What are orthotics?
Orthotics (also known as orthoses) are medical foot devices prescribed by a podiatrist or heath professional, designed specifically to improve foot function and lower leg mechanics. They are placed into your footwear and work by restoring and supporting the foot’s normal arch and alignment.
Why is foot function important during gait?
The function of your feet is very important when walking or running. Ideally your feet should roll in slightly (pronate) at ground contact as this helps to absorb shock and forces associated with heel strike. However during mid stance and single leg stance the foot should stop rolling and be more stable as it supports the leg and prepares for propulsion. During propulsion the foot should be stable and act as a rigid lever so you get maximum propulsion with little output at toe off.
If your foot rolls in too much or excessively pronates then it can cause excess rotation and strain on other joints further up the leg. It causes the foot to become unstable and a-propulsive during gait. This instability is then transferred to other joints further up the leg. Excess foot pronation causes excess internal rotation of the lower leg, knee, hip and pelvis. The result is more strain on muscles and joints, poor alignment, reduced stability and an increased likelihood of foot and lower leg pain.
How can orthotics benefit your feet?
Biomechanical faults can be detected by our podiatrists and are a common cause of lower leg and foot injuries. Some common biomechanical faults observed during gait include; excess pronation, over supination, ankle instability, pelvic tilt, and leg length discrepancies. Orthotics when placed in appropriate footwear eliminates these faults, which results in improved stability, muscle function, lower leg mechanics and gait. This can help treat and prevent common foot and lower leg symptoms (see below for specific conditions):
Orthotics prescribed at our clinic can help treat the following common children’s conditions that affect the foot and lower leg:
- Flat feet
- Knock knees
- Bow legs
- Growing pains
- Sever’s disease
- Osgood-Schlatter disease
Please visit our children’s podiatrist services page for more information on these common children’s foot conditions.
Orthotics prescribed at our clinic can help treat some of the following common conditions that cause foot pain:
- Ingrown toenails
- Plantar plate injuries
- Stress fractures
- Sever’s disease (children)
- Plantar fasciitis – heel pain
- Flat feet
- Joint pain
- Tendon pain
Orthotics prescribed at our clinic can help treat some of the following common causes ankle pain:
- Ankle sprains and instability
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Stress fractures
- Joint pain
- Tendon pain
Please visit our sports podiatry page for more information on some of these common ankle conditions.
Orthotics prescribed at our clinic can help treat the following common conditions that cause leg pain:
- Shin splints
- Compartment syndrome
- Muscle cramps
- Tendon pain
Orthotics prescribed at our clinic can help treat some of the following common causes knee pain:
- Patellofemoral pain
- Patellar tendinitis
- Osgood-schlatter disease (children)
- Hamstring tendinitis
Please visit our sports injury page for more information on common conditions that cause knee pain.
Orthotics prescribed at our clinic can help treat the following common conditions that cause hip pain:
- Iliotibial band syndrome
Orthotics prescribed at our clinic can help treat the following common causes of lower back pain:
- Spinal instability
- Muscle strains
- Leg length discrepancies
Who can benefit from arch support?
Children’s orthotics can be of great benefit to children’s feet especially during growth and development. Children’s feet are the corner stone to support and stability. When placed in footwear these foot devices improve foot function and thus improves a child’s alignment and stability.
At our clinic our children’s podiatrists are experienced in prescribing orthotics for children of all ages. These foot devices are used at our clinic to help treat a number of common children’s foot problems. When prescribed accurately children’s orthotics can help treat growing pains, Sever’s disease, flat feet, foot pain, ankle pain, knee pain and more. They also help protect a child’s foot structure and help prevent foot joint degeneration and deformities later in life.
Orthotics can be of great benefit to adult’s feet. By restoring the foot’s natural arch and function these foot devices help improve lower leg alignment. This can help prevent or slow down the progression of osteoarthritis in knees and hips that are very common later in life.
Our podiatrists are experienced in prescribing orthotics for all adult feet including flat feet and high arch feet. They are used in our clinic to help treat a number of common adult foot conditions including plantar fasciitis, heel pain, achilles tendinopathy, ankle pain, shin splints, knee pain, hip pain and even lower back pain. They also help redistribute pressure on adult feet and this can help reduce painful blisters, corns and callus.
Orthotics can be of great importance to senior’s feet or feet of the elderly. No age is too old and when placed in appropriate footwear they can make a big difference to your mobility, which is vital to your overall health. As we age our muscles and ligaments lose strength making older people less stable and more prone to tripping and falls. Orthotics work by supporting the foot’s arch and this can help improve lower leg stability and balance.
At our clinic these foot devices are often used prescribed by our podiatrists to help treat common foot conditions affecting senior’s feet. They can help reduce pain associated with arthritis, bunions, tendon pain, muscle pain, joint pain, as well as painful.
Sports orthotics can be of great benefit to athletes and sporting feet. When we run we place up to three times our body weight on our feet so proper foot function is vital to prevent injuries. When used inside sporting footwear or athletic shoes these foot devices can help your feet and legs function better. The result is improved lower leg muscle function and less muscle fatigue. They also help prevent common lower leg sports injuries and help athletes perform better and longer at their chosen sport.
Our podiatrists are experienced in prescribing sports orthotics for all patients including children’s sporting feet. These foot devices can be tailor made to suit individual sporting activities including, football, soccer, cricket, netball, basketball, running, tennis and other activities. At our podiatry clinic sports orthotics are used to help treat and prevent a number of lower leg sporting injuries in both adult and children’s feet. This includes plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, stress fractures, Sever’s disease, Osgood-schlatter disease, ankle pain, shin splints, knee pain, hip pain and more.
Types of Orthotics
Cushioning orthotics are primarily prescribed by our podiatrists to increase cushioning and shock absorption the foot. This is particularly important in older feet as the fat pad reduces under the forefoot. Arthritic foot types and sporting athletes can also benefit from these cushioning devices.
Cushioning orthotics are made from soft materials with good shock absorption properties. They can be designed as either a flat insole or a device which includes some arch support.
Pressure relief orthotics are prescribed by our podiatrists to redistribute pressure away from high stress and painful areas (such as metatarsal heads) on the bottom of the foot. This can help patients who are suffering from arthritis or painful lesions such as corns, callus and scar tissue. This type of foot device can also help treat and prevent ulcers on the sole of the foot and thus help prevent more serious infection.
Pressure relief orthotics are designed by our podiatrists and incorporate soft accommodative padding built into the design to redistribute pressure. Thy can be designed as a flat insole or incorporated into prefabricated or custom designs. Custom orthotics with pressure relief padding incorporated into the cover design work the best as the customised arch will help take more load off other parts of the foot such as the forefoot.
Functional orthotics are primarily prescribed by our podiatrists to improve foot function and lower leg mechanics. These foot devices are biomechanically designed to help prevent excess foot pronation and abnormal movement of the foot during gait. They also improve lower leg mechanics, alignment and stability. This can help treat plantar fasciitis, heel pain, foot pain, ankle pain, shin pain, knee pain, hip pain and even lower back pain.
Why choose us for orthotic therapy?
- Our podiatrists unlike other health professionals, are university trained in biomechanics, gait analysis and orthotic therapy.
- We have unsurpassed knowledge about the foot, its structure, muscles and its function.
- Our podiatrists have the expertise to prescribe orthotics to help treat problems associated with for children’s feet, adult, seniors and sporting feet.
- We know what type of orthotics work best to treat difficult and chronic foot conditions like plantar fasciitis and heel spur pain.
- We know that orthotics are often only part of the solution in helping to solve foot, ankle, lower leg, knee, hip and back pain. That’s why we prescribe you with other treatment, such specific strengthening and stretching exercises, to help solve your problem.
- Our clinic stocks a wide range of prefabricated devices to suit all foot types and budgets.
- Our podiatrists are experienced in prescribing custom orthotics for all ages including children, adults, seniors and sporting athletes.
- We can prescribe custom devices to suit almost any footwear including sports shoes, business shoes and slim fitting ladies fashion shoes.