Foot Orthotic Therapy
Foot orthotic therapy has been used to treat mechanically related foot and lower limb disorders for over two centuries.
A foot orthotic is best defined as an in-shoe device that is designed in such a way to alter the forces and loads acting on the structural components of the foot and lower limb to help improve foot and lower extremity function and reduce pain during weightbearing activities (Kirby, 2002).
The goal of foot orthotic therapy is to reduce stress on the injured structures within the foot and lower limb in order to facilitate healing, prevent new injuries from occurring and to improve function during weightbearing activities.
There are two main types of foot orthoses:
- Prefabricated devices are over-the-counter arch supports which the lay public often refers to as “orthotics”. Over-the-counter arch supports are basically a “one size fits all” device, which attempts to support the arch of the foot and have not been customised for your specific mechanical needs.
- Prescription foot orthoses also referred to as custom foot orthoses are based on a 3-Dimensional representation of the foot and are designed with the intention to reduce or eliminate abnormal forces that are causing your problem and improve function.
How We Design a Custom Foot Orthoses
- Perform biomechanical and instrumented treadmill analysis
- Capture 3D foot scan
- Design and manufacture
- Orthotic Fitting
What happens after the fitting?
We perform an orthotic review appointment 2-4 weeks post fitting. The review appointment allows us to make sure that the devices are functioning correctly and to make adjustments if necessary.
Our custom foot orthoses are designed to last a long time. However, we still recommend a 12 month review in order to fine-tine the devices and to ensure that the orthotic prescription is still suitable.
Does everyone need orthotic therapy?
We only recommend orthotic therapy if there is sufficient evidence to justify their use. Orthotic therapy is not always necessary in every instance of foot and lower limb pain. We can openly discuss if orthotic therapy is likely to help, suggest alternative treatment options or refer you to another suitably qualified evidence-based health professional.
Kirby KA: Foot and Lower Extremity Biomechanics II: Precision Intricast Newsletters, 1997-2002. Precision Intricast, Inc., Payson, AZ, 2002, p. 8.