My name is Leslie Abrahams I’m, a leading UK physio and I’ve been recommending these type of Orthotics to my clients for more than 11 years now… and I’ve seen from first hand (and very close up) how such “foot orthotics” can really add HUGE value to any person’s quality of life and ability to maintain independence (and mobility) for much longer than would have been possible without!
What’s more, wearing them will, in many cases, especially if you’re aged 50+, will allow you to wear ANY shoes you want, safe in the comfort that joints are being protected whilst your favourite footwear is still being worn and you remaining active, safely.
Herein, I will provide a brief (and simple) introduction to Prescription Foot Orthotics.
Background, Q & A, Myths And Facts Of Prescription Orthotics
Okay, so what is a true custom orthotic? A true custom orthotic is one that matches your foot’s arch height (with modifications), width, and of course, length. The shell should be up to your metatarsal heads (3/4 length) with the heel cupped perfectly around.
True custom orthotics are made ONLY when a laboratory receives an impression of your foot – ideally from a 3-d laser scanner (I recommend a “Lab” in Ireland and Canada). Beware of orthotics that claim the foot “moulds” to the orthotic. Orthotics that are heat activated and “copy your foot”, are not as effective. Other problematic one’s are flexible orthotics that flattens out the moment you wear them.
It is true your foot needs to flex, but using very flexible materials does not give desired results.
The reason flexible material is used is because the client doesn’t think to complain because the orthotics causes no discomfort yet their original symptoms usually persist.
Orthotics should have some rigidity to them. Remember, the whole point is to provide support. Soft materials will just collapse.
In reality a custom orthotic changes the way your foot reacts during the walking cycle.
When first wearing orthotics, discomfort is usually felt because your foot is being forced into a more natural or “neutral” position. People who need orthotics usually have something wrong with their arch.
Eventually your feet adapt to the change and the discomfort goes away (including the original symptoms such as your knee, hip or back pain etc…).
One of the first questions I get when I recommend orthotics is:
“Why are custom orthotics more expensive than the ones you could go out and buy in somewhere like a pharmacy”.
Simply put, those “off the shelf” types are likely to be just plain old inserts and are generic. They’re made for “everyone and anything”. No thought, time or effort has gone in to the precision making and matching them up to an individuals needs and desires.
An orthotic, a corrective device worn inside a shoe, can help the muscles, tendons and bones of your feet and lower legs function without you suffering from pain and or stiffness. Custom-made orthotics are manufactured from a 3-D image of your foot (from a laser scanner) using raw materials.
When appropriately prescribed to treat a medical condition and custom-made (read: for you), orthotics can decrease pain, not only in your feet, but more commonly in other parts of the body, such as your knees, hips and lower back.
The term “orthotic” can refer to almost any device that is worn inside a shoe. Items called “orthotics” are readily available from Specialist Physios, podiatrists, chiropractors and other medical professionals.
Rarely however, are true custom orthotics available in many places, and most definitely not in shoe stores, in retail stores and even pharmacy’s.
There are three very different types of “orthotics” – custom, customized and off- the-shelf. There is a confusing amount of information available on orthotics and for many consumers making an informed decision is difficult.
So What Exactly Are Prescription/Custom Orthotics?
Prescription Foot Orthotics ARE the most accurate custom functional foot orthotics and are made from non-weight bearing moulds of your feet (but you don’t need a note from your doctor to have one).
They are designed to control alignment and function of your foot in order to treat or prevent injury-causing force on bones, joints, tendons and ligaments. Often they are used to limit motions such as excessive pronation (rolling-in) and excessive supination (rolling-out).
They also act to make activities such as running, walking – even standing – more efficient. What’s more, they can act to redistribute pressure on the bottom of the foot to relieve pain from excessive pressure or calluses.
How Do Custom Foot Orthotics Work?
This is a very detailed subject and too much to get in to here. But in general, most physical pain such as the back, ankle, hip or knee, is the result of a faulty relationship between the bones and muscles of the foot. Even the slightest misalignment can result in significant discomfort.
This abnormal function can result in problems such as bunions, hammertoes, arch and heel pain, corns, knee pain … even back pain.
The function of custom orthotics is much more than an arch support. Wearing the right orthotics realigns the structures of the foot and leg to prevent bone mal-alignment as well as muscle, tendon, and ligament fatigue. They are often used after surgery too, to help stop the recurrence of foot deformities.
As your foot rests on a properly constructed custom orthotic it is gently and consistently directed into the correct position (or at least a better position) for walking, running, and standing. Because your foot is now functioning properly, the pain of muscle strain and pressure points is relieved, and the progression of deformities is often stopped or slowed
So What Is Involved In Producing Custom Foot Orthotics?
The most important factor in designing foot orthotics that will provide optimum lifestyle prosperity (and health) is an orthotic prescription based on a thorough examination by an experienced and knowledgeable medical practitioner.
I cannot emphasise this enough. The “pre-fitting consultation” should include a complete bio-mechanical assessment and a look at how you walk and MUST include a comprehensive FULL BODY check.
“Because chances are it’s not your feet where you’ve got the pain. And so if you’re going to make changes down there (at your feet), the person doing it has to be sure how it’s going to effect everything else above it i.e. your knee, hip, back etc”.
What Shoes Do They Fit Inside?
All of, but not limited to these common types of Footwear:
How To Get Closer To Protecting Your Joints And Staying Active For Longer…
If you’d like to talk to an experienced Specialist Physiotherapist about the possibility of you wearing Prescription Orthotics and decide for your self if they will add value to your health, like it does so many other people, then please us in Bracknell ( 01344489398) or Windsor (01753866274) and request a FREE non committal, no obligation Telephone Consultation.
Alternatively, if you are confident that you wearing Prescription Foot Orthotics is the right move for you to make next, then you can also use this same number to arrange a “pre-orthotics fitting” consultation that will allow you to pick the perfect fitting orthotics… ones that are just right for you.
Fitting can take place at any of our locations and all of our Foot Orthotics are covered by a 100% Money Back, Life Time Guarantee. The top cover will need to replaced when it wears down with use, but the carbon fibre shell has a life time warranty.