anyone searching for the best foot fixer/surgeon/sports doctor in NYC! Thank you, Dr. Geldwert!!!”
– J. M., Manhattan, NY
Manhattan Office 111 East 88th Street New York, NY 10128 (212) 996-1900 See map here
Westchester Office 10 Mitchell Place Suite 105 White Plains, NY 10601 (914) 328-3400 See map here
Manhattan Orthopedic and Sports Medicine 57 West 57th Street New York, NY 10019 (212) 996-1900 See map here
Dr. Josef J. Geldwert DPM, Dr. Katherine Lai DPM, Dr. Ryan Minara, DPM, and Dr. Mariola Rivera DPM serving Westchester County, White Plains, Ardsley, Bronxville, Harrison NY, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Rye, Scarsdale, Rye Brook, Chappaqua, and the surrounding area.
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