What exactly is an 'orthotic'?
An 'orthotic' is a device designed to support your feet and prevent over pronation (rolling inward and flattening the arch), or supination, (rolling outwards), which is normally associated with a high arch foot type.
We can also offer an orthotic which relieves knee pain and can be extremely effective in postponing knee surgey or in some cases not requiring it at all.
If you are considering bespoke orthotics then it is important that you have a full lower limb biomechanical assessment
as this will tell us exactly where your problems are and where you have any restrictions in movement.
Sports and Orthotics
The correct choice of foot wear for running is imperative as is the fit of the shoe. Ill fitting shoes can produce injuries such as blisters, black toe nails, corns, ingrown toenails and pressure irritation.
The most common problem runners have is over pronating (rolling the foot too far inwards and flattening the arch) and many shoes now have a degree of pronation control, which is helpful if your condition is not extreme. If orthotics are to be used in running shoes, the shoes should be neutral without any anti pronation control which will allow the orthotics to provide the exact level of control required.
Many runners have problems around the shin area, commonly called shin splints, and it is important to address these within an assessment to properly assess the cause in order to provide the right treatment.
Another serious problem for runners is wearing trainers which are too small for their feet. This causes impact of the toes on the end of the trainer and often results in damaged nails. Quite often the damage is so severe, that the nail has to be removed, may fall off or grow abnormally.
If you are sure that your trainers are the correct size, it is important that they are laced correctly to avoid the same damage to the nails as above. Please look at our lacing techniques page.
Football boots are great for the sport, but not necessarily kind to feet. Because they have to be quite snug on the feet and have good traction, they don’t give much support in this multi directional sport. We usually recommend heel raises to help take the strain off the muscles in the back of the leg leading down to the Achilles tendon, particularly with children as they are growing when the muscles can be susceptible to strain.
Orthotics can be used very successfully in football boots as the orthotics used are made from extremely thin materials which don’t interfere with the fit of the boot.
A note about football socks… many footballers suffer with athletes foot type conditions, our Active Silver Socks can help to eliminate this problem
This is another multidirectional sport which requires a lot of lunging onto the ball of the foot. Ill fitting shoes can again cause all sorts of skin and nail related problems. Orthotics for this sport will take into consideration the level of shock absorbency required and extra materials added to help with this. Orthotics for this and other racquet sports are usually full length and have extra control under the ball of the foot to ensure that the orthotics maintains the foot is a good position even at toe off.
Golf is a multidirectional sport which also requires the right handed player to be able to pronate (roll the foot inward and flatten the foot) through a large range during the end of the golf swing while the left foot needs to be stable. Orthotics need to take this into consideration but also be constructed to allow for the fact that the golfer walks quite a distance during the round.
Wearing our Active Silver Socks can also increase the comfort of your round of golf.
Orthotics in ski boots work really well. They can help improve edging and turning. Even the skier who has mild pronation will find it difficult to edge as once the ski boot is on, it acts almost like a cast, keeping the joint which connects the foot and leg in a rigid position. In those with pronation problems, this leaves the foot balanced on the outside edge where the opposite movement is required in edging. By introducing an appropriately prescribed orthotic the skier can achieve better edging, more comfort and less likelihood of injury.
Wearing heavy duty Active Silver Socks instead of ski socks can help maintain comfort and the condition of your feet.
Walkers and Ramblers
There is a big difference in foot wear for walkers dependant on the terrain you are going to be walking over. Proper advice should be sought to achieve a good fit and choice.
If there are any underlying biomechanical problems symptoms may start when walking long distances. Uphill and downhill walking puts different strains on muscles and in particular can start up pain in the shins. Heel pain, ball of foot pain are also very common.
Orthotics can provide a stable platform to take away the pressures and working with the boot provides a greater degree of comfort.
What specific conditions may be helped?
Below is a list of some of the conditions that orthotics can help.
Ball of foot pain, heel pain, knee pain, achilles tendonitis, flat feet, arch pain, bunions. Foot orthotics can also help with back pain and research in the USA has shown that this can be more effective than many other recognised treatments for back pain.
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