Orthotics are supportive devices that are used to alter or modify foot function and are designed to treat, adjust, and support various biomechanical foot disorders.
The most effective orthotics, however, are custom-made devices that are crafted to meet the specific needs of a particular individual. Custom orthotics are created after walking over a foot plate which has over 300 frames per second. It very accurately assesses the biomechanics of your foot throughout the walking motion. Once we have this information from the gaitscan, podiatrists design a device that balances out deformities and corrects misalignments.
What are Orthotics?
A custom orthotic is a device designed to align the foot and ankle into the most anatomically efficient position. They look like insoles, but they are biomechanical medical appliances that are custom made to correct your specific foot imbalance. Custom orthotics work on your feet much like glasses work on your eyes – they reduce stress and strain on your body by bringing your feet back into proper alignment. The plastic body of the custom orthotic helps to re-align the foot by redirecting and reducing certain motion that takes place during the gait cycle. Custom orthotics fit into your shoes as comfortably as an insole.
Who Needs Orthotics?
Just about anyone can benefit from custom orthotics. It is estimated that over 85% of the population would benefit from custom orthotics. They are generally very comfortable to wear. Most health insurance companies give rebates for these orthotics. Talk to your physiotherapist about orthotics to find out if they will help you.
Foot Problems and Orthotics
Our feet and their alignment with the ground can be a source or pain and misery. However, much can be done to relieve foot pain.
The shape of our limbs, e.g. squinting patellae, knock knees or bow legs can alter the way we walk and contribute to injury over time. Sometimes flat feet which may not cause a problem in youth can become a source of bother as we get older. Controlling our weight can be an important factor in managing foot pain.
Orthotics provide support for the feet, which by improving alignment and controlling motion, reduces or eliminates pain in the feet, ankles, shins, knees, hips and lower back.
In combination with stretching and strengthening exercises, orthotics correct alignment in gait and prevent the development of strain or pain. The style of orthotic that the physiotherapist will select is dependent on your injury, your foot type, lifestyle and footwear and these are prescribed following a full biomechanical assessment.
A BIOMECHANICAL EXAMINATION INVOLVES:
- Examination of feet, legs, hips and lower spine
- Complete history and analysis
- Range of motion testing
- Alignment tests
- Gait analysis
- Foot wear assessment
- Recommendation of orthotic type considering your budget and preferred option
- Taking an imprint and fitting of appropriate orthotics.