Orthotics are shoe inserts designed to support, align or improve the function of the foot. Orthotics fit comfortably in your shoes and they may be recommended for the treatment of foot or lower limb conditions, which limit mobility or independence.
An orthotic should be made with an individual design in mind. Casting from an exact (mould) prescription will ensure a perfect fit and comfort. The orthotics may be flexible, non-flexible, light or heavy in composition. These neutral position orthotics are suitable for children, teenagers, adults, athletes and the elderly. Benefits of using an orthotic are to eliminate pain, allow normal function of the lower limb and foot and also prevent degeneration of the foot and lower limb.
Cast neutral position orthotics will stabilize and realign the feet into their optimal position.
The orthotics prescribed by your podiatrist are custom made to suit your individual needs and biomechanics (the way your body moves). When prescribing orthotics, your podiatrist provides a comprehensive service to ensure safe and effective foot care which includes:
At Free Your Feet Podiatry, orthotics are manufactured entirely on site. The initial biomechanical assessment is undertaken, followed by the casting of your foot in a 30 minute consultation. Your orthotics are then handmade and ready for collection and fitting in approximately one week.
Podiatrists are the primary health care practitioners for disorders of the foot and lower leg, dealing not only with diagnosis and treatment but also prevention and rehabilitation. For more information about orthotics or foot care, please contact us now
Biomechanics is the study of physical laws governing the way our body moves and includes subjects such as physics, kinesiology and human movements. Podiatrists are particularly interested in the relationship between biomechanical aspects of the foot and painful conditions which may develop within the foot itself or other areas such as the ankle, knee, hip and lower back. The study of biomechanics has established an association between abnormal function in the foot and problems higher in the body.
How do biomechanical abnormalities affect us?
As a species which bears weight on a maximum of only two limbs and only one limb when we run or hop, the correct transfer of force to the walking surface is essential to avoid damaging joints, muscles and ligaments. Abnormalities in the weight bearing function of the foot may therefore expose us to the development of wide range of painful conditions. Some of these conditions will include acute injuries which occur suddenly, such as ligament and tendon tears. Chronic conditions such as various forms of arthritis where “accumulated microtrauma” has over the years,resulted in wear and tear on a joint, may also originate from biomechanical malalignment of our feet and lower limbs.
How can we alter biomechanical abnormalities?
Podiatrists are trained to recognise and assess biomechanical abnormalities in the foot and the lower limb. Techniques used in biomechanical assessment include any or all of the following:
- Measurements of the joint movements, muscle functions and position of the bony structures
- Observation of walking patterns
- Video studies of body movements during walking and running
Following a biomechanical assessment, treatment is prescribed which may include:
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Mobilization techniques to improve joint function
- Modification or changes to footwear
- Orthoses-custom made inserts worn in the patient’s shoe designed to improve the biomechanical function of the feet and lower limb
- Advice on activities such as running, walking and posture
Providing orthoses requires very careful and accurate assessment of the individual patient’s biomechanics. Because orthoses are designed to change patients biomechanics, it is very important that these changes are correct. Errors or inaccuracy in orthotic prescriptions may result in development of other foot problems. Most biomechanical orthoses are constructed from a cast of the patient’s foot held in a ‘neutral’ or ‘corrected’ position and are designed to maintain the foot in that position during walking, standing or running. Should you require any information regarding any aspect contained on this site, please contact us now
A cast is a plaster impression of the foot. It must be made to exacting standards. Pre-made or pre-molded orthotics are generally ill fitting and can often cause ineffective treatment and discomfort. Having a prescription cast, will guarantee an accurate orthotic every time.
The only way a ‘neutral’ position of the foot can be established is to cast.
Unfortunately, this cannot be achieved by an “off the shelf” arch support.