What are orthotics?
Orthotics or orthoses are medical devices which fit inside your shoes to correct and guide the motion of your feet. They work by correcting and supporting your foot’s arch and alignment to restore natural foot function. The most common biomechanical fault is over ‘pronation‘, which is the dropping of your arch causing flat feet, and the rolling inwards of your feet and ankles. Over pronation affects an estimated 70% of the population. Alternatively, high arches can lead to supination, or excessive rolling out of your feet. Both these conditions place stress on other areas of your body.
Correctly fitted orthotics will realign your feet and ankle bones to their neutral position and correct these anomalies. In turn, this will help alleviate painful symptoms not only in the feet but in other parts of your body, such as knee pain, shin pain, heel pain, and lower back pain.
Why are there different types of orthotics?
Our Melbourne podiatrists prescribe different types of orthotics depending on your requirements and your budget. Top of the range are our 3D scanned, custom made orthotics which can be firm or soft. These devices can be made to suit casual shoes or narrower, enclosed dress shoes. These devices are robust and are very effective in correcting severe biomechanical problems. More importantly, custom made devices can be regularly adjusted and recovered to accommodate changes in your lifestyle and foot health. Many patients often purchase two pairs of devices, one pair to suit their wider fitted casual shoes and a narrower, shorter pair for their dress or work shoes.
We also offer pre fabricated orthotics which have been designed by podiatrists in Melbourne. These devices can be customised to suit your feet. They are very good quality but not as robust as 3D scanned orthotics. They are however a very cost effective solution for children with growing feet. These devices offer much greater support than ‘innersoles’ which can be purchased from a chemist or retail outlet.
Why should you see a podiatrist for your orthotics?
A podiatrist is university qualified in the study of the feet and lower limbs. We are specialists in the study of biomechanics so when you see a podiatrist you can be assured that you will be thoroughly assessed before a treatment plan is recommended. Our podiatrists will conduct a biomechanical assessment of your feet and lower limbs, video your gait to analyse how you walk and run and only then will they prescribe a treatment plan for you. Your plan may or may not include orthotics. More importantly, our podiatrist will recommend which type of orthotic will best suit your condition, lifestyle and budget. Private health rebates are applicable if your orthotics are issued by a qualified podiatrist.
It is important to remember that no two feet are the same and that your practitioner has the ability and knowledge to adjust and mould your devices to suit your particular feet. If orthotics are prescribed and fitted correctly, they should not be uncomfortable to wear.