What are orthotics?
Custom foot orthotics are prescription medical devices specifically made for you and no one else. Custom orthotics precisely contour to your feet and are designed purely for your biomechanics and foot type. Only a licensed podiatrist is equipped to prescribe custom orthotics as they have studied and trained in lower body anatomy, biomechanics and the actual fabrication of custom foot orthoses for a minimum of four years.
Custom orthotics can be useful in not only the acute treatment but also the prevention of a variety of conditions. Orthotics have the ability to lessen pains by reducing or removing harmful forces surrounding the injured structures in the foot and ankle. Orthotics are also beneficial in correcting the alignment of the lower limb and feet, and can be used to improve walking/ running efficiency.
Do I need orthotics?
You may have heard that if you have flat feet or if you “roll in”, extra support or orthotics of some kind would be beneficial for you. This is a common misconception. “Rolling in” otherwise known as pronation, is an essential mechanism in lower limb biomechanics. If we did not pronate at the appropriate times during gait, there would be a lack of shock attenuation and increased soft tissue loads. This, more often than not, can eventually result in an array of potential injuries. It is instead important for a podiatrist to analyse your gait and determine if pronation is occurring at the right times, and if it’s a normal or harmful amount.
At Studio Podiatry, our podiatrists undertake a comprehensive biomechanical assessment to work out the best treatment plan for you. Before assessing your biomechanics, we’ll consider your current/ previous injury history as well as clearly identify the goals you are wishing to achieve moving forward. After a full assessment, our podiatrist will develop a treatment plan moving forward. This treatment plan can include a personalised exercise program, footwear advice, return to run program and soft tissue therapies.
If orthotics are recommended, it is important to know that you will never be pressured to proceed with getting orthotics. Our podiatrists strongly believe in a holistic approach to treatment and whilst orthotics may be an important component of a management plan, they will never be the only.
Types of Orthotics
With a multitude of options for off the shelf innersole devices from chemists/ footwear stores along with custom foot orthotics prescribed by podiatrists, it can be difficult to know what (if any) device would be the most suitable for you and your needs.
- Have the ability to stabilise a joint, reduce pain, prevent deformity, provide better positioning, offload forces around painful structures or improve the biomechanical function of the foot
- Support is never just placed in the arch- where support is placed is highly dependant on your personal foot type, biomechanics and pathology
- Can be made out of a variety of materials/ densities tailored to be most appropriate for you
- Ability to design orthotics on an individual basis with different scripts to suit the differing biomechanics of both feet e.g. correction of limb length discrepancies
- Ability for a perfect, custom fit to a wide variety of shoe types
- Longevity of the device
Off The Shelf Insole
- Whilst cheaper, can lead to further complications down the track
- Only apply support to the arch region- this may place harmful loads on surrounding structures depending on your pathology
- Can irritate and cause pain in the midfoot region in people who have a low arch profile
- In injuries they are unable to effectively offload harmful forces to reduce foot pains
- Too soft or don’t contour the foot well enough to have a positive impact
- One size fits all approach
- Wear out quickly
- Difficulty fitting in shoes
What conditions can custom orthotics help to treat?
Custom orthotics can be a beneficial aspect of a management plan in the treatment of lower limb/ foot pathology such as:
- Heel and arch pain
- High arches/ low arches
- Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
- Bunions and big toe joint pain
- Hammer/ claw toes
- Ankle pain
- Knee pain
- Limb length difference
- Lower back pain
- Hip pain
- Knocked knees or bowed legs
- Joint restrictions/ pains
- Ball of foot pain
- Ankle pain and/ or instability
- Injury prevention
- Diabetic related changes- neuropathy, ulceration
- Painful callous/ corns
- And so much more
How do we make our custom orthotics?
The first step in the process to custom foot orthotics begins with your initial biomechanical appointment where our podiatrist’s will undertake a musculoskeletal assessment. To begin the design process of your custom orthotic, we take a 3D laser scan of your foot. This allows us to digitally design an individualised custom orthotic for you. Once the design process is completed by your podiatrist, our orthotics are either 3D printed or machine milled to your exact measurements to best suit your requirements and footwear. This means the design and orthotic device is touched by no one else other than one of our experienced podiatrists at Studio Podiatry.