Orthotics - Everything you need to know
The production of custom orthotics is an exacting process and determines whether or not you receive quality devices that will best treat your condition. As with everything, there are well-made orthotics and poorly-made orthotics. The ability of an orthotic device to eliminate your pain is dependent on the quality of the orthotics.
The most important factor in designing foot orthotics that will provide optimum function is an orthotic prescription based on a thorough examination by an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner. I cannot emphasize this enough. The exam should include a complete biomechanical examination and gait analysis.
Following a biomechanical and gait examination, there are three important components to ensure you receive the best possible orthotic devices:
1. An accurate cast of your foot must be taken. This is a VERY exacting process as your foot must be placed in a precise position to ensure the best clinical outcomes. To help ensure that a proper cast is taken, we feel that the Podiatrist, and not a technician, should take the cast of your foot.
2. A proper prescription must be written to accommodate your biomechanical problems, your activities, and your shoes. This process requires that an exacting gait evaluation and biomechanical examination be performed.
3. A high-quality foot orthotics laboratory should be used to produce your orthotics. This will ensure that the prescription is filled correctly, that the orthotics are comfortable, and that high-quality and long lasting materials are used.
Dispensing and Break-in: Your Podiatrist should work with you to ensure that your orthotics are comfortable and are relieving your symptoms. They should also provide you information on the proper shoes for your feet. This will help you find appropriate, comfortable, and fashionable shoes.
Follow-up: One of the most important parts of orthotic therapy is appropriate follow-up. If you have a problem with orthotic fit, function, comfort, shoe fit or any other issue, your Podiatrist must be able to diagnose and correct these concerns. This is why a skilled, knowledgeable and experienced practitioner can usually provide the best clinical outcomes.
• Customised orthotics: These are prescription medical devices made from moulds of your feet. The orthotic is designed to correct the patient’s biomechanics. The function of custom orthotics is much more than an arch support. Customised orthotics realign the structures of the foot and leg to prevent bone mal-alignment as well as muscle, tendon, and ligament fatigue.
• Why do customised orthotics cost more? Customised orthotics are designed specifically for you and your problem and they can not been worn by anyone else. The orthotics are sent to a laboratory and made by specialised orthotic technicians. Non customised orthotics are cheaper because they are a mass produced product not made from a mould taken from your foot.
• Common Types of Customised Orthotics: There many types of orthotics. Remember one orthotic does not necessarily fit all types of activities or shoes. The most common orthotics are:
1. Court orthotic for ladies dress shoes.
2. Men’s orthotic for dress shoes.
3. Sports orthotic for athletic activities.
4. Gait Plate to correct pigeon toe and out toe in children.
5. Paediatric orthotics for children.
If you currently wear orthotics they should fit the criteria below.
• Your orthotics should be comfortable and not be causing irritation.
• Your orthotics should relieve the symptoms that you consulted the practitioner for.
• You should want to wear your orthotics (leaving them in a drawer is a waste of money).
• Your orthotics should fit easily into your shoes, providing they are appropriate for you.
If your orthotics do not fit the criteria above then follow up with the practitioner who made them, or consult a Podiatrist who has expertise in biomechanics and orthotic therapy.
Because perfect feet are very rare, almost anyone can benefit from orthotics. They prevent and alleviate many of the common foot, knee, leg, hip and back complaints that cause discomfort in otherwise healthy people.
People who may be candidates for orthotics include those who experience the following:
• One side of the sole of the shoe wears out faster than the other
• Frequent sprained ankles
• Chronic heel, knee or lower back pain
• Sore shins
• Toes that are not straight
• Feet that point inwards or outwards when walking (pigeon toe or out toe)
• General foot pain
It is impossible to say exactly what you need without a consultation.
Just like your prescription glasses that will not really work for anyone else, neither will your foot orthoses. Each prescription orthoses (whether it is prefabricated or custom made) is individually tailored to each patient.
There are numerous different types of orthotics .Some of the more common ones are slim line orthotic for ladies court shoes, sports orthotics, children’s orthotics and men’s orthotics. It is important to remember that one orthotic does not fit all shoes or activities. It is common for women to need two pairs of orthotics, one for their court shoes and one for their sport shoes.
Did you know that your orthotics should be examined at regular intervals, even if they are comfortable?
Your orthotics have an important job to do. They must help your feet function properly, so you can enjoy pain-free, comfortable activities.
Orthotics (and feet) change as time goes on. You may not notice these changes, but if your orthotics are not maintained they can lead to difficulties with foot function. We can detect these changes and avoid possible problems before they occur.
If your orthotics have not been checked in the last year it is time for us to check them for signs of excessive wear. We will make sure they fit correctly and advise you if you need to have them modified, repaired or replaced. We will discuss with you any problems or changes you may be experiencing.
We treat all kinds of dancers – ballroom, ballet, jazz.
We often prescribe custom orthotic devices to use in dance shoes. We have tried over-the-counter orthotics for dance shoes, and still use them occasionally, but usually find that the over the counter devices do not fit well in dance shoes. Custom othotics on the other hand, can be made to fit an increased number and style of shoe.
Ballet and Dance Orthotics
What exactly are ‘Ballet and Dance Insoles/ Orthotics’?
Ballet and Dance Insoles/ Orthotics are devices designed to restore your natural foot function. Many ‘biomechanical’ (walking) complaints such as heel pain, knee pain and lower back pain are caused by poor foot function. Ballet and Dance Insoles/ Orthotics re-align the foot and ankle bones to their neutral position, thereby restoring natural foot function. In turn this helps alleviate problems in other parts of the body.
In addition, Ballet and Dance Insoles/ Orthotics give a more even weight distribution, taking pressure off sore spots (e.g. the ball of the foot, corns in between toes, bunions etc) and they provide some shock absorption.
Who needs Walking Orthotics?
Ballet and Dance Insoles/ Orthotics benefit dancers with foot/ leg pain or discomfort due to a biomechanical imbalance (alignment problems) Imbalances such as flat feet, heel pain, knee pain and shin pain are known to cause pain and discomfort.
Which specific conditions may be helped?
Below is a list of all the conditions that Ballet and Dance Insoles/ Orthotics can help.
Achilles Tendonitis, Corns, Metatarsalgia, Sesamoiditis, Ankle Sprains, Flat Feet, Neuroma, Tendonitis, Arch Pain, Heel Pain, Pronation, Top of the foot pain, Bunions, Knee Pain, Shin Pain, Toe Pain.
Imbalance in your feet can alter the bony structure of your feet and lower legs. Ballet and Dance Insoles/ Orthotics have been proven to eliminate posture problems and foot and leg pain.
Why do I need Ballet and Dance Insoles/ Orthotics ?
Imbalances in the bones of the feet can result in abnormal foot motion (over pronation). This can impair foot function which can result in abnormal rotation of the legs and sometimes affect the knees, hips or back. If we combine these tremendous forces with the need for precise balance, we can see how small structural changes in the foot can make significant differences. Ballet and Dance Insoles/ Orthotics help to improve those structural changes.
If I use Ballet and Dance Insoles/ Orthotics will I become dependent on them?
No. Ballet and Dance Insoles/ Orthotics simply allow the muscles, tendons and bones of the feet and lower legs to function at their highest potential.
How long will my Ballet and Dance Insoles/ Orthotics Last?
Usually between 3 to 4 years for adults, whilst children will outgrow their orthotics before they wear out.
Does it take time to get used to Ballet and Dance Insoles/ Orthotics ?
Your feet need time to adjust to the correct biomechanical position. Orthotics should be gradually used to begin with. We recommend that you wear your orthotics for 1 hour the first day, 2 hours on the second day, 3 hours on the third day, gradually increasing the wearing time each day until you start to feel comfortable wearing the orthotics full time. This usually takes approximately 2 weeks.
Customised Orthotics .
– Designed to be worn by all levels of Dancers. Helps control pronation to improve balance and reduce strain.
-Proven to reduce stress fractures and knee strain in all levels of dance.
-A must when in recovery or dancing through stress related foot injuries.
These insoles also strength the instep of the foot allowing the dancer to achieve maximum foot strength potential.
Playing sports or exercising frequently can expose your feet and ankles to additional and unusual forces. Research has shown that when you run you will experience up to six times your body weight on your weight bearing joints. If you have poor biomechanics this can result in injuries. This is why it is imperative to get the right orthotic for the right activity. A sports orthotic is designed specifically to allow for the increase in forces placed on the body while playing sport. Often people require more than one orthotic, as one orthotic does not fit shoes for all purposes.
We treat athletes in sports including:
• Skiing / Snowboarding
Skiers and snowboarders can experience better comfort and performance by using a prescription ski orthotic. If you experience pain from your ski boots or are looking for better performance while on the snow, make an appointment to see us.
Ski orthotics can address many problems that skiers experience on the slopes including:
Ski boot foot pain and “Hot Spots”: If your ski boots are “killing” your feet and don’t fit correctly, the problem is likely caused by how your foot is moving inside your boot. When your foot pronates (rolls in) excessively this causes the bones in the foot to splay and become wider. This can cause pain on the inside and outside of your foot especially the big and little toe as well as your ankle bones. By supporting your foot with a proper ski orthotic, we can prevent your foot from hitting the side of your boot.
Cramping Feet and Aching Feet: Foot cramps often occur when the muscles on the bottom of the foot have to work too hard to maintain control of your skis. Supporting your foot with the proper custom orthotic can reduce the work the muscles are doing and relieve cramping.
Lack of Improvement: An unstable foot can make it difficult for a skier or snowboarder to maintain an edge. By providing proper foot alingnment with custom ski orthotics, we can help you maintain an edge – making turning easier and helping you to improve.
Detailed Information on Ski Orthotics
The forces on your feet are enormous when you make a ski turn. These forces cause the foot to flatten, the ankle bones to lower and the leg to rotate toward the other leg (this motion is known as excessive pronation). These motions lead to the problems listed above.
Prescription ski boot orthotics, in combination with proper boot fitting, can correct these problems. Prescription orthotics are medical devices, made by a physician, that act to correct abnormal alignment of the foot, ankle, lower leg, and knee.
Yes, you can wear orthotics and wear sandals too!
For comfortable feet and “freedom from enclosed shoes” you can have custom orthotics made that fit into sandals, Here’s how to do it:
Step One: Get custom orthotics
Once you and your Podiatrist have confirmed that your prescription custom orthotics are comfortable and working correctly, you can order a pair of orthotics for sandals.
Step Two: Purchase your sandals
The next step is to purchase a sandal with a removable insole. We recommend Kumfs or Naot sandles —which are made especially for orthotic wearers. To purchase these sandles a list of retailers is available at www.kumfs.com.au or www.naotshoes.com.au .Make sure these sandals have a removable foot bed and will accept orthotics.
Step Three: Contact us with the sandal size
Your Podiatrist will write a prescription for a pair of orthotics made especially to fit into your sandals. These will be the same prescription and offer the same control as your regular orthotics.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my sandal orthotics fit into regular shoes?
Probably not. The insoles that come with most good sandals are very large and provide much of the stability of the sandal. Your sandal orthotics will be made to exactly fit the sandal and will likely be too large to fit in other shoes.
Can sandal orthotics be put into other sandals?
Very likely yes. Of course, the sandal must have a removable insole.
Will regular orthotics fit into my sandals?
Probably not. The normal sandal insole is larger than your regular orthotic. A standard orthotic will usually “float around” in your sandal due to the size difference.
How long will they last?
You should get at least 3—5 years of service from your sandal orthotics depending on the amount of wear and your activity. You will probably use the orthotics in several pairs of sandals before they wear out.
Can they be refurbished?
If sandal orthotics start to show cosmetic wear, often the orthotic itself is still working fine and providing you good support. In this situation, the orthotics can be refurbished very inexpensively so they look like new.
Will the Othotic Work?
Clinical surveys have shown that orthotic patients may gain as much as 33% or more additional orthotic therapy time by wearing sandals or clogs with custom orthotics, as they are more likely to wear orthotics in these styles of shoes than wearing another style that does not accommodate orthotics.
Research has shown that the most effective way to decrease force on the ball of the foot, and reduce pain under the ball of the foot and the heel is to use a specialized custom orthotic that transfers pressure off the painful areas of your feet and provides extra cushioning under the forefoot.
Wearing court orthotics fundamentally changes the inside of high heel shoes, shifting weight off the ball of the foot back to the heel. It actually feels like you are wearing much lower heels which is a true comfort factor for many women. This weight shift seems to improve body alignment and balance ,reducing leg and lower back fatigue while reducing pressure on the ball of the foot. So ladies, we can help you with high heel shoes but we need to see the shoe first to see if we can provide an orthotic which will fit.
The orthotics we provide are a flexible slim fit design which are customised for court shoes. Dress orthotics can be fitted into most types of women’s dress shoes – as long as they do not have an open back. They can fit into heel heights ranging up to 3 or 4 inches.
The days of wearing chunky orthotics which only fit in one type of shoe are gone. You can still wear fashionable shoes and get rid of painful feet.
It is difficult to lose weight when your feet hurt—but excess weight can cause foot pain. So what do you do when foot pain is preventing you from exercising and ultimately losing weight? If you are planning to undertake an exercise program, we recommend that you:
1. Consult your Doctor.
2. Consult a registered dietician.
3. Enlist a personal trainer or physical therapist to work on an exercise regimen.
Being overweight or obese changes the way the foot functions. Force on the foot increases dramatically when you carry extra weight. Steps are shorter, the feet angle out more and flattening of the foot is increased significantly which can result in injuries.
Foot Orthotics for Persons Carrying Extra Weight
Foot orthotics can minimize abnormal force on the feet and are often used to treat and prevent foot problems in those carrying excess weight and / or trying to lose weight. A relatively firm and controlling foot orthotic is necessary to support the greater forces caused by carrying extra weight. In addition, the orthotic must provide shock absorption to decrease the excessive stress on the joints and help prevent arthritis. Finally, the orthotic must be extremely comfortable.
When properly prescribed and produced, foot orthotics are very comfortable—in fact, you should barely be aware that you are wearing them. It is our responsibility to make sure that your orthotics are comfortable and that they are providing the best biomechanical solution to your foot problem.
The quality of orthotic devices varies considerably and depends on many factors. Podiatrists are experts at identifying and fixing orthotic problems. In fact, although we of course cannot guarantee exactly how your symptoms will respond, we do guarantee that your orthotics will be comfortable (although we do recommend a gradual start to wearing them in your shoes in order for you to get used to wearing them). If for any reason they are not comfortable, let us know so that we can fix the problem.
In the first six weeks of receiving your orthotics, any adjustments that need to be made it will be free of charge.