Clear the mind of all the old concepts and ideas concerning arch supports and corrective shoes. Since the bones of the feet are permanent structures and the sidewalks, concrete and wooden floors you walk on are non-resilient, we must make a new walking surface for the feet to function properly.

This new surface must take in account all individual variations in bone structures and foot motion. This is essentially what the functional orthotic accomplishes. Now, the shoe manufacturing industry is slowly beginning to realize this is needed and is beginning to place an arch inlay in sneakers, as well as men and womens dress shoes.

Some need custom made orthotics since wearing the wrong type of insert can be detrimental to the feet, which are the foundation of the body. The feet influence all joints leading to the lower back.

The new concept helps foot related ankle, knee, hip and lower back problems. There have been approximately 10,000 orthopedic cases, and many have returned 20 years later with good results for follow-up.

They take into account all foot symptoms and how they affect the entire lower extremity. The end result is the elimination of leg and back fatigue. Orthotics are recommended for children three-years-old and up with gait problems (toeing-in and toe-ing out) and pronation problems (rolling in of the ankles).

This may be thought of as growing pains, but in all actual fact, it may be the pronation of the foot. Orthotics are also suggested for adults with functional foot problems. Athletes in most sports activities could benefit from orthotics to protect and prevent injuries, such as wasted motion with foot imbalances that affect the overall performance.

It is extremely important for people who suffer from common foot problems to wear biomechanical orthotics. Such foot ailments would include bunions, weak ankles, heel and arch pain, painful joints and recurring injuries. A biomechanical evaluation and gait analysis is carefully analyzed and a plaster impression of the foot is taken in a neutral position, off weight bearing.

This improved concept has changed for the better many people’s quality of life, especially children. If we can change early abnormal gait patterns, they will not have to suffer in adulthood.

It would be most beneficial for anyone who suffers from foot related issues to consider this new patented orthotic insert concept, which is customize for each person’s needs and comfort.

Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a sports podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Dr. Weiss is a veteran of 35 marathons, has a practice in Darien and resides in Westport. For more information visit his website at www.therunningdoctor.net.