How to Choose the Right Quadrasteps for Your “Foot Personality”
No two pairs of feet are exactly alike.
Some are skinny and some are wide. Some have arches that reach for the sky, and others are flat as a pancake. Some toes point in, while others point out.
Unfortunately, not all of these foot types are well suited to the challenge of modern living. Wear and tear from long days of standing and walking on hard surfaces take their toll.
The symptoms vary as widely as the foot shapes themselves. Some feet are more prone to developing heel pain and plantar fasciitis. Others may produce neuromas, or bursitis, or shin splints. You could even wind up with knee, hip or lower back pain, simply because your feet aren’t properly aligned!
In most cases, orthotics are the best way to relieve your symptoms and getting you walking the right way again. But the answer is rarely as simply as pulling an insole off the rack at a store.
Why We Use the Quadrasteps System
When most foot doctors talk about insoles or orthotics, there are usually taking about one of two basic types of shoe insert.
- Prefabricated insoles, or arch supports, are the kind that you buy off the rack at a drugstore. A good pair can make a difference for certain conditions. But unfortunately, most prefabricated orthotics available are relatively low quality. They may be cheap, but they often break down quickly, and at best they offer a little bit of cushioning. Most won’t do much if anything to realign a structural problem or gait abnormality.
- Custom orthotics bypass this problem by being individually and specially manufactured based on measurements of your feet, typically using a mold or 3D scan. They do a better job of addressing your needs, and they last longer, too. But they’re much more expensive, and it can be extremely frustrating if they end up not working as well as you’d hope.
Quadrasteps fills the gap between these two “levels” of orthotic. They are prefabricated insoles. But because they’re based on a scientifically rigorous assessment of different foot types and made from a high-quality soft-yet-firm injection-molded thermoplastic compound, they can do a lot of things “ordinary” prefab orthotics can’t do.
Far more than just adding cushioning, Quadrasteps can be matched to specific types and correct alignment and gait issues. Quadrasteps contain postings, recesses, sidewalls—all the advanced features you would normally only get from custom orthotics. And the thermoplastic material offers great support and functional alignment ability while remaining comfortable to stand on.
In essence, Quadrasteps offers the best of both worlds. They offer a level of quality, effectiveness, and durability nearly on par with custom orthotics, but more affordable, easier to replace, and you don’t have to wait weeks for them to be custom made.
We still do offer custom orthotics for patients who need them. But Quadrasteps are a great middle ground approach that is often the best choice overall for patients with mild-to-moderate (or even sometimes severe) symptoms.
How to Choose the Right Quadrasteps for Your Feet
So, let’s talk a little bit more about foot structure.
As we said at the top of the blog, feet come in many shapes and sizes. Even if the toe-to-heel length is the same, one foot may be skinny and high arched, while the other wide and flat.
In order to work, an orthotic device—prefabricated or custom—is going to have match the shape of the foot and provide just the right balance of support, motion control, and cushioning to alleviate the discomfort.
When you visit our office, we’ll perform a quick assessment of your feet and walking gait. It only takes a couple of minutes, and once you’re done, we can match you with one of six basic Quadrastep styles:
- A QUAD. These are for people with severe high arches. People with this foot shape tend to get very poor shock absorption from their feet. Their feet don’t roll and flex far enough (pronation) when they walk.
- B QUAD. The B-quad insoles are made for people with mild over-pronation, low-to-medium arches, and mildly inverted heel alignment. Many people with this foot shape have toes that point slightly inward when they walk, rather than straight ahead. Often, this foot type is unilateral (that is, only one foot is affected) due to a leg length discrepancy.
- C QUAD. This style of Quadrasteps is made for those with “duck feet.” The rear-foot isn’t able to pronate properly, so the rotation gets “transferred” to the hips. Hip and lower back pain are a common result.
- D QUAD. Like the B-quad, the D-quad is made for mild over-pronation and low arches—but this time, the heel has a more vertical / neutral alignment instead of inverted. That’s a lot of jargon, but essentially this is a typical “congenital” flatfoot. It is often diagnosed in childhood.
- E QUAD. This gait style is among the most unique—and destructive. The foot is very rigid, and weight is mostly borne along the outside edges of the feet. In fact, when standing still, a person with an E-quad foot type might have their weight fully along the lateral edges with the middle of the foot off the ground entirely.
- F QUAD. This is what we call “true” flatfoot. There’s barely any arch to speak of, and the foot is extremely hyper-mobile and flexible. This makes the feet very unstable. They often splay to the left and right, and forefoot pain is common. Legs and even core muscles also get stressed since they have to work much harder to stabilize the rest of the body.
Not sure what all this means, or how to figure out what foot style you have?
No worries, friend.
During your in-office assessment, we’ll take a quick look at your:
- Arch height
- Relative positioning of your feet and legs
- Gait style (how your feet and ankles move as you walk)
- Patterns of calluses and pressure spots on your soles
Based on what we find, we’ll be able to match you with the correct quad style. Then it’s just a matter of determining which size you need, and whether you require regular or narrow width.
The whole process only takes a couple of minutes, and by the end you’ll have a comfortable, effective pair of orthotics to relieve your pain!
Sound like the answer to your pain? Give Dr. Tim Barry and Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper a call today for an assessment. You can reach our office at (812) 481-7200.