What is Orthotic Therapy?
Orthotic therapy is the use of orthoses, better known as shoe inserts to help improve the way we walk. The purpose of orthotics is to redistribute pressure evenly along the soles of our feet. This is done by providing support to improve the alignment of the foot joints which in turn improve the functioning of our foot and leg muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons. They are designed to fit comfortably in your shoes.
There are many different types of orthotics ranging from prefabricated or off the shelf orthotics, cushioned insoles, semi-custom made orthotics and fully custom made medical orthotics. Orthotics are used as an adjunct to appropriate footwear based on your foot type, soft tissue rehabilitation such as deep connective tissue massage, shockwave therapy, exercises and stretches as necessary depending on your specific foot concern.
Different types of Orthotics:
- 1. Prefabricated orthotics: Prefabs or off the shelf orthotics are pre-made shoe inserts which are a standard one size fits all. The purpose of these types of insoles is to provide gentle support and do not specifically address the individual’s foot concerns. The main purpose of these type of shoe inserts is to provide cushioning and not support.
- 2. Semi-custom orthotics: Provide specialised support based on the way your feet are shaped. They relieve a reasonable amount of stress points due to your foot posture. The main purpose of semi-custom orthotics are to provide support for the feet.
- 3. Custom made orthotics: Custom made orthotics are the most medically appropriate and aim to address your specific foot concerns. They provide the exact support and cushioning based on your exact foot and arch shape and contour. They relieve the most precise amount of pressure and stress points due to your foot posture. They aim to to provide the maximum support and cushioning your feet require to help address your specific concerns.
Different conditions that can be treated by Orthotics:
Many conditions and foot concerns may benefit from wearing orthotics. Some of these conditions include:
- Overuse injuries and pain caused by a flat foot or high arch
- Plantar fasciitis or heel spurs
- Intoeing or pigeon toe walk
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Knee pain
- Arthritis (both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis)
- Painful and reoccurring callus or corns on the soles of your feet
In most occasions, custom made orthotics can help avoid surgery to fix flat feet. Orthotics can reduce the risk of injuries by 28%, and reduces the risk of stress fractures by 41%.
Who can make custom made orthotics?
Podiatrists are qualified and highly educated in prescribing custom made orthotics appropriate for different foot types and complaints. Each custom made orthotic is different and you will never find two pairs that are identical.
Custom orthotics may not be appropriate for all individuals or all foot complaints. It is always best to have an initial biomechanical assessment with your Podiatrist to determine which, if any orthotics would better suit your feet and your concern.
Once you have discussed custom orthotics with your Podiatrist, you will be booked in for another type of assessment which will determine the ‘prescription’ of your orthotics. 3D foot scans will also be taken of both your feet and will be used to make them. Our custom made medical orthotics are Australian made and designed by experienced Podiatrists, so you can be sure you are getting the best in quality and function.
Dr. Fatima Al-Kathmi (Podiatrist)
The Foot Force Podiatry.
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