Orthotics are medically prescribed devices that are put inside footwear. They 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. This 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 a dedication to treating the whole person and not just the feet.
Video gait analysis:
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. The patient can see exactly how their foot and leg is functioning which allows them to gain a greater understanding of how their body is moving.
At the Kew Foot Clinic we use the lastest 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.
Podiatrists at the Kew Foot Clinic have a special interest in biomechanics, along with dedication, skill and a 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
Common areas of the foot and lower limb problems orthotics can help with:
- Aching feet
- Flat feet
- Ball of foot pain
- Heel pain
- Arch pain
- Shin/leg pain
- Knee pain
- Back pain
- Corns and Callouses
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendonitis
- Tibialis posterior tendonitis
- Sever’s disease
- Osgood Schlatter’s disease
- Pidgeon toed gait (intoed walk)
- Plantar plate tears
- Stress fractures
- Morton’s neuroma (nerve pain under the ball of the foot)
Different types of orthotics:
There are pre-fabricated orthotics and custom made orthotics. Off the shelf devices can be used for a number of conditions. Custom made orthotics are made for the more complicated or severe foot problems.
The patient’s individual requirements will determine what sort of orthotic is prescribed.
Custom made orthotics are prescribed by our highly qualified and experienced podiatrists. A thorough assessment is carried out and with our expertise we are able to make a very comfortable arch support that will help put the foot and your body into a better functioning position.
Orthotics can be tailor made for a specific pair of shoes. They can be made to fit football and soccer boots, ladies high heeled shoes, dress shoes, school shoes and runners.
Who can benefit from orthotics?
Orthotics can be used for very young children with foot problems through to the very elderly foot.
Orthotics work by improving foot alignment which has a “domino” effect up the body. If your feet are in the correct position, your knees, hips, back and pelvic tilt will be in an improved alignment.
Improved foot alignment = Improved performance = alleviation of pain = prevention of injury
After wearing my orthotics, my legs, knees and back were sore. Is this normal?
Some people will develop discomfort in the foot, legs or lower back when they first start to wear their orthotics. This is normal and is due to a realignment of the whole lower extremity and pelvis. Muscles and ligaments have to adjust to being in this new position or new alignment.
When we fit the orthotics we advise the patient on how many hours a day they should be wearing them. This is what is called a “wear in period” so the majority of people who wear orthotics for the first time don’t usually get any pain unless they haven’t followed the correct advice.
However, if a patient does experience “wear in pain” the pain will disappear in 3 – 6 weeks for the majority of patients. If it doesn’t your orthotics may require a slight adjustment.
If you would like to discuss any foot problem you have and whether orthotics could help please contact the Kew Foot Clinic on (03) 98536877.