Ortho-Dynamics Orthotics Laboratory

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Common Foot Problems

The foot and ankle are the foundation for the overall posture of the skeletal body. Abnormal foot mechanics cause stresses that can lead to numerous foot problems as well as leg, knee, hip and lower back pain.

Orthotics are orthopedic devices that help control abnormal foot motions, such as excessive pronation and excessive supination. They provide support, control, stability, absorb shock, and relieve pressure on uncomfortable or sore areas.

Orthotics are not a cure-all, but rather a conservative, non-invasive treatment option. They help your feet to function more efficiently. Orthotics can prevent injury or deformity from occurring or halt the progression of existing conditions, allowing healing to occur. They are also very useful in optimizing comfort and protection and enhancing performance.

NOTE: The information on this web site is presented for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for diagnosis and treatment by a qualified, licensed professional.


ACHILLES TENDINITISInflammation of the tendon that attaches the calf muscle of the leg to the back of the heel bone. When placed under too much stress the tendon tightens and becomes inflamed – tendinitis. If left untreated continued stress can cause the tendon to tear or rupture.
Symptoms: Stiffness and pain anywhere along the back of the ankle but usually near the heel. Redness or heat over the painful area. Prolonged inflammation can lead to the formation of scar tissue and limit ankle flexibility.
Cause: Many factors can lead to Achilles tendinitis, but the most common causes are improper warm-up (tight or fatigued calf muscles), overtraining (excessive hill running or speedwork), and excessive pronation.
Pre-molded Orthotic Recommendation: Our Sportsman (modified) with 1/8″ heel lifts. The Sportsman provides good arch support and control, preventing excessive pronation. Other options include our Heel-Lite (for additional heel cushioning.) All of these orthotics are covered with (full length) cellular cushioning top covers for added shock absorption, comfort and protection. For those who prefer more toe box room, our Ortho-Max is similar to the Sportsman but with a 3/4 length top cover extension. Heel lifts will help relieve the additional stress caused by the shortening of the tendon.
Our (intrinsically posted) pre-molded orthotics are most therapeutic for individuals weighing up 175 lbs. For individuals who are very active and or weigh more than 175 lbs., we would recommend adding arch filler/extrinsic rear foot posting.

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BUNIONSAlso known as Hallux Valgus. An enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint at the base of the big toe, causing the big toe to slant toward the second toe. Over time it is not uncommon to find the big toe resting under or over the second toe. If it occurs at the base of the little toe it is called a bunionette.
Symptoms: Development of a firm bump on the outside edge of the foot, at the base of the big toe. Mild to severe pain, redness and swelling at or around the joint. Restricted or painful motion of the big toe. This condition tends to worsen over time leading to other foot problems such as corns, calluses, hammertoes, and arch pain.
Cause: Most often a symptom of faulty foot mechanics. The deformity runs in families, but it is the foot type that is passed down not the bunion. People with low, flexible arches, or flat feet tend to over-pronate. This motion (when the arch collapses too much and the foot rotates too far inward) is believed to be a major culprit of bunions. Women’s dress shoes exacerbate the problem. High heels place stress on the joints, and the tight, narrow toe box area compounds the problem. Bunions are also associated with various forms of arthritis.
Pre-molded Orthotic Recommendation: Our Bunion Buddy is engineered to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with bunions; and help control their progression. The Bunion Buddy provides good arch support and control, preventing excessive pronation. The shell incorporates a forefoot post that unloads pressure to the bunion area, helping relieve pain and discomfort. It is covered with a (full length) cellular cushioning top cover for added shock absorption, comfort and protection.

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CHONDROMALACIAReferred to by some as “runners knee”. Irritation of the cartilage under the kneecap (or patella), resulting in pain and inflammation. The cartilage becomes rough because the kneecap is not riding smoothly over the knee. This is one of the most common causes of knee pain.
Symptoms: Pain and swelling beneath or on the sides of the kneecap. In severe cases you may feel or hear the grinding of cartilage when the knee is flexed.
Cause: Several factors can contribute to chondromalacia, including overuse (especially the pounding shocks absorbed from downhill running, hiking or jogging), obesity, previous knee trauma, and excessive pronation. Abnormal foot pronation results in increased rotation and angling inward of the leg, causing misalignment and stress on the knee.
Pre-molded Orthotic Recommendation: Our Sportsman provides good arch support and control, preventing excessive pronation. Other options include our Heel-Lite (for additional heel cushioning.) All of these orthotics are covered with (full length) cellular cushioning top covers for added shock absorption, comfort and protection. For those who prefer more toe box room, our Ortho-Max is similar to the Sportsman but with a 3/4 length top cover extension.
Our (intrinsically posted) pre-molded orthotics are most therapeutic for individuals weighing up 175 lbs. For individuals who are very active and or weigh more than 175 lbs., we would recommend adding arch filler/extrinsic rear foot posting.

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EXCESSIVE PRONATIONAlso referred to as over-pronation, this biomechanical problem is very common in a person with a flexible, flat foot, called a planus foot. Pronation occurs in the walking cycle when a person’s arch collapses upon weight bearing. This is part of the normal gait cycle, allowing the foot to absorb shock and adjust to uneven surfaces. However, too much of this motion (excessive pronation, over-pronation) can cause stress or inflammation on the planter fascia ligament (plantar fasciitis), and lead to numerous other foot and related conditions.
Symptoms: Over time, this motion can lead to the development of conditions such as Achilles tendinitis, bunions, heel spurs, metatarsalgia, Morton’s neuroma, plantar fasciitis (heel and arch pain), post-tib tendinitis, shin splints, tarsal tunnel syndrome, as well as knee pain (chondromalacia, iliotibial band syndrome), hip pain and lower back discomfort. Related conditions include corns, calluses and hammertoes. When standing, your heels and/or kneecaps may lean or turn inward, and you may abnormally wear out the soles and heels of your shoes very quickly.
Cause: Very common in people with flexible, flat feet. Flat feet may be hereditary or caused by obesity or pregnancy. Arches can also fall from trauma (from sports, repeated stress) and wearing high-heeled shoes for long periods.
Pre-molded Orthotic Recommendation: All of our pre-molded orthotics help control excessive pronation. We offer pre-molded orthotics for different footwear, conditions, and activities. The more functional the footwear (sneakers, full depth shoes) the more therapeutic the orthotic therapy. The design (low profile, narrow toe box) of fashion footwear limits the room for orthotics and related therapeutic benefits.
Our (intrinsically posted) pre-molded orthotics are most therapeutic for individuals weighing up 175 lbs. For individuals who are very active and or weigh more than 175 lbs., we would recommend adding arch filler/extrinsic rear foot posting.

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EXCESSIVE SUPINATION Also referred to as under-pronation, this biomechanical problem is most common in a person with a rigid, high arch, called a cavus foot. This type of foot usually does not pronate (roll inward) enough. Because the arch does not flatten it is not an effective shock absorber. As a result, the weight of the body falls only on the heel and bases of the toe, increasing stress on the foot.
Symptoms: Can result in conditions such as Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis (heel and arch pain), calluses, metatarsalgia, sesamoiditis, and cause ankle, knee, hip and lower back pain. Shoes will wear on the (entire) outside edge, and the sides of the shoe may become over-stretched. If you place shoes on a flat surface they will tend to tilt outward.
Cause: Very common in people who have high arches. High arched feet tend to be hereditary. Tight Achilles tendons contribute to supination.
Pre-molded Orthotic Recommendation: Our pre-molded orthotics are (most) therapeutic treating/preventing excessive pronation and related conditions. For individuals with high, (rigid) arches, often referred to as a cavus foot type, we would recommend consulting a podiatrist about custom (prescription) orthotics.
For those individuals with high, (flexible) arches interested in a conservative treatment approach, we would recommend our Foot Enhancement System orthotics (modified) with lateral wedges/forefoot posting. The Foot Enhancement System provides semi-flexible arch support and control. It is covered with a (full length) cellular cushioning top cover for added shock absorption, comfort and protection.
Lateral wedges/forefoot posting should help induce pronation and unload pressure on the heel and first met head.

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HEEL SPURSA projection of growth of bone on the underside of the front part of the heel bone. Occurs when the plantar fascia, a ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot that supports the arch pulls at its attachment to the heel bone. This area can calcify to form a spur.
Symptoms: While some heel spurs are painless others can cause extreme rearfoot pain, especially while standing or walking. The pain is usually located just in front of the heel towards the arch.
Cause: Often results from a biomechanical imbalance. The stretching of the plantar fascia is usually due to excessive pronation, but people with a very high arch (cavus foot) also develop heel spurs. Others factors include a sudden increase in activity, ill-fitting shoes and obesity.
Pre-molded Orthotic Recommendation: Our Heel-Lite provides good arch support and control, preventing excessive pronation. It is covered with a (full length) cellular cushioning top cover for added shock absorption, comfort and protection. A special heel cutout (in the shell) is filled with a gel pressure relief pad that cushions the heel spur area.
The Heel-Lite is most therapeutic for individuals weighing up 175 lbs. For individuals who are very active and or weigh more than 175 lbs., we would recommend adding arch filler/extrinsic rear foot posting.

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ILIOTIBIAL BAND SYNDROMEInflammation and pain on the outer side of the knee where the iliotibial band (thick fibrous tissue that runs along the outside of the leg) is rubbing against the large leg bone, the femur. The function of the iliotibial band is both to provide stability to the knee and to assist in flexion of the knee joint. When irritated, movement of the knee joint becomes painful.
Symptoms: Lateral (outside) knee pain, usually increases gradually on a run.
Cause: People who suddenly increase their level of activity, such as runners increasing their mileage, often develop iliotibial band syndrome. Others factors include mechanical problems such leg length discrepancies, bow-legs, and excessive pronation. Abnormal foot pronation results in increased rotation and angling inward of the leg, causing misalignment and stress on the knee.
Pre-molded Orthotic Recommendation: Our Sportsman provides good arch support and control, preventing excessive pronation. Other options include our Heel-Lite (for additional heel cushioning.) All of these orthotics are covered with (full length) cellular cushioning top covers for added shock absorption, comfort and protection. For those who prefer more toe box room, our Ortho-Max is similar to the Sportsman but with a 3/4 length top cover extension.
Our (intrinsically posted) pre-molded orthotics are most therapeutic for individuals weighing up 175 lbs. For individuals who are very active and or weigh more than 175 lbs., we would recommend adding arch filler/extrinsic rear foot posting. And for those with a leg length discrepancy, we would recommend adding a heel lift that is half the leg length discrepancy.

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METATARSALGIAA generic term to denote pain or discomfort in the metatarsal region of the foot. This is the area just behind the toes, most often called the ball-of-the-foot. With this condition one or more of the metatarsal joints becomes painful and inflamed, usually from excessive pressure over an extended period of time.
Symptoms: A dull, bruise like, ache in the area of the ball-of-the-foot. Others symptoms include tingling or numbness in the toes and sharp or shooting pain in the toes.
Cause: Women’s dress shoes are the major culprit. High heels place stress on the forefoot joints, and the tight, narrow toe box area compounds the problem. Abnormal weight distribution on the forefoot due to excessive pronation can be a factor. Other causes include trauma (from sports, repeated stress), decrease of fat pad with age, arthritis and obesity.
Pre-molded Orthotic Recommendation: All of our pre-molded orthotics help control excessive pronation. We offer pre-molded orthotics for different footwear, conditions, and activities. The more functional the footwear (sneakers, full depth shoes) the more therapeutic the orthotic therapy. The design (low profile, narrow toe box) of fashion footwear limits the room for orthotics and the related therapeutic benefits.
A pair of our pre-molded (modified) with metatarsal pads will relieve pressure, and redistribute weight away from the painful area to a more tolerant area.
Our (intrinsically posted) pre-molded orthotics are most therapeutic for individuals weighing up 175 lbs. For individuals who are very active and or weigh more than 175 lbs., we would recommend adding arch filler/extrinsic rear foot posting.

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MORTON’S NEUROMAAn irritated, swollen nerve in the ball-of-the-foot usually described as pain between the base of the third and fourth toes, although it can also occur between the second and third toes.
Symptoms: Sharp, burning pain in the ball-of-the foot, can be intermittent or constant. Morton’s neuroma may also cause numbness or tingling at the tips of the toes and cramping.
Cause: Abnormal weight distribution on the forefoot due to excessive pronation is thought to be a major culprit. This motion (when the arch collapses too much and the foot rotates too far inward) can cause the metatarsal bones to rub together, pinching the nerves. Other factors include forefoot trauma (from sports, repetitive stress), arthritis, and high heeled or confining footwear. In fact, this condition is much more common in women presumably due to their footwear. High Heels transfer weight to the forefoot and the tight toe box area causes compression.
Pre-molded Orthotic Recommendation: All of our pre-molded orthotics help control excessive pronation. We offer pre-molded orthotics for different footwear, conditions, and activities. The more functional the footwear (sneakers, full depth shoes) the more therapeutic the orthotic therapy. The design (low profile, narrow toe box) of fashion footwear limits the room for orthotics and the related therapeutic benefits.
A pair of our pre-molded (modified) with metatarsal pads placed behind the ball-of-the-foot (between the third and fourth toes), will unload pressure on the nerve, and redistribute weight away from the painful area to a more tolerant area.
Our (intrinsically posted) pre-molded orthotics are most therapeutic for individuals weighing up 175 lbs. For individuals who are very active and or weigh more than 175 lbs., we would recommend adding arch filler/extrinsic rear foot posting.

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PLANTAR FASCIITISHeel and or arch pain commonly traced to an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a long, thick, fibrous band of connective tissue (on the bottom of the foot) running from the heel to the base of the toes. Plantar refers to the bottom of the foot and fascia is a type of connective tissue. When the plantar fascia ligament is excessively stretched it tears, causing inflammation of the fascia and surrounding tissues. This can cause heel pain and arch pain, and lead to heel spurs.
Symptoms: Pain at the base of the heel, where the heel meets the arch. It is normally most severe in the morning when getting out of bed because the fascia is tighter at this time. As the day progresses and the fascia continues to be stretched, the pain often fades.
Cause: Many factors can lead to plantar fasciitis, but the most common causes are biomechanical imbalances, especially excessive pronation. This motion (when the arch collapses too much and the foot rotates too far inward) can cause the arch of your foot to stretch excessively, creating stress and inflammation. A person with a rigid, high arched foot or tight Achilles tendon is also quite susceptible to this condition. Stress from an increase in activity/training, and excessive weight, normally resulting from obesity or pregnancy exacerbates the problem.
Pre-molded Orthotic Recommendation: Our Sportsman provides good arch support and control, preventing excessive pronation. Other options include our Heel-Lite (for additional heel cushioning.) All of these orthotics are covered with (full length) cellular cushioning top covers for added shock absorption, comfort and protection. For those who prefer more toe box room, our Ortho-Max is similar to the Sportsman but with a 3/4 length top cover extension.
Our (intrinsically posted) pre-molded orthotics are most therapeutic for individuals weighing up 175 lbs. For individuals who are very active and or weigh more than 175 lbs., we would recommend adding arch filler/extrinsic rear foot posting.

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POST-TIB TENDINITISAlso referred to as Progressive Flatfoot. Stress on the posterior tibial tendon, resulting in inflammation. The posterior tendon runs along the inside of the ankle and attaches at the inside of the midfoot or arch area. The tendon is responsible for helping to maintain the arch in the foot. When it is not functioning properly the tendon does not hold up the arch, causing flat feet.
Symptoms: When the posterior tendon is inflamed or partially torn, pain is felt from the inside of the ankle to the arch area. Pain is more severe upon weight bearing, especially while walking or running.
Cause: Occurs when the muscle is overused and the tendon (soft tissue) that connects the muscle to your bone is strained. It can result form years of excessive pronation.
Pre-molded Orthotic Recommendation: Our Sportsman provides good arch support and control, preventing excessive pronation. Other options include our Heel-Lite (for additional heel cushioning.) All of these orthotics are covered with (full length) cellular cushioning top covers for added shock absorption, comfort and protection. For those who prefer more toe box room, our Ortho-Max is similar to the Sportsman but with a 3/4 length top cover extension.
Our (intrinsically posted) pre-molded orthotics are most therapeutic for individuals weighing up 175 lbs. For individuals who are very active and or weigh more than 175 lbs., we would recommend adding arch filler/extrinsic rear foot posting.

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SESAMOIDITISSometimes referred to as the “ball bearing of the foot,” the sesamoids are two small bones found beneath the first metatarsal bone, which leads to the big toe. The surrounding tendons can inflame or rupture under the repetitive stress of exercise.
Symptoms: Its most common symptom is pain in the ball-of-the-foot, especially on the medial or inner side (under the big toe). The pain usually begins as a mild ache and increases gradually as the aggravating activity is continued. There may also be some swelling throughout the bottom of the forefoot. There is usually little, if any, bruising or redness.
Cause: Repetitive excessive pressure on the forefoot. It is a common condition among ballet dancers and baseball catchers but even an activity like walking can cause this condition. Sesamoiditis can also be caused by a decrease of fat pad with age and high arched feet.
Pre-molded Orthotic Recommendation: All of our pre-molded orthotics help control excessive pronation. We offer pre-molded orthotics for different footwear, conditions, and activities. The more functional the footwear (sneakers, full depth shoes) the more therapeutic the orthotic therapy. The design (low profile, narrow toe box) of fashion footwear limits the room for orthotics and the related therapeutic benefits.
A pair of our pre-molded (modified) with a 1st ray cutout in the shell will accommodate the sesamoid discomfort.
Our (intrinsically posted) pre-molded orthotics are most therapeutic for individuals weighing up 175 lbs. For individuals who are very active and or weigh more than 175 lbs., we would recommend adding arch filler/extrinsic rear foot posting.

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SHIN SPLINTSA catch-all term for lower leg pain (below the knee) that occurs along the tibia (shin) bone. This pain can occur either the front outside (anterior lateral) part of the leg or the back inside (posterior medial) part of the leg . Medial shin splints is also called Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome. Anterior shin splints are thought to be some kind of stress fracture (crack in the bone) or compartment syndrome (muscle swelling).
Symptoms: An aching, throbbing or tenderness along the inside (medial) or outside (lateral) of the shin about halfway down or possibly all along the shin from the ankle to the knee.
Cause: Often related to excessive foot pronation, especially medial shin splints. This motion (when the arch collapses too much and the foot rotates too far inward) places stress on the medial structures of the leg. Other risk factors include overtraining, muscle imbalances, improper stretching, running or jumping on hard surfaces, and insufficient shock absorption.
Pre-molded Orthotic Recommendation: Our Shin-Sprinter provides good arch support and control, preventing excessive pronation. It incorporates extrinsic rear foot posting with a continuous arch filler to stabilize the motion of the foot during each stride and provide uniform arch support and control. The shell is covered with a (full length) cellular cushioning top cover for added shock absorption, comfort and protection.

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TARSAL TUNNEL SYNDROMEA condition that occurs when the posterior tibial nerve becomes inflamed from abnormal pressure (entrapment). The tibial nerve runs down the back of the leg into the foot behind the bump on the inside of the ankle.
Symptoms: Pain, burning, tingling (electrical sensations) or numbness in the sole of the foot. The pain usually worsens with activity and is reduced by rest. There may be pain to touch along the course of the nerve.
Cause: Mechanically, excessive pronation (often associated with flat feet) can be a factor. This motion (when the arch collapses too much and the foot rotates too far inward) causes the muscle and nerves running around the ankle to shift, compressing (pinching) the tibial nerve. Other risk factors include repetitive stress from an increase in activity/training, excessive weight, varicose veins or any type of lesion (tissue mass) that can nerve compression.
Pre-molded Orthotic Recommendation:
Our Sportsman provides good arch support and control, preventing excessive pronation. Other options include our Heel-Lite (for additional heel cushioning.) All of these orthotics are covered with (full length) cellular cushioning top covers for added shock absorption, comfort and protection. For those who prefer more toe box room, our Ortho-Max is similar to the Sportsman but with a 3/4 length top cover extension.
Our (intrinsically posted) pre-molded orthotics are most therapeutic for individuals weighing up 175 lbs. For individuals who are very active and or weigh more than 175 lbs., we would recommend adding arch filler/extrinsic rear foot posting.

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MODIFICATIONS

Arch Filler/Extrinsic Rear Foot Posting: Our standard (intrinsically posted**) pre-molded orthotics are designed to provide (maximum) therapeutic support, control and stability for people weighing up to 175 lbs. They can (and most often do) provide therapeutic benefits for people weighing more, however, there is not as much therapeutic support, control and stability.

Arch Filler is a cellular sponge material that we add under the heel (Extrinsic RF Posting) that extends through the arch to provide the additional support, control and stability that is necessary to support additional weight and/or activity. Furthermore, it makes the orthotics much more durable. Modified devices are (made-to-order), with the arch filler/extrinsic RF posting incorporated directly into the device.

We charge an additional $10.00 (per pair) for this modification. Since they are made-to-order modified devices are not returnable, but if necessary we will adjust (increase/decrease) the arch filler at no additional charge. Our goal is to provide you with 100% satisfaction!

You can request this modification in the (comments) section on our order form.

**Intrinsically Posted Styles: Foot Enhancement System, Sportsman, Silhouette, Low Profile, Ortho-Max, Heel-Lite, Ortho-Betic, Golf, and CEO Executive.

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Heel Lifts: Recommended for Achilles tendinitis and leg length discrepancies.

We charge an additional $10.00 (per pair) or $5.00 per orthotic for this modification. Since they are made-to-order modified devices are not returnable, but if necessary we offer free adjustments. Our goal is to provide you with 100% satisfaction!

You can request this modification in the (comments) section on our order form.

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Lateral Wedges/Forefoot Posting: Recommended for excessive supination to help induce pronation.

We charge an additional $10.00 (per pair) for this modification. Since they are made-to-order modified devices are not returnable, but if necessary we offer free adjustments. Our goal is to provide you with 100% satisfaction!

You can request this modification in the (comments) section on our order form.

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Metatarsal Pads: Recommended for metatatarsalgia and Morton’s neuroma to unload pressure and redistribute weight away from the painful area to a more tolerant area.

The metatarsal pads are incorporated into the orthotics and not simply stand alone add-ons.

We charge an additional $10.00 (per pair) for this modification. Since they are made-to-order modified devices are not returnable, but if necessary we offer free adjustments. Our goal is to provide you with 100% satisfaction!

You can request this modification in the (comments) section on our order form.

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1st Ray Cutout: Recommended for Sesamoiditis.

There is no charge for this modification. Since they are made-to-order modified devices are not returnable, but if necessary we offer free adjustments. Our goal is to provide you with 100% satisfaction!

You can request this modification in the (comments) section on our order form.

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