KeagenHadley-footprints-in-sand

If you’re experiencing knee pain, you may be wondering: Can orthotics cause knee pain? It’s a valid question; after all, if your orthotics are causing problems with your knee alignment, that can certainly lead to discomfort and pain.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the relationship between orthotics and knee health and find out if there is a link between the two. We’ll also discuss other factors that can contribute to knee pain so that you can get to the bottom of the issue and start feeling better again!

The Knee Joint

Before talking about knee pain, it is important to understand the knee joint overall. The knee is a hinge joint, which means that it moves in one plane (forward and backward). It is the largest joint in the body, and it bears a lot of weight—up to four times your body weight when walking!

The knee joint is held together by ligaments. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that keep the bones in place. The bones associated with the knee joint are the femur (thigh bone), the patella (knee cap), and the tibia (shin bone) in the lower leg. The knee joint is also supported by muscles, tendons, and a thin layer of tissue called the synovium.

The synovium produces a fluid that lubricates the knee joint and helps to keep it moving smoothly. When this fluid becomes inflamed, it can cause pain and swelling in the knee joint, a condition known as synovitis.

The lower extremity is a complex system, and when any one part of it is not working properly, it can lead to problems, including knee pain. Footwear is just one part of this system, but it can have a big impact on the health of your knees! But first, what are orthotics?

Foot Orthotics

Orthotics are medical devices that are worn inside the shoe to correct problems with foot alignment, foot biomechanics, and overall foot function. Several studies have shown that orthotics can be effective in treating a variety of foot and ankle problems, including heel pain, bunions, and plantar fasciitis, in anyone from professional athletes to regular individuals.

Orthotics can be custom-made to fit your feet, or they can be purchased over the counter. Orthotics can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, and fabric.

There are two main types of orthotics, based on material:

Rigid orthotics are made from a firm material and can’t be bent. They’re often used to treat problems with foot alignment, such as bunions or hammertoes.

Soft orthotics are made from a flexible material that can be bent. They’re often used to treat problems with foot biomechanics, such as overpronation.

Type of Orthotics: Custom or Over-the-Counter

Custom foot orthoses are made to fit your feet, and they can be made from a variety of materials. Rigid orthotics are made from a firm material and can’t be bent, while soft orthotics are made from a flexible material and can be bent. Custom-made orthotics can be expensive, but they may be covered by insurance if they’re medically necessary.

Over-the-counter orthotics are less expensive shoe inserts that may not be as effective as custom-made orthotics. They can also be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, and fabric. Over-the-counter orthotics come in different sizes, but it can be difficult to find a size that fits your feet well.

KeagenHadley-can-orthotics-cause-knee-pain

Joint Issues That Require Orthotics

Many foot problems, knee problems, or joint pain warrant the use of custom orthotics for effective treatment, including:

Iliotibial band syndrome: This is a condition that causes pain due to repetitive motion, such as running. It can be treated with custom orthotics that support the arch of the foot and help stabilize the heel.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome: This is a condition that causes pain in the front of the knee. It can be treated with custom orthotics that control pronation (flattening of the foot).

Osteoarthritis: This medical condition is a joint disease that can cause long-term damage, pain, stiffness, and swelling due to the degeneration of the knee cartilage. It can be treated with custom orthotics that provide support and cushioning to minimize the discomfort due to this condition.

Lower back pain: This can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor posture and improper lifting. It can be treated with custom orthotics that provide arch support and help to maintain proper alignment.

Flat feet: This is a condition in which the arch of the foot collapses, causing the foot to flatten. It can be treated with custom orthotics that support the arch of your foot.

High arches: This is a condition in which the arch of the foot is raised too high, causing foot pain. It is generally raised too high due to genetics but can also be caused by tight muscles or shoes that don’t provide enough support. It can be treated with custom orthotics that provide cushioning and support.

Bunions: This is a condition in which the big toe bends inward, causing the first joint of the toe to protrude outward. It can be treated with custom orthotics that support the arch of the foot and help stabilize the big toe.

Hammertoe: This is a condition in which one or more of the small toes bend downward, causing it to resemble a hammer. It can be treated with custom orthotics that support the arch of your foot and help stabilize the toe.

Achilles tendonitis: This is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in the Achilles tendon. It can be treated with custom orthotics because they can provide cushioning and support that take pressure off the tendon by placing it in the correct anatomical position.

Plantar fasciitis: This is a condition that causes pain in the heel and arch of the foot. The pain comes from the inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a band of tissue that runs from the heel to the toes. It can be treated with custom orthotics because they can provide cushioning and support that take pressure off of the plantar fascia.

Shin splints: This is a condition that causes pain in the shins. Shin splints can be caused by overuse, such as running or playing sports. It can also be caused by shoes that don’t provide enough support. Shin splints can be treated with custom orthotics because they can provide support and cushion for the overused lower extremity.

As you can see, there are a variety of conditions that can be treated with custom orthotics. Because our feet are our base of support, they can affect our entire body, including our ankle, knee, and hip joints, as well as our back.

If you have any of these conditions, or if you’re experiencing chronic pain in your feet, knees, or joints, it’s important to see a doctor to discuss whether custom orthotics would be right for you.

Can Orthotics Cause Knee Pain?

In some cases, orthotics can cause knee pain because they have incorrectly changed the alignment of the knee joint. If the orthotics are not fitting properly or if they’re not the right type of orthotic for your foot, they can cause knee pain.

Another possible reason you are having new knee pain when starting to wear orthotics is that, although they fit correctly, your body may have become accustomed to being misaligned. The realignment process will then be uncomfortable but totally necessary.

It’s also important to make sure that you’re wearing the orthotics as prescribed by your doctor. If you’re not wearing them as prescribed or without a prescription, they can cause knee pain. Make sure to take all questions to your primary care physician or podiatrist to ensure you are getting the information and treatment you need for your specific situation.

KeagenHadley-converses-standing-in-leaves

Other Conservative Treatments for Knee Pain

While custom orthotics can be an effective treatment for chronic knee pain, there are other treatment options. There are a variety of other conservative treatments that can be effective, including:

Physical therapy: A physical therapist can have a significant impact on strengthening the muscles around the knee joint and can provide exercises to improve range of motion and flexibility.

Weight loss: Excess weight can put additional stress on the knees. Losing weight can help reduce pain and inflammation in the overall knee joint.

NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help to reduce pain and inflammation. This occurs because these drugs block the production of inflammatory chemicals.

Steroid injections: A doctor can inject a corticosteroid into the knee joint to help reduce pain and inflammation. This is usually done when other conservative treatments have failed.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections: A doctor can inject platelets from your blood into the knee joint to help promote healing. PRP injections work by providing the knee joint with growth factors that can help repair damaged tissue.

Knee braces: A knee brace can provide support and stability to the knee joint. It can also help reduce pain and inflammation by taking pressure off the joint.

As you can see, there are a variety of conservative treatment options for knee pain. If you’re experiencing chronic knee pain, it’s important to see a doctor to discuss which treatment option would be right for you.

Conclusion

If you’re experiencing chronic knee pain, it’s important to see a doctor to discuss which treatment option would be right for you. Custom orthotics can be an effective treatment for chronic knee pain, but there are other treatment options available.

A physical therapist can have a significant impact on strengthening the muscles around the knee joint and can provide exercises to improve range of motion and flexibility. Weight loss can also help reduce pain and inflammation in the overall knee joint. Both of these avenues have worked wonders for many of my clients, along with many others!

Always remember that there are multiple conservative treatment options available, and each individual’s situation is unique. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your primary care physician or podiatrist.

This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. The information provided in this post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Please consult with a licensed healthcare provider before starting any new treatment. Thank you!

About the Author

Hi there! I’m Dr. Keagen Hadley, OTD, OTR/L. Straight out of the University of Mary, I’m all about blending my know-how in knee health, well-being, and medical technology. As a licensed occupational therapy doc, I’m here to translate complex concepts into clear, actionable insights – whether it’s knee care or groundbreaking healthcare tech.

Similar Posts