Orthotics are used in many cases to deal with a variety of pains, including issues with the feet, legs and lower back. You may be wondering, however, whether they are the right choice given your particular medical circumstances. While you need to make that decision together with your doctor, there are some things you can consider that will tell you whether it's time to consider talking with an orthopedist.
Have You Exhausted Other Options?
Most folks, when confronted with foot, leg or back pain, are probably going to confront the problem, at least initially, with a pain reliever like aspirin or ibuprofen. If that fails to address the situation, those people may then consult with their doctors. Together, a doctor and a patient may discuss things like steroids, stronger pain relievers and changes in lifestyle and activities. If the pain arises from work activities, you may even end up exploring occupational therapy.
Orthotics aren't necessarily the last option you'll explore, but they're likely not the first one, either. A major question that needs to be raised is why the pain is occurring. If it appears to be due to locomotion, then orthotics are likely to become one of the earlier options you'll discuss.
Why Is There Pain?
What's driving the pain is also important. If you're suffering because of a tear in a ligament, for example, surgery may end up being the solution. Some doctors and patients, though, might give orthotics a try first in order to give the injured area time to heal and to avoid an invasive and costly procedure.
Repetitive stress on the feet, legs and lower back also needs to be considered. While orthotics may relieve some of the pressure that comes from repetitive motion, this is likely going to have to be handled in conjunction with lifestyle and activity changes.
How Effective are Orthotics?
A lot of the answer depends on why you're experiencing pain. For example, subjects with plantar fasciitis experienced a 75% reduction in disability ratings according to one study. The NIH reports that orthotics of both custom and prefabricated varieties reduce pain and improve function. Side effects are close to non-existent, and that makes orthotics an appealing choice for many patients.
Cost is a common concern when it comes to orthotics, and that's a conversation you should have with your doctor. Make sure to contact your insurance carrier to discuss what they're willing to cover, too. For more information on orthotics, contact a company in your area like Bio Tech Prosthetics and Orthotics.