Have you ever tried to start exercising more, only to be held back by foot, shin or knee pain? Do you have foot deformities like bunions or fallen arches? Well, I’m glad to say that either Orthotic Insoles or Orthotic Footwear may solve your problems!
Orthotic insoles are used by people all around you, including top athletes trying to prevent shin splints, and active older adults trying to accommodate bunions and foot arthritis. I’ve been wearing them for years so I can say with confidence that well-prescribed orthotics can be extremely comfortable and beneficial.
As Plane as the Nose on your Face!
It’s important to realise that there’s no such thing as a normal foot shape. The features of everyone’s feet are unique, and the majority of our foot characteristics are inherited from our parents. Just like we all have different shapes to our nose, so too do we all have our own unique foot posture.
The Cornerstone of our Body
Despite their small size, the force of half our body mass travels through each of our feet with every step we take. Over the years these forces, combined with poor footwear choices, can cause poor foot posture, which leads to aches and pains. In the same way, poor back posture leads to increased aches and pains in our lower back. Small alterations in our foot posture also adversely affects the posture of our whole body, so the effects can be wide-ranging.
Orthotics for all Occasions
Something you may not know about orthotics is that there are different styles of insoles available for whatever activities you like to enjoy. There are different styles of insoles available for football boots, golfing shoes and high-heeled shoes as well as your everyday runners. I advise my patients to get orthotics for the shoes in which they are getting their pain/discomfort because this is where there is a problem that needs to be solved.
By the way, you’re Already Wearing Orthotics!
Whenever you put on a pair of shoes, you’re essentially putting your foot into an orthotic device. That’s because every pair of shoes alters your foot posture to some degree. The problem is that some of the shoes we wear negatively affect our foot posture, while others offer a benefit. You know a shoe is bad for you if you’re getting aches or pain when you wear them!
Comprehensive Assessment is Crucial
Feet are very complex, and a full assessment is essential to prescribing the correct devices. 5 minute assessments in places like Elverys or Foot Solutions are delivered by poorly trained staff and don’t take nearly enough factors into account. When I assess my patient’s feet, I’m looking to isolate my patients natural inherent foot shape, and then observe how this changes when your feet are bearing your weight. I’ll also look to see how this foot posture changes further when you’re walking or running. I’ll take note of any foot abnormalities, as well as the areas (if any) where you experience pain.
Small Changes, Enormous Benefits
When determining what type of device prescribe, I build a mock-orthotic underneath your foot while you’re standing in my clinic. I use a variety of oddly shaped plastic wedges and cushions to mould your foot into your ideal posture. If you’re comfortable with the end result and I’m satisfied that the alterations are sufficient, I’ll send all the appropriate information to the lab where your custom insoles will be constructed. Insoles normally take about two week to be delivered to my clinic. You could have your very own pair of custom orthotics sooner than you think!
Sean is a Chartered Physiotherapist and sees patients in his Sandyford clinic as well as in their homes.