How are orthotic shoes different from your regular shoes?
Orthotic shoes and normal shoes have distinct differences primarily in their design, purpose, and functionalities. Here’s a concise breakdown of their three main differences:
Their primary purpose is to protect the feet from environmental factors and provide comfort. They aren’t specifically designed to address foot conditions or abnormalities.
Orthotic shoes are specially designed footwear intended to support, accommodate, and improve foot function. They cater to individuals with foot abnormalities, helping to correct or mitigate complications from various foot conditions. These shoes often possess features such as added depth, adjustable straps, and wider toe boxes to accommodate custom orthoses or foot deformities. By redistributing weight, they relieve pressure points, reducing pain and enhancing mobility. Orthotic shoes assist in addressing issues like plantar fasciitis, bunions, hammertoes, and diabetes-related foot complications. Essentially, they bridge the gap between therapeutic intervention and daily functionality, ensuring comfort, support, and protection for the feet.
2. Design & Construction:
Their design prioritizes aesthetics, general comfort, and protection. Therefore, they may lack the specific structural adjustments seen in orthotic shoes.
Orthotic shoes are meticulously designed for therapeutic purposes. Therefore, they often feature added depth to house custom foot orthoses and ensure comfortable fit. A wider toe box accommodates deformities like bunions and hammertoes. Their construction may include firmer heel counters for enhanced rear-foot control, and adjustable straps or lacing systems for optimal fit and support. Materials are chosen for durability and comfort, with breathable fabrics promoting foot health. Insoles are typically removable, allowing for insertion of custom orthotics. The outsoles offer stability and may have rocker designs to aid walking. Overall, orthotic shoes prioritize biomechanical support and foot health over aesthetics.
3. Inserts & Insoles:
While some may come with removable insoles, they aren’t necessarily designed for the insertion of custom orthotics. Therefore, insoles in standard shoes are typically for general cushioning and comfort.
Inserts and insoles in orthotic shoes are integral components designed for foot support and comfort. They cater to specific biomechanical needs, ensuring proper foot alignment, pressure distribution, and shock absorption. Insoles, which cover the shoe bed, are often removable in orthotic shoes, allowing for easy replacement or customization. They are made of various materials, including foam, gel, or cork. Inserts, often termed orthotics, are custom-molded or pre-fabricated devices placed inside the shoe to address particular foot abnormalities. These can be tailored for conditions like flat feet, high arches, or plantar fasciitis. Both aim to optimize foot function, reduce pain, and prevent further complications.
Increasing trend in the usage of orthopedic shoes:
The global orthopedic shoes market, over the years, experienced tremendous growth due to increasing awareness about foot health. It was also due to the rising prevalence of diabetes and other conditions that affect the feet. While the older people population often represents a significant portion of orthotic shoe users due to age-related musculoskeletal changes, increased risk of diabetes, and other chronic conditions, increasing numbers of foot and ankle ailments have also propelled the demand for orthotic footwear among younger users. Historically, eventhough orthopedic shoes are not viewed as fashionable, manufacturers are now focusing more on design alongside functionality. With advancements in technology, there is an expected trend towards more personalized and customized orthotic solutions, incorporating modern materials and design techniques.
In Canada, if you have any health insurance, oftentimes it has full coverage for orthopedic shoes with no out-of-pocket expenses to users. To check out and try out a wide variety of orthopedic shoes of various styles and designs, or to simply know further about orthopedic shoes, please visit one of our clinics where our expert physiotherapists are ready to help you get to your best form.