Podiatry

Shoe inserts or Orthotics

Shoe inserts or Orthotics in simple language

A term often used to describe foot orthotics is “arch supports”. In fact orthotics are far more than that. They are shaped insoles designed to sit under the feet to restore natural foot function. This is necessary when the natural balance of the lower body has been disrupted and this can happen for many reasons. A perfect example is from over pronation, which is better known as a flat foot

Why see a podiatrist?

Anyone can now purchase orthotics over the counter, on the internet or even from info commercials. The truth is, it makes no sense to just purchase any orthotic, or heel raise without examining the foot and lower limb. There are different types of orthotics to achieve different goals. Some improve function, some improve shock absorption, some redistribute body weight and to get the wrong type will worsen a condition. For example if a person had a bony deformity in the arch and you purchased an orthotic with a firm arch support, this could make the problem worse. It is advisable to seek professional advice; you may not need an orthotic and it may be a case of manipulation with specific muscle stretching or strengthening.

Why get foot orthotics then?

In some cases, ligaments and muscles aren’t strong enough to support the foot to prevent further injury when we are walking, playing sport or working. In these cases you need an orthotic to help support the foot. Foot orthotics can also be used to reduce loading on certain areas of the foot, particular for people with diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.

What conditions may be helped?

Briefly to name a few Achilles tendonitis, Foot deformity, Leg length difference, Achy feet, Heel spur, Nerve entrapment, Arthritis, High arched foot, Pain in ball of foot, Diabetes, Knee pain, Planter fasciitis, Flat feet, Lower back pain, Shin pain

Is there different shapes orthotics for different shoes?

Yes there are. Some people require them for there work boots and these tend to be a bit wider, some may require them for their football boots only and these tend to be a slimmer. Of course dress shoes or high heels take a different style. So there are several styles available and lengths available.

Is there orthotics for my sport or activity?

Yes, in fact for active people there are inserts specific for recreation, These include orthotics for, football boots, Hiking boots, Running shoes, Cycle shoes, Ski boots and Snowboarding

Summary

Each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons. The foot serves us well, and of course is taken for granted until there is pain and suddenly normal activity such as walking, jogging, playing sport or standing becomes difficult or painful.