Soft orthotics or semi-flexible orthotics, how do you choose ?
Reasons to choose Soft Orthotics:
While I have a line of rigid orthotics for those who know they want them, the reasons I prefer to work with soft orthotics are many.
The number one reason being comfort. The soft orthotic has a high degree of patient compliance due to the ease of wearing them. Rigid and semi-rigid ones have less patient compliance due to their being uncomfortable. As a result, they often end up on the closet floor collecting dust bunnies where clearly they don't help anyone but the dust bunnies looking for a new home.
Soft orthotics support normal joint mechanics as opposed to altering them. Rigid and Semi-Rigid ones alter the gait pattern by reducing or removing the capacity to pronate and supinate as we go through the phases of gait which are NECESSARY for the rest of the kinetic chain to do what is required for normal gait mechanics to take place.
When I create your orthotic I mold it to your foot with your foot's alignment placed in its maximally efficient position. My orthotic product forms itself to your foot and provides a firm but flexible support that doesn't interfere with the normal pronation and supination NEEDED to allow you to have the proper mechanics of gait.
Reasons to choose Semi-Rigid Orthotics:
The people who do best with a semi-flexible Orthotic are those who place high stresses on the orthotic, and or, need more motion control.
Athletes such as runners, basket ball or tennis players may benefit from the added support of a more firm model of orthotic. This will help with their cutting and leaping.
When a patient has a hyper-mobile foot or ankle, the semi-flexible orthotic can provide support in the proper position and limit the hyper-mobility as well as reduce the risk of ankle sprain.
Sometimes people with flat feet fall into this category.
Larger framed people who are involved in sports also may benefit from a semi-flexible orthotic but there is some sacrifice in comfort when compared to a totally soft orthotic.
Lastly a semi-flexible orthotic will have far more durability than a soft one as those Orthotics with better cushioning need to be replaced as the cushion compresses over time. The lifespan of a soft orthotic will be determined by a few factors. What activities does the soft orthotic wearer do, how heavy are they and do they wear the orthotic every day or only once in a while.
While soft Orthotics last anywhere from one to three years, a rigid orthotic will last at least five unless VERY abnormal stresses are applied to them. When I prescribe semi-flexible orthotics, I work with the Comfort Fit lab who I believe to be the best in the business for this type of orthotic.
Are Orhtotics just for athletes ?
I have had people ask me, are orthotics only for runners or athletes, the answer is no they are not. It is true athletes often tell me that they have enhanced performance when their lower extremities are more mechanically aligned. In fact I see most of my elite athletes only when their season is in full swing.
However, it is true that regular people who simply work on their feet all day (Kind of like myself.) also benefit from a pair of custom orthotics. When you have proper support in your shoes, you will find your feet more resistant to the pains associated with just being on your feet all day.
More often than not, my first time patients are people who have foot, ankle or knee pain. There are also more than a few low back pain sufferers who can also benefit from orthotics.
Please, feel free to call today at 415 922 2225 to make an appointment for a complimentary consultation where you can take a look my products and see for yourself, if you think they might be of help you.