If you've suffered from intermittent knee pain for years and have recently been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, you may be dismayed at the thought of living with this pain (or the use of over-the-counter or prescription painkillers) for the rest of your life. Fortunately, there are now a number of options that can help reduce the pain and pressure on your knees from below -- specifically, through prescription or custom orthotic inserts fitted to your foot and designed to minimize the amount of pressure on your other joints. Read on to learn more about how orthotics may be able to help you manage your knee pain without medication or surgery.
How can orthotics help your knee pain?
Your first instinct when dealing with knee or other joint pain may be to purchase a supportive brace for the joint to help cushion it from impact and prevent it from fully flexing, which may cause pain. However, in many cases, your knee pain could be exacerbated by improper weight distribution through your feet. If this is the case, a knee brace will be minimally effective, as the badly-distributed weight will create disproportionate impact on the weakest areas of your knees that the brace can't support. By changing the way your feet distribute the weight of your body through your other joints when striking the ground, you'll be able to minimize the impact of walking, jogging, and other activities on your joints.
Modern footwear often doesn't offer a sufficiently supportive surface for your feet against the flooring surface. Adding custom-fitted orthotics to your existing shoes should be enough to change your weight distribution and immediately relieve your knee pain without requiring you to purchase special shoes.
Where should you find orthotics designed for your specific knee issues?
Although there are a number of over-the-counter orthotic products available at drug stores and supermarkets, the best option for those who have already been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee is to have orthotics custom-fitted by a podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon. Someone with the medical knowledge and experience necessary to read your X-rays and determine precisely which areas of your feet are subject to the most pressure is in a unique position to craft orthotics that can provide the best possible outcome in both flexibility and pain relief. You may opt to have several orthotic devices manufactured at the same time so that you'll be able to insert them into multiple pairs of shoes.
For more information about using custom orthotics, contact a company like Camden County Foot & Ankle Center.