Beyond Foot Pain: How Custom Orthotics Can Fix Leg, Knee, and Back Issues

Jul 01, 2023
If your back hurts, you probably don’t think the trouble started with your feet. But if you have pain anywhere from your ankle up, custom orthotics could stabilize the kinetic chain affecting how you walk and how comfortable your body feels.

Your feet are the platform on which your entire body rests when you stand, walk, run, or dance. So if your feet are unstable or misaligned, your whole body can go out of whack, too. If you have chronic knee or back pain or are prone to injuries that haven’t responded to other therapies, it may be time to see a  podiatrist.

Led by board-certified foot and ankle surgeon Shay Fish, DPM, the team at South Texas Foot Surgeons, with offices in Kerrville and San Antonio, TX, know how vital foot stability is for your entire body. During a consultation, they examine your feet and legs and also watch how you move to determine if you have alignment problems in your feet. 

Misaligned feet, fallen arches, and other foot problems can lead to such issues as:

  • Ankle pain
  • Knee pain
  • Hip pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Repeated leg and back injuries

Your feet are the first part of what podiatrists call the “kinetic chain,” which is how the joints in your legs and feet link together and affect one another. When your feet aren’t functioning optimally, you may compensate by putting more weight on one leg than the other or clenching muscles that cause your other joints to get out of alignment, too.

A healthy kinetic chain starts with a healthy base

Many conditions can throw your kinetic base off kilter and cause chronic joint pain. During your evaluation, your podiatrist looks for foot conditions that affect the way you move and hold yourself, including:

  • Pronation (foot rolls inward)
  • Supination (foot rolls outward)
  • Fallen arches (flat feet)
  • Arthritis or bursitis (joint inflammation)
  • Plantar fasciitis (inflamed sole)
  • Bunions or hammer toes (bone deformities)
  • Tendinitis (inflamed tendons)
  • Calluses, corns, or ulcers (pressure lesions)
  • Postsurgical pain or nerve pain

If your foot bones are misaligned, your podiatrist may recommend custom-designed orthotics to straighten out your feet, support your arches, and optimize function.

Your footprint is your fingerprint

You may not think about how unique your feet are, but the shape of your foot, where your arch falls or lifts, isn’t like anyone else’s foot. That’s why generic store-bought shoe inserts might be able to cushion some stress when you walk on hard surfaces but can’t fix your alignment problems.

When our podiatrists recommend custom-designed orthotics, they make physical and 3D impressions of your feet that they then send to a special orthotics lab. They also include recommendations that remedy problems such as overpronation or fallen arches so that your foot isn’t just molded to what it is now but to what it should be to function optimally. 

Because your custom orthotics are a form of medicine for your feet, you need time to adjust to them. Your podiatrist may recommend just wearing them for an hour or two per day for the first day and gradually working up to full-time use.

We fine-tune your orthotics for ultimate comfort and function

Unlike shoe-bought inserts, orthotics aren’t devices you just put in your shoes and forget about until they wear out. Your podiatrist follows up and makes adjustments to be sure your custom orthotics correct your foot alignment and straighten your kinetic chain to resolve your chronic pain.

Get back on your feet and back to your life by correcting misaligned feet with custom orthotics from South Texas Foot Surgeons today. Call the office nearest you or reach out online.