What are custom orthotics?
You may hear orthotics referred to as insoles or arch supports, but these terms aren’t quite accurate. The terms insoles and arch supports typically refer to over-the-counter products that slide into your shoes and provide mild support and stability to the feet. However, there are significant drawbacks to using these types of products. The biggest drawback is that they may not conform to your specific foot anatomy. Buying over-the-counter insoles and arch supports may only address a small portion of your foot needs, and offer little to no help for diabetics. Custom orthotics, however, are a specialized type of insoles designed and made by your podiatrist specifically for your feet. They take into consideration your own unique foot anatomy, strike pattern (the way your foot hits the ground during a step), and special health needs such as diabetes. In some diabetic patients, orthotics can help prevent foot ulcers from occurring, or they may be used as part of a treatment plan for current foot ulcers or prevention against future foot ulcers.
How orthotics can benefit the diabetic patient
Recent studies have indicated that diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy are three times less likely to experience recurrence of foot ulcers by using orthotics rather than standard, over-the-counter insoles. This factor is significant, and may be the difference between a diabetic patient with healthy feet and one with severe ulcerations, which could lead to more extensive damage and potential amputation. Your podiatrist will evaluate your feet and overall health, and work with you to determine the best treatment plan for your needs. Patients who have never had a foot ulcer, or who have had foot ulcers in the past may be able to use orthotics as preventative devices against future foot ulcers.
Preventing diabetic foot ulcers
Preventing diabetic foot ulcers in the first place should be a key concern when formulating a plan to maintain your foot and leg health with your podiatrist. If you are diabetic and have never seen a podiatrist, call and schedule an appointment now — even if you don’t have any current foot complaints. Your podiatrist is your partner in maintaining healthy feet, which by extension, can help you maintain your overall health. Your podiatrist should be a partner in organizing a long-term treatment and prevention plan. It is important to see your podiatrist either before you have a problem, or as soon as you notice any abnormalities. Early detection increases your likelihood of swift treatment and resolution, while also minimizing complications and long-term damage. Your podiatrist may offer suggestions for appropriate shoes in addition to creating custom orthotics to help you with your particular needs.
Take the first step in protecting your feet and your health. If you have diabetes, call Kansas City Foot Specialists today at (913) 338-4440 or schedule an appointment online.