What are orthotics?
Orthotics are a shoe insert used to treat a variety of foot and musculoskeletal issues. There are two types of orthotics:
- Off-the-shelf orthotics, usually no more than a rubber or neoprene insole, that is pre-moulded for common complaints like flat feet and RSI pain.
- Custom orthotics that are made specially to suit your feet, and used to correct biomechanical issues in feet, lower limbs and the lower back.
Why would you need custom orthotics?
Contrary to popular belief, orthotics do much more than provide arch support – however this is about the limit of what off-the-shelf orthotics can do for you. Custom orthotics on the other hand are designed to lift, cup, cushion and realign the pressures in your feet. In this way form orthotics are conservative treatment for many common feet problems:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Diabetes-related sensation loss (neuropathy)
- Flat feet
- High arches
- Achilles tendonitis
- Hip misalignment
- Lower back pain
1. Orthotics can help with feet deformities
Genetic and biomechanical deformities can cause acute pain, ongoing discomfort, and problems playing sport. Even a minor misalignment can lead to heel pain (plantar fasciitis), to weak ankles, knee injuries and stamina problems due to foot pain.
Orthotics are specially made to address these issues by realigning and rebalancing feet to minimise stress points and correct foot function.
2. Orthotics can help during pregnancy
Sudden, prolonged pressure on your feet from weight gained during pregnancy can lead to poor circulation and joint pain. Custom orthotics account for the extra weight by supporting and cushioning feet. This means:
- Better blood circulation
- Less strain on knees
- Lower back pain minimised
- Increased comfort when walking
- No need for special shoes
3. Orthotics for Back Pain
Orthotics are often prescribed for back pain – but for the wrong reasons. Here at The Foot Pod we look at how your feet roll, how the ankles and knees move, and your hip alignment, to determine the root cause of back pain.
Using a highly accurate 3D laser scanning technique we then create custom orthotics that realign foot pressure/movement. In time this lengthens out contracted muscles to evenly distribute the weight load whilst wearing them and reduce pressure at the back.
Orthotics also provide cushioning during high-intensity activity like sport, reducing the burden on your back and minimising the risk of injury or chronic pain.
Are orthotics worth the money?
Think of custom form orthotics as a piece of equipment to help with support or sports performance. Many people are advised to get orthotics for arch support and choose the off-the-shelf option, bypassing a podiatrist appointment. This can ease cases of mild flat-footedness in the short term, but without a custom solution any major biomechanical issues are going to keep getting worse.