Knee pain can be frustrating, debilitating, and confusing.
What helps and what hurts? How do orthotics fit into the equation?
Some anecdotal claims insist that orthotics might make knee pain worse–and that’s the last thing you want to happen. Others insist that orthotics can be a lifesaver.
What’s the truth about the link between your feet and your knees? How much can orthotics help with knee pain–and can they ever hurt?
Let’s find out!
The Link Between the Foot and Knee
Your feet and knees are linked literally–it should come as no surprise that one affects the other when it comes to pain! The amount of impact generated when you walk, the way your feet are aligned, and the way that force is distributed as you take each step has a significant impact not only on your feet and heels themselves, but on your knees!
Orthotics are a tried and true way to drastically improve foot pain–here’s what you need to know about the connection between orthotics and knee pain!
Benefits of Using Orthotics for Knee Pain
Knee pain can be caused or made much worse by the amount of force generated to your joints (especially your knees!) each time you take a step. Orthotics can help distribute that force more evenly throughout the foot and ankle, which in turn distributes force more evenly to your knees.
In the same vein, orthotics can provide cushioning to your feet and heels, which reduces the amount of impact your knees will feel when you walk or run.
Orthotics can help improve alignment of the foot and ankle, which in turn improves alignment of the knees and creates a healthier gait. Supination or overpronation (in which the foot turns too far inward or outward) can mean that undue stress and impact are absorbed by the feet–which is in turn absorbed by your knees! Orthotics help correct this problem.
Cautions When Using Orthotics for Knee Pain
Break Them in:
Wearing orthotics can feel slightly strange at first. It’s important to give yourself time to break your orthotics in–wearing them by increasing amounts of time over the space of about a week until you’re wearing them full time.
Practice Holistic Healing:
Orthotics should be used in conjunction with other treatments for your knees. Using orthotics alone while continuing practices that make your knee pain worse won’t help nearly as much. Be sure to include plenty of rest, stretching, and icing as recommended by your doctor.
Get the Best Bang for Your Dollar:
Orthotics are often incredibly heavy–and they can get expensive! Slip-in Heel Seats are one of the most popular choices for effective (and cost-effective) orthotics.
Can I Develop Knee Pain from Orthotics?
You may have seen threads on the internet or heard questions about whether orthotics can somehow worsen knee pain. The short answer is no. When orthotics are worn properly, studies have found that people suffering from knee pain reported significantly reduced levels of pain after wearing orthotics. The Framingham study group found that there’s a particular connection between knee pain relief and orthotics when flat feet were involved, perhaps because of the increased impact flat-footers generate when walking without orthotics.
As always, make sure you introduce orthotics into your life gradually instead of all at once (over the period of about a week) and ensure they fit correctly and snugly against the back of your shoe.
If you suffer from knee pain, orthotics can be a great way to start your healing from the ground up!