Custom foot orthotics are one of our specialty services, meaning that our highly skilled and experienced podiatrists have built a strong
reputation for prescribing the best orthotics to help our patients with a range of foot pains, injuries and conditions. Given how
common wearing orthotics has become due to their variable uses and benefits, a common question our podiatrists get asked is: will
orthotics help me?
The answer? Truthfully, it depends. Whether orthotics are right for you is influenced by many factors ranging from the nature of your foot or leg problem, to the type of orthotics you are prescribed and the materials used, what the goal is for your foot health. Despite what you may have heard previously, as a medical device, custom foot orthotics are not clinically indicated for everyone, and not everyone can use orthotics to achieve their desired foot health outcomes. This is much like how not everyone needs to wear glasses.
Here’s a look into exactly what orthotics are, how they work, which conditions they can help - and whether they could be right for
Orthotics, also referred to as orthoses and insoles, are devices that sit inside of your shoe and adjust how your bones load, how your muscles activate, and generally how your feet function with every step. Orthotics have a unique ability to help relieve painful symptoms, allow damaged tissues to repair without being strained and overused, and even prevent future injury - which is why they are included in many treatment plans.
Orthotics are highly specialised medical devices that are prescribed by an experienced, qualified podiatrist only after a
comprehensive assessment of your feet and legs, other clinical testing, a diagnosis, and a consideration of a range of lifestyle and other
factors. Orthotics are made from a 3D scan of your feet paired with a prescription form your podiatrist completes based on your assessment
results. This means your orthotics are unique and customised for you which is essential to their success - every foot is different, and it
should be treated that way to provide effective medical care.
It is important to note that custom foot orthotics are very different to the ‘footbeds’ you can get from the chemist or the
supermarket. Much like how the term ‘chocolate’ can be used to describe both the premium Swiss chocolate made with delicious,
pure ingredients as well as the discounted ‘chocolate’ that tastes like plastic, the term ‘orthotics’ is also used
by some to describe the cushioning one-size-fits-all footbeds that often offer little-to-no function aside from adding a soft layer beneath
your feet. These are far from true orthotics, and the product is very different to one that is created by our podiatry team. This
is why whenever someone tells us that they’ve had orthotics in the past that haven’t worked, we always ask more about where they
came from and what their function was, often uncovering that it was a one-size-fits-all mould from the chemist that had some deceptive
marketing about fixing heel pain or other problems.
As the orthotics prescribed by our podiatrists are uniquely designed for you feet, your feet can reap extensive benefits including:
In terms of the problems and injuries that orthotics are involved (as part of a management plan) in treating, some of these include:
Ankle equinus (commonly known as footballer's ankle)
Ankle instability and ligament strains
Balance and falls prevention
Calluses and corns
Fat pad atrophy
Tibialis posterior tendon dysfunction
Iliotibial band syndrome
Limb length difference
Lower back pain
Medial tibial stress syndrome (commonly known as shin splints)
The only way to confidently know if orthotics are right for you is through an appointment with a podiatrist. Here at The Feet People, we’ll take you through an assessment to understand the root cause of any problems, gait abnormalities, injuries, or anything you’re concerned about. We use assessment tools like an in-shoe pressure analysis and a video treadmill analysis to also understand the extent of the impact on your gait, comfort, and quality of life. We’re also one of the most advanced podiatry clinics due to our investment into the latest technology to ensure orthotic accuracy. We have a 3D foot and ankle scanner whose scanning precision is accurate to 0.1mm.
From there, we’ll discuss all of your treatment options, including if orthotics are recommended. If they are, we’ll explain exactly which features we will incorporate into them and hence how they’ll work to help you.
Just like how you go to an optometrist for your custom glasses because eyes and vision is their specialty, custom foot orthotics should be prescribed by your podiatrist as their sole focus is your feet, legs and the complex biomechanics between the two. Going further than this, orthotics are also very intricate devices that are very dependent on the skill and experience of your practitioner to choose the right features for your unique circumstances and your feet.
Here at The Feet People, orthotic care is a large part of what we do, and as such you can feel confident that your podiatrist has the skill and knowledge to prescribe the very best pair of orthotics for you. We take every orthotic-related decision very seriously - and there are many! Just a few things that your podiatrist will consider when prescribing your custom orthotics include:
We could go on, but we hope we’ve illustrated the point. The success of your orthotics is directly correlated to the prescription made by your podiatrist, their consideration of all of the factors, and simply put, their experience and confidence in the area. This is where we excel, investing in this field as a clinic, regularly upskilling our team, and taking great care as we understand the impact your orthotics can have on your recovery, wellbeing and your quality of life.
It’s also important to note that for many conditions, orthotics are one part of an overall treatment plan, and this treatment plan should be followed through for you to attain the most benefits. For example, your orthotics may help offload the damaged tissues to allow them to heal without being strained at every step during walking. Other treatments like foot mobilisation will then help with any stiff and dysfunctional joints that have contributed to your problem, MLS laser or shockwave may be used to accelerate healing, and you may also need to strengthen specific muscles that are weak and causing imbalances.
The other thing we love about orthotics is their role in injury prevention as well as recovery. While many of our patients do not need to
wear their orthotics daily, by choosing to wear them when they’re on their feet for activities like sports, going for long walks, or
standing on their feet all day at work, the orthotics can help better support the feet and prevent re-injury.
Find out the answer by booking an appointment with our podiatry team online or call us on 1300 993 338. You can also learn more about our orthotics here, and learn five signs that you may want to see a podiatrist to discuss orthotics.