Our podiatrists in Medford, Oregon serve patients in Southern Oregon and Northern California. As a result, in winter, our patients could be facing anything from torrential rain to snow, or even mild temperatures. Now, if you’ve been fitted for custom orthotics, and find relief for heel, foot and ankle pain when you wear them, you’ll want to keep doing so all winter long.
But can you wear the same pair of orthotics with multiple pairs of shoes, or different styles of shoes? And can you wear your existing orthotics with your winter boots? In a minute, we’ll answer those questions. But first, let’s briefly review the nature and purpose of custom orthotics.
What are Orthotics?
"Orthotics" is a broad term that can describe any device you insert into your shoe. And it covers a big range of products, from felt pads to medical grade inserts and, finally, custom-made orthotic devices.
While people may use the same words to describe each of these shoe inserts, they are actually very different devices. If you purchase an over-the-counter insert, you may find relief from mild discomfort. However, because these store-bought inserts aren’t customized to fit and support your unique foot structure, they can not treat chronic conditions.
In contrast, when you invest in a custom orthotic device, you can correct abnormal or irregular walking patterns, helping you move and run more efficiently. Additionally, you may be able to relieve several conditions that result in chronic pain.
What Can You Treat with Orthotics?
Because custom orthotics specifically fit your individual foot, and can be constructed differently to resolve different concerns, they can treat conditions such as plantar fasciitis, leg length discrepancies and more. How do they relieve so many different conditions? Basically, they pad and secure your foot, providing support and stability, along with enough cushion to accommodate for or correct foot and ankle problems that result from your foot’s unique construction. The result? Prescription-strength, custom made orthotics can support an optimized gait for proper foot motion and lasting pain relief.
Can I Wear Custom Orthotics with Winter Boots?
Remember, we design your custom orthotics to fit your body’s structure and balance your foot and ankle. But that’s not what winter boots are meant to do. Their main goal? Keep your foot warm and dry. So, for that reason, most winter boot—especially popular Ugg-like styles—lack the support and structure your foot needs to get through the day without pain.
Now, an orthotic device isn’t designed to keep y our foot warm. So, simply wearing your regular shoes with orthotics probably won’t leave your feet too happy in winter, either. And so, we find many patients asking if they can just slip orthotics into their Uggs or Sorel boots and call it a day.
In theory, that idea should work well. But there’s a catch. You see, many patients discover that the orthotics that fit perfectly in their sneakers or work shoes simply can’t fit into their winter boots—there’s simply not enough space!
This problem is most likely to impact patients who opt for a full length orthotic, crafted to support the entire sole of the shoe you wear most. So, for that reason, many people choose to invest in a second pair of orthotics when fall turns to winter.
First, making this decision allows to skip the hassle of trying to fit a device made for one type of shoe into a boot with entirely different measurements and restrictions. Plus, investing in a second pair of orthotics can extend the usable life of each of your devices. And, when you buy them towards the end of the calendar year, you can use up leftover HSA funds to cover the cost of your purchase, meaning your feet can be warm, dry and pain-free, all winter long!
Customizing Orthotic Devices to Meet Your Needs
While investing in two pairs of orthotics can add convenience and comfort to your year-round routine, it’s not, in fact, an absolute necessity. Here’s another option that may work better for your needs. When you come in for your initial orthotic fitting, talk to us about all the shoes you wear, and all the types of activities in which you regularly engage.
Why will that be so helpful? When it comes to creating custom orthotics, there are many different features we can provide, with each one still providing your foot with optimal support. First, we can consider length. As we mentioned earlier, there are full-length orthotics, but other people may prefer a ¾ length device, especially if you want to wear your orthotics with your winter boots.
But that’s not the only decision we can make when we’re planning to craft your orthotics. We can also customize the rigidity of your devices, crafting rigid orthotics if you’re going to mostly be wearing dress or walking shoes, and need motion control to relieve leg, thigh and lower back pain, along with discomfort in your feet.
Some patients may prefer soft-orthotics, designed to provide shock absorption while improving balance and relieving pressure points—these are generally popular with patients who have diabetes and/or arthritis. Alternatively, you may choose semi-rigid orthotics for a blend of support and balance boosting that’s ideal for athletes.
Finally, Dr. Evan Merril and Dr. David Dimond now offer 4-D, custom-printed orthotics to our patients, using the latest technology to digitally scan and measure your feet to create a 3D model. Once complete, we can build your orthotic to every specific need and desire, using our state of the art HP Multi-Jet Fusion 3D printer. The result? A lightweight device good for everyone from walkers to athletes, ready for wearing with your winter boots or any other shoe of your choosing!
Ready to relieve foot and ankle pain year round, no matter which shoes or boots you want to wear? Call our podiatrists in Southern Oregon at (541) 776-3338 or click here to schedule an appointment. Whether you’re new to the world of orthotics, or seeking to invest in a second pair, we’ll help you craft a device to keep you walking comfortably in every season!