How foot orthotics work
At Complete Podiatry, we see clients every day who suffer from foot and leg problems.
There are many ways that we can help clients with these problems and just one of the ways is to use foot orthotics as part of a complete management plan.
Foot orthotics prescribed by our Podiatrists are custom-designed, prescription shoe inserts that are made using a combination of computer-aided design and manufacture and expert hand finishing to ensure the best quality and results.
You can read more about what foot orthotics are in these articles:
So, how DO foot orthotics work?
There is a bit of confusion about how orthotics work with some people claiming they are arch supports and others claiming they hold your feet in the “right “ position.
The real reason behind how orthotics work is rooted in science and physics.
When you walk, stand or run, your foot is the only part of you that makes contact with the ground.
Every time your foot hits the ground, the ground ‘hits back’ with an equal and opposite force (yay physics!!!) that needs to be managed by the different tissue types in your feet and legs (the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons etc).
All the different tissue types have evolved to respond to these ground contact forces in different ways.
Over time these ‘ground contact forces’, in combination with your footwear, activity levels, strength and biomechanics, can build up.
If the forces developed by your foot hitting the ground are too large or change too quickly, these “normal'' forces can cause damage to your body which represents as pain.
Foot orthotics reduce damaging forces on the feet.
By placing a foot orthotic between your foot and the ground, our Podiatrist can change the way these forces affect your body.
Once damaging forces are lowered in stressed bones or soft tissues, they can begin to heal and we can re-establish normal function without pain.
Once the pain settles and the forces are reduced then we can start to strengthen the damage tissues so they can tolerate more load and force.
The most common questions about orthotics
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we get about how foot orthotics work.
Don’t orthotics just hold your arch up?
Podiatrist prescribed and designed orthotics are much more than arch supports.
In fact, anyone who sells orthotics as ‘arch supports’ really does not understand the function.
Orthotics don’t lift or support your feet, they change the forces affecting them.
That’s all they do.
But getting that right takes expertise, knowledge and the best technology.
Orthotics make your feet weak, don’t they?
Not at all.
Foot orthotics are designed to reduce the load and force damaged tissues are experiencing that stops them from being able to heal properly.
Once we can reduce the damaging force, in conjunction with the great hands-on care we provide, the tissue can begin to heal and can then tolerate more load.
When the damaged tissue begins to heal, you are able to do more and more activity, thus getting stronger and stronger.
So really, wearing foot orthotics as part of a complete management plan to help with foot pain will actually help to make you stronger in the long term.
Can’t you just strengthen your feet?
It is absolutely essential that you strengthen your feet and our Podiatrist make this a priority from day one.
However, once you have injured yourself or have damage to the tissues in your feet or legs, it is vital that we reduce the load in your painful, damaged tissue first to allow it to start the healing process.
This is where orthotics can really help.
Orthotics have been shown by scientific research to change the forces in the tissues of the feet and legs.
So we know using a prescription orthotic will help to change the forces in damaged tissues and allow them to start healing.
Can’t I just get a pair of orthotics at the sports shop?
There is a big difference between customised Podiatrist prescribed orthotics and off the shelf insoles from commercial insole stores and sport shoe shops.
Orthotics prescribed by our podiatrists are custom designed and prescribed after doing a thorough biomechanical examination (watching you walk and move, assessment of your muscle strength and foot function and analysis of the force loading in your feet and legs).
We then use a 3D laser scanner to generate the most accurate model of your foot.
Some Podiatrists use iPad scanners to take the image of your feet and claim they are laser scanners.
iPad scanners are not laser scanners - there is a big functional difference between an iPad scanner and the proper laser scanners we use at Complete Podiatry!
Once we have this 3D model, we specifically design your orthotic to offload the tissue in your foot, legs or body that are experiencing too much load or stress.
This way we can make sure the orthotic you receive is as customised as possible and fits your foot shape perfectly.
We Are Here To Help
If you are experiencing dry, cracked heels, the first thing to do is book an appointment with one of the Podiatrists at Complete Podiatry for a comprehensive assessment to identify what is causing your heel cracks.
Once this is done, we will develop a structured management plan that outlines our best advice for how to help you to return to doing the things you love to do without needing to worry about your feet.
Just call us on 8330 0004 , I'll love to talk to you about how we can help you build an amazing life from the feet up!
Yours in helping to build amazing lives from the feet up.
Director of Complete Podiatry