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Guide to Choosing Orthotics

March 8, 2016

Many multiple sclerosis patients will have problems staying stable while walking. Orthotics are lightweight inserts that go right inside the shoe. Their purpose is to give the foot better stability and in turn ease fatigue. They can also help brace the feet for patients who suffer from spasticity.

Choosing orthotics may seem like an easy task, but there is a lot of thought that goes into it. Here is a simple guide to choosing an orthotic that is right for you:

  • Know the Types of Orthotics- A rigid orthotic controls the motion in the foot. If you are looking for a rigid orthotic, press your thumb down on the arch. If it collapses under that pressure, it is not rigid enough for the foot. A soft orthotic should be flexible and cushioned. Look for one that has flexibility but still supportive to your feet, especially if you are a jogger.  A soft orthotic may need to be replaced more often, as it has to absorb more shock and tends to wear out.

  • Have Flat Feet?- Low arched feet or what most call “flat feet” are those that do not have much of a gap between the floor and the arch of the foot while standing. This type of foot is flexible, therefore needing a rigid orthotic.

  • Have High Arched Feet?- High arched feet are those that have a large gap between the floor and the arch of the foot when standing. This type of foot is rigid and needs a soft orthotic.

  • Fitting Correctly- Be sure the orthotic fits PERFECTLY into your shoes. It will most likely have to be trimmed around the toe area, so do that in small increments. It may take several tries, but that is better than cutting off too much and having the orthotic move around in the shoe as you walk. That can be very annoying and is not good for the foot.
  • Breaking Them In- When first wearing orthotics, it is common to experience soreness in feet, legs and lower back. Begin by wearing them for a few hours and increase the time with them on a little bit each day. If the soreness does not subside, do not increase the time with them on until it goes away. If you are an athlete, do not wear them in your athletic shoes until you are comfortable wearing them all day with no signs of soreness.