Why Does She Have Orthotics - And Do I Need Them Too?
So many people are taking advantage of orthotics around the world these days, that if you’ve never had them before, you may wonder:
- Why do people wear orthotics?
- Are everyone’s orthotics the same?
- Where do I get them from and how do I choose the right ones?
Orthotics are medical devices that alter the way our feet work, by changing the way that muscles, joints and bones are activated and move together. Orthotics are usually worn because they either:
a.) Help with a pain, problem or injury
b.) Help improve the way your feet and legs work to help reduce tiredness and improve performance, even if there wasn’t a painful problem previously (not yet, anyway)
We know - they may all look similar, but the answer to this is a solid no. Think of them like glasses - they come in a few different shapes and colours, and have a very specific function, but the prescription to achieve that function is very much tailored to the individual person.
In order to achieve the right function for your feet, we must first take the right measurements and complete an assessment so we know which features we should incorporate into your orthotics. This means a pair of orthotics can be extremely comfortable and functional for the person they are intended for - but feel extremely uncomfortable for a different foot.
If you want orthotics that work to reduce your pain, help your recovery, or optimise the way you move, you need to start with an appointment with your Podiatrist. Podiatrists are the only allied health profession that specialises in the biomechanics and movement of your feet and legs - and how this affects the rest of your body. When your Podiatrist prescribes orthotics, they do so after taking an impression of your feet, conducting a comprehensive biomechanical assessment, and using their years of knowledge and experience - you won’t find a one-size-fits-all approach here!
Your Podiatrist will assess how your orthotics fit into the overall management plan - because orthotics are not a standalone treatment in themselves, but should form an essential part of an appropriate treatment plan. This plan may also include activity modification, strengthening what is weak, stretching what is tight, and physical therapies to address pain and inflammation.
When it comes to your orthotics, your Podiatrist will discuss with you the options for orthotics to help you choose the best ones - though they’ll tell you which they recommend for your feet and the results you’d like to achieve so you don’t have to guess! The differences are usually around the feel of the materials, which shoes they’ll be going in, and the types of activities you’ll be doing in them.
Once they are made and you start wearing them, you’ll check in with your Podiatrist to check that they are doing their job and getting the results you want. Your Podiatrist will be able to adjust them accordingly. Yes - we stay with you every step of the way! You’ll also quickly learn that your orthotics are an important offloading and recovery tool, helping us out when we may not be as diligent with our exercises as we should be!
Think You May Benefit From Orthotics?
If you’re thinking that orthotics may be the answer to feeling better on your feet at work, during sport or generally throughout the day, then the first step is to book online here with your Podiatrist. Our team has decades of experience in prescribing orthotics - and we’ve actually now bought this process in-house, meaning we create our own orthotics! This means we have full control over what your orthotic looks and feels like - but more importantly - exactly how it works.