Can Orthotics Help My Feet?
We are often asked about orthotics to go in people’s shoes. They want to know if orthotics or custom insoles might help them with foot pain or with walking.
It is important that before any intervention like this, you have a diagnosis which relates to the pain or difficulty you are having. We will not advise orthotic insoles unless they are part of a treatment plan for a particular condition.
Types of Orthotics
Orthotics come in lots of different types and shapes. The best orthotic insoles depend on a number of things. Ready made orthotics will be specifically modified to your foot shape, to your footwear, to your type of activity, or to the difficulty that you’re having. Custom made orthotics may be necessary, particularly if you have different size or shaped feet, or an ongoing problem that will require long term use. Sports orthotics and orthotics for children need a number of careful considerations to ensure the prescription is comfortable and effective.
To make Custom Orthotics we will take a 3D laser scan of your feet, then spend time developing a prescription which specifies the particular features we require. We have them produced at Footwork Podiatric Laboratory, who we’ve been working with now for over 20 years. They will either be 3D printed or milled from a piece of foam with extra soft or firm materials added as is required.
Are Orthotics Arch Supports?
Some people think that orthotics are just arch supports, but this is not correct. Arch support is one thing that an orthotic can do, if we think it is appropriate. Generally orthotic inserts do not focus on your arch, but on the specific joint, ligament or tendon which is causing the trouble. Using arch supports alone to treat foot pain is like buying a TV which only has one channel!
Just as there are hundreds of TV channels to watch, there are also hundreds of options that we must consider when prescribing your orthotics.
Do orthotics make my feet weak?
Sometimes people think orthotics cause weakness in your feet. This is simply not true, and was an idea promoted by some people and companies without any scientific evidence. The types of orthotics we produce and supply will only target the specific area of the foot where the problem is by reducing the load in that area, not completely resting it or making it weak, but allowing it to heal and to strengthen. When the time is right you may also commence a prescribed exercise program to improve strength and flexibility.
Can Orthotics Change My Feet?
Another thing people ask is whether an orthotic can change your foot shape. People who have a flat foot, a high arch, or toe deformities wonder if an orthotic can help with that. Orthotics can support your foot in a different position, but unfortunately they can not make a permanent change to your foot shape. Some childrens insoles can help growing feet whilst the bones are still developing, but only for a few specific conditions.
Orthotics are just one part of the treatment
Orthotics are always just a part of your treatment plan to reach the goals that we’ve agreed. We might include orthotics at some point in your treatment plan and they’re certainly not going to be the first thing that we do. We will talk to you about exercises, possibly shockwave therapy or dry needling, you may really be required to change or alter your footwear to support your feet in a different way.
Orthotics have many uses
The end of the day orthotics can treat all kinds of foot and leg pain, walking and running problems, help in the management of injuries and rehabilitation and be used to offload pressure from different areas of your feet. Perhaps if there are corns or calluses hard skin underneath the feet.
Should I get hard or soft orthotics?
If you want to know more about hard or soft orthotics, then check out this page where there’s a video specifically about that. The answer is that it depends.