If you regularly experience pain or discomfort in your feet and lower limbs, chances are, someone has said something about you needing orthotics.
Orthotics are a tool used by podiatrists and doctors to help treat and correct a number of issues that can affect your feet. But before you head on down to your local sports store to grab a pair of orthotics, let us tell you a little more about them here.
What exactly are orthotics?
Sometimes known as insoles, orthotics are a shoe insert that are usually quite slim and follow the contours of your foot that slip inside your shoes.
They are designed to treat biomechanical issues that might be affecting your feet, allowing the wearer to have better control over their movements and realign their feet and body.
Orthotics can be used in recovery from an injury you may have experienced or to correct an issue that you have had since birth. They can also make the world of difference for the person wearing them by helping to eliminate unnecessary pain and discomfort.
There are two kinds of orthotics available, they are:
- Premade/Prefabricated Orthotics
Premade or prefabricated orthotics are the ones that you can buy off the shelf in shops like sports stores and pharmacies. They are usually pretty affordable and can provide good support for your feet. However, if you need to treat a specific type of issue that is affecting your foot/feet, they may not be the best option.
- Custom Orthotics
Custom orthotics are made to not only fit into your shoes but to fit your foot and only your foot. To get custom made orthotics you need to see a podiatrist who will measure, scan and fit your custom orthotics to suit your biomechanical needs.
They provide super accurate support and often give the best results long term. As they are made to suit you, they can be costly, but they are also made to last a long time, especially when taken care of properly.
In addition, if you have flat feet and you develop fallen arches, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a medical professional to determine the cause. You may visit sites like https://treadlabs.com/blogs/insoles-reach-your-stride/insoles-for-flat-feet-support-the-arch-relieve-the-pain to learn more.
What do orthotics actually do?
Orthotics are primarily designed to support and align your body. They support your feet wherever you may need the support, and this support allows the rest of your limbs and body to align properly.
Everything in your body is connected, and when one part isn’t working as well as it should be, it can cause other parts of your body to compensate for it.
Orthotics are beneficial for all sorts of activities, whether you spend a lot of time standing while you work, walking, running or playing sports, the extra support provided can make any and all of these activities significantly easier.
What sorts of issues can orthotics help with?
You may not realise it, but there are literally hundreds of conditions that can affect or be caused by your feet. When it comes to using orthotics, there are many different conditions they can be used to treat, including but not limited to:
- Limb Length Discrepancies
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Ankle Sprains or Instability
- Various Tendinopathies
- Knee, Hip & Back Pain
- Flat Feet
- Shin Splints
- Stress Fractures
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your feet, orthotics may not always be the answer, so before you go down to your local chemist and pick up a pair of orthotics, we recommend booking in to see a podiatrist instead.
They can assess your feet and diagnose the issues you’re currently experiencing, and that way you can ensure you’re getting the right treatment for you.
How do I get my custom orthotics?
If you’re looking for custom foot orthotics Melbourne your first step should be your appointment with a podiatrist. You need to be correctly assessed and have your conditions diagnosed before diving into the orthotics process because we’re not going to lie, getting orthotics isn’t a cheap exercise – it is worth it though.
Once you’ve had your assessment the process of getting custom orthotics usually requires 3 appointments with your podiatrist in total. This is what should happen when you get yours:
This appointment is when your feet are scanned and measured for your orthotics. This step is probably the most important and potentially the most time consuming as it is so important that all of your biomechanical details are measured properly.
Your feet will be scanned and measured and measured and scanned. It will be a thorough process that may feel a little repetitive, however, the end result is totally worth it!
At this appointment, your custom orthotics will have been made and now they need to get fitted. To be fair, this step is just as important as the first one, as you want to make sure that they fit properly.
You will need to bring the shoes that you wear the most to this appointment, as the podiatrist will fit your orthotics to these.
When your orthotics are made, they are usually made a size larger than your normal shoe size to allow them to be able to fit them and adjust them accordingly.
You’ll be able to take your new custom orthotics home with you after this appointment.
This appointment is a follow up that usually occurs around 4-6 weeks after you’ve taken your orthotics home. This is to allow you time to get used to wearing them, because even though they will make your life more comfortable in the long run, they can take a bit of getting used to.
This also gives time for potential improvements to pain, discomfort or your injury to improve, so they can see if orthotics are 100% working for you.