What are orthotics?
Orthotics are medically prescribed devices that are put inside footwear.
Orthotics are supportive and corrective devices designed to apply direct forces to specific aspects of the foot to improve foot function. They also can change postural stability (pelvic tilt), decrease certain tissue stresses and improve foot and lower limb function. They do this by realigning the tracking of muscles and tendons into particular joints and decreasing the stress.
In particular, orthotics change the pelvic tilt along with your knee and hip alignment. By doing this, it improves your body’s functioning ability and reduces the likelihood of developing pain and more serious pathology.
Orthotics can be made for the very young foot to the very elderly foot. These are designed individually and specifically depending on your age, activity and pathology present.
Foot, ankle, knee and hip biomechanics are extremely complex. To understand your individual gait and to prescribe the right orthotic for you is an art as well as a science. It also takes skill, experience and dedication of treating not just a foot but a whole person.
Video gait analysis is an extremely valuable tool for both the podiatrist and the patient.
We use a treadmill and a computerised video gait analysis software program to video patients walking, jogging and running. The patient is able to see what they look like from behind as it can be freeze framed and put into slow motion to see exactly how a foot and leg is functioning and allows the patient to gain a greater understanding of how their body is moving.
At the Kew Foot Clinic we use the latest technology, enabling the most accurate assessment of the patients’ movements and biomechanics at higher speeds. Biomechanical faults are more easily detected which greatly assists in finding the best treatment outcome.
How do orthotics help back pain?
Back pain can be present for multiple reasons. There are daily issues like standing too long on hard surfaces through to sitting incorrectly at a desk all day or even carrying children on your hip. However, the most common cause of back pain is due to alignment issues from the feet up.
Even if your feet don’t hurt they may be contributing to your overall postural imbalance. If pain or discomfort occurs in a specific area of the body – anywhere from the foot to your neck individually designed orthotics may help relieve much of your back pain being experienced.
Orthotics have been shown to specifically reduce lower back pain and improve the pelvic tilt and posture. It has also been shown to help in all ages from 5 year olds through to the elderly. It is never too late to get help. We may not be able to completely cure your pain but in most cases significant improvement is felt. Sometimes we need to involve other regimes. This may include improved cushioning footwear or even seeing a physiotherapist or simply getting a massage.
The way the foot strikes the ground significantly affects the way your back absorbs compression to the spine. By introducing an arch support or orthotic this can help in shock absorption but will also put the muscles and tendons in the lower limb into an improved functional position, taking stresses off the joints, in particular the lower back.
Common foot problems that can contribute to back pain are:
Foot, ankle, knee and hip biomechanics are extremely complex. To understand your individual gait and to prescribe the right orthotic for you is an art as well as a science. It also takes skill, experience and a dedication to treating the whole person and not just the feet.
Podiatrists at the Kew Foot Clinic have this art, dedication, skill and holistic approach to help you with your foot, knee or back pain.
Gait analysis and prescription of an orthotic is an art as well as a science
Come and see us if you have lower back pain. Call Kew Foot Clinic on 03 9853 6877 to make an appointment for the appropriate treatment.