Can Orthotics Keep You Moving? Everything You Need To Know
If you suffer from foot, leg or back pain or frequently experience injuries when you are exercising, you may be considering orthotics. But what are they, and can they really keep you moving?
What Are Orthotics?
Orthotics are special shoe or heel inserts that are prescribed to correct certain issues. They can be custom made to fit your foot, tailored to your specific needs.
How Do They Work?
Orthotics are effective at treating a range of conditions and have a number of positive outcomes, including:
- Correcting the effects of foot deformities
- Helping the foot or ankle to function better
- Providing support to the ankle
- Reducing the risks for further injuries
You may not have realised this, but the angles of our feet and ankles can be very different, as can be seen on the diagram below. If your ankles naturally lean inward, this is known as pronation. Having ankles that lean outward is called supination. The leaning of your ankles can put stress on different parts of the leg, hip and back when we walk or run. This stress can lead to pain and injury. Orthotics are extremely effective at correcting this.
They can help with many other conditions too, including:
- Arthritis – This can cause discomfort and poor positioning of the feet which orthotics can correct.
- Back pain – This is often caused by lack of cushioning or poor positioning of the feet, both of which are eased by orthotics.
- Diabetes – Sometimes, diabetes can lead to a lack of sensation in the feet. Orthotics help to reduce excess stress and pressure (which can cause foot ulcers).
- High arches – high arches can stress muscles in the feet, often causing shin splints, knee pain or plantar fasciitis. Orthotics provide extra support which can prevent these injuries.
How Are They Fitted?
Although orthotics can be purchased from various shops, it is advisable to get them fitted by a professional. If your orthotics are not properly fitted, you are at risk of worsening the conditions that you are trying to fix. When you visit a podiatrist, they can carry out a biomechanical assessment. This may include a digital Podosmart gait analysis. This measures data that cannot be seen with the naked eye, enabling the podiatrist to accurately pinpoint misalignments and identify the cause of your pain.
The orthotics that you get can range entry level supports to bespoke, custom made inserts which are tailored to your specific condition. Which you choose will generally depend on your budget, but your podiatrist will advise you of related costs.
Where Can I Find Orthotics?
At Northwich Foot Clinic & Physio in Cheshire, we offer a full biomechanical assessment using our sophisticated Podosmart technology. This provides the most accurate analysis of your gait, and allows us to prescribe the right orthotics for you. If it is necessary, we can also recommend physiotherapy to further treat your condition, helping you to get moving again – free from pain. You can book your biomechanical assessment online here.