What are the benefits of custom foot orthoses?
Excessive movement, impact, tension or pressure are bound to cause trouble. Orthotics change all of those factors depending on the degree of support, the type of materials used and what kind of accommodative padding one places on top. Materials can be used to limit painful joint motion, lessen the pull on damaged or strained tendons and ligaments, and direct force/pressure and shear away from areas or skin that are painful or break down.
Orthotics can be used to help heel pain, arch pain, neuromas, pain in the ball of feet, osteoarthritis, foot instability, flatfeet, high arched feet (pes cavus), and general foot pain or fatigue.
Specifically orthotics work by:
Reduction of plantar pressure and enhancement of dynamic plantar loading.
Custom devices can reduce plantar pressure via redistribution of plantar pressure. They also help to enhance normal probability distribution of plantar loading, which he says is of key importance to reduce lower extremity pain during walking. Orthoses increase the surface area over which the weightbearing surface is distributed.
The effect on plantar pressure is by far the clearest to evaluate and is the most outstanding out of all the biomechanical measures we have at our disposal
Stabilization of the foot during walking.
The appropriate design of custom foot orthoses helps maintain the center of pressure line of progression in neutral position (middle of base of support). This helps stabilize the foot, which in turn reduces the risk of injury and enhances gait stability and balance.
Enhancing proprioception feedback.
A custom orthosis can also enhance proprioception feedback by forcing the ankle joint to navigate the foot to stabilize the center of pressure. As he notes, this in turn helps stabilization of gait and enhancement of balance during walking.