Custom Fitted Orthotics
They aren’t just for foot problems?
A custom orthotic is designed to align the foot and ankle into a properly anatomical position. They resemble insoles, but are biomechanical medical devices to correct specific foot imbalances. They reduce strain on your body by bringing your feet back to proper alignment.
Many people may not have discomfort in their feet, but that does bit mean that there is no dysfunction causing pain in other areas. If your feet are unable to disperse the impact from walking all day then that will result in wear and tear in other areas. Pain in other areas may be a direct result from a biomechanical fault in your feet.
If you have not previously been checked, you should make an appointment to see if orthotics can help you!
There is a 'product assessment' appointment in our online booking system if you only want to purchase products.
I have been posting some orthotic impressions lately so figured I should write about orthotics. Most people may not think they need orthotics because their feet don’t hurt. That is a very small aspect of why people need orthotics.
Take a look at this picture to see what happens with your foot and the force dispersion through the foot when you walk. You start with heel strike (when your heel hits the ground), there is then some supination that occurs (more weight on the outside of your foot), and as you get closer to toe off, the foot will pronate (more pressure on the inside of your foot).
Although this is a simplistic view, there is a lot more that actually goes on with the foot, ankle, knee, hip and low back when walking. There is a lot of muscle contraction and joint movement that travels up the body. Take a look at this video to see how complex walking actually is.
Now that you know a little bit about what the foot and body has to do just to take a step, we can discuss why orthotics may be needed.
With all of the muscle contraction that occurs, and the joint movements when walking, it would make sense that if one thing is not moving correctly, the rest may have increased stress on it. The most common reason for orthotics is to help dissipate those forces that go from the foot all the way to the low back. If one of those areas is not working correctly, the ability to dissipate the forces that the ground puts back in to your foot is diminished, causing compensation, dysfunction, and pain all the way up the body. It may seem odd that someone with low back pain may be prescribed orthotics, but when looking at the whole area, it now makes sense.
There are certain biomechanical faults in the foot that may also result in someone needing orthotics. Most people talk about their arch. A person may have a large arch, no arch, or somewhere in between. It is also the foot or arch profile that may result in your ability to dissipate those forces. As we discussed, you need to be able to fluidly supinate (more pressure on the outside of the foot) and pronate (more pressure on the inside of the foot) and if there is an inability to do so properly, it will cause dysfunction.
The two orthotic casts that I posted this week are seen below side by side.
If you are able to tell, the right set has bilateral pes planus (flat feet on both sides – low arches). It makes sense that this person will have difficulty with supination as their foot is in such a pronated state, and before toe off, they may actually have increased pronation. If you imagine having a low arch and increased pronation (pressure on the inside of your foot), that will change the angle of the lower leg to the knee, the higher leg to the hip, and the hip to the pelvis. This may predispose someone to injury or in the future increased degenerative changes.
As you can see, orthotics are not only for people with feet problems, but they help dissipate the forces from the ground all the way up your body and decrease any compensation or dysfunction that may come from it.
If you have any questions or think you may benefit from orthotics, don’t hesitate to contact us!
Orthotics can help with:
- Metatarsalgia (pain in the foot)
- Ankle pain
- Shin Splints
- Low back pain
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Plantar fasciitis / heel spur
- Morton's neuroma
- Hallux Valgus (bunions)
- Patella femoral pain syndrome
- Being on your feet all day!