Leonardo da Vinci once said: “The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering, and a work of art.” They carry us throughout each and every day, but how much time and effort do we take in caring for them? Custom orthotics may be what you need to keep your feet healthy and help reduce falls.
The Facts on Falls
Falls are a major cause of injury and hospitalisation, with estimates suggesting that one in three people over the age of 65 experience a fall each year. These result in ankle, leg, and hip fractures and dislocations, as well as back and head injuries. However, falls like these may be prevented through proper care and consultation with an experienced podiatrist, who can prescribe custom orthotics.
Contributing Factors to Falls
There are a number of ways in which your feet can lead to a fall.
- Foot pain – Problems caused by foot pain can contribute to many of the fall statistics. These include bunions, claw toes, ingrown toenails, arch pain, heel pain, lower limb pain, and alignment issues.
- Muscle weakness in the legs – As we age, our muscles weaken. Older people with weak muscles are more likely to fall than those who maintain good muscle strength, as well as flexibility and endurance.
- Balance and gait – Foot posture, nerve sensation, balance, and gait all have a huge impact on your wellbeing as you age. If you have low arches, or your feet roll inwards, your leg muscles are required to do more work to keep you balanced. Foot posture should be assessed in everybody over 60 years of age.
- Wearing unsafe footwear – Poor footwear choices can increase the chance of falling. Backless shoes and slippers, high-heeled shoes, and shoes with smooth leather soles are examples of unsafe footwear
that could cause a fall.
“Custom orthotics may be what you need to keep your feet healthy and help reduce falls.”
What are Orthotics?
Orthotics are shoe-insertable supports that are prescribed by a podiatrist to treat a range of foot and balance conditions. Custommade orthotics are far superior to over-the-counter varieties, as everyone’s feet are unique, and have to fit perfectly to your individual specifications.
Finding the Right Fit
Buying spectacles from a chemist to help with reading or driving may provide short-term relief, but they don’t offer corrective support. 3D scanning technology allows podiatrists to scan your feet and produce a foot orthotic that matches the contours and structures of your feet exactly. Unlike off-the-shelf options, this technology enables podiatrists to design orthotics that not only suit your exact foot requirements but may help with your specific medical condition.
Being custom-made, the orthotics can be made to fit a variety of footwear types, including runners, work shoes, high-heels, and even sandals. The decision over whether to use EVA or 3D-manufactured will depend on what is best for your feet, activity level, and type of footwear. The new 3D-printed orthotics are lighter, thinner, and more flexible compared to traditional over-the-counter insoles. They can also be designed to include a flexion zone, which allows the orthotic to flex when performing high-impact sports.
The next time you visit your podiatrist, ask if you are wearing the right footwear. You may need custom-made orthotics to fit your shoes and provide that extra bit of comfort.
Courtesy My FootDr