Orthotics are insoles that fit into your shoes and your sporting footwear. They can be customised to suit your unique foot. Alternatively, there are ready-made off the shelf orthotics that offer effective foot control and stability, as well as providing support to assist movement and relieve discomfort. They are made from a variety of materials (soft, cushioned, flexible, rigid) to suit your individual needs, because no two feet are the same!
Not everyone needs a personalised orthotic: they aren’t cheap! Our specialist Mary Kent will assess your needs and evaluate your overall physical condition including your muscle length and strength, the way you walk, and the shoes you wear. She will discuss with you what she feels is the best approach to treating your issues, and this may mean orthotics are not the solution at this stage. Mary uses her 25 years' experience of clinical work dealing with foot biomechanics to get the best for you and your feet.
A functional orthotic used inside the shoe or trainer allows the lower leg and foot to operate in a more optimal position. Appropriate treatment, including orthotic fitting, can have dramatic effects on conditions such as shin splints, planta fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and bunions, as well as knee, hip, and back pain. Also, more complex neurological and progressive developmental conditions which affect the way we walk, can be greatly helped with a personalised insole.
However, the correction of biomechanical factors by treatment and muscle balance training alone can often be all you need. An external orthotic is not always suitable.
On your first visit, you will have an hour-long assessment which will include an extensive physical joint and spinal overview, as well as muscle length and strength testing. Mary will start a treatment program which may include a casting or fitting for a personalised foot orthosis. Your cast is sent off to a mechanic who makes the insole as prescribed by Mary. This process takes about two weeks. When your customised orthotics arrive, Mary will fit them to ensure correct fitting and comfort. She will follow up by phone after two weeks to ensure you are happy with the product.
Alternatively, she may recommend a simple off the shelf orthotic in combination with a lower limb strength and stretching program.
Often at Ranelagh Physiotherapy Clinic, we see patients who have paid a lot of money for orthotics that they don’t wear. They may be uncomfortable, or too bulky or just don’t have any effect on their pain. We take the time and the care to ensure the orthotics we prescribe are the best you will ever have.
Biomechanical deviations in the foot are a very common occurrence. Many people are over-pronating (flat-footed) or supinating (high arched foot). Varying foot function will cause the muscles in the leg to work in a different way, often leading to muscle imbalances and injury. This can become more obvious when we become more active, as increases in activity or sport can place more pressure on the feet than normal day to day activities.
A biomechanical assessment of the foot and the lower limbs will aid diagnosis and treatment of issues such as:
- Dropped arches or high arches
- Flat feet
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shin splints
- Achilles tendonitis
- Heel pain
- Back, hip or knee pain on activity
- Bone and joint issues
- Developmental and neurological issues