Foot orthotics are devices prescribed to support and treat conditions of the foot and lower limb. They are used as part of a treatment plan in conjunction with exercise and stretching. They can helpful in the treatment of conditions such as:
The process for providing the correct type of orthotics begins with a thorough biomechanic assessment of the foot and lower limb. This includes watching the way a person walks or gait assessment and then taking a series of measurements on joint movement. This often involves the use of gravity goniometers and other tools.
Customized foot orthotics are taken from “casts” of the foot. These casts can be made from Plaster, Foam Impressions or from digital 3D models taken from laser scanning of the person’s feet. This is important as this allows them to be designed specifically for you.
A prescription is then made for the most appropriate orthotics. This can be to support or splint an injury or to promote improved joint function. This includes the choice of materials used to create the orthotics.
In general there are two main categories of orthotics- Accommodative and Functional. Accommodative orthotics are created to cushion and evenly distribute pressure across the soles of the feet. They are prescribed to treat foot deformities such as prominent bony areas which are painful to walk on. They are made out of softer materials and as such tend to need replacing every few years.
Functional orthotics are designed to change the way the foot joints move by apply pressure to certain areas under the foot. They are made to reduce joint stress and thus foot pain and require a period of time to break them in so you can get used to the new feelings and movement they provide to your feet. They are made from harder materials but will bend slightly to provide shock absorption as you walk.