Almost anyone, from children to adults, can benefit from orthotics. Orthotics can alleviate many common foot problems that cause pain and discomfort in otherwise healthy people. An analogy can be made between orthotics and eyeglassesboth devices adjust problems that can impair physical function. In both cases, a physician (e.g., eye doctor or foot care specialist) performs a complete examination and then prescribes the proper amount of correction.
There are several common symptoms that may indicate misalignment of the feet. These signs and symptoms include the following:
- Abnormal shoe wear (e.g., one side of the sole of the shoe wears out faster than the other)
- Chronic heel (e.g., plantar fasciitis), knee, or low back pain
- Frequent ankle sprains
- Gait abnormalities (e.g., feet point inward or excessively outward during walking)
- Shin pain (e.g., shin splints)
The feet should not hurt and pain indicates that something is wrong. If foot pain is not properly treated, the condition causing it may worsen.