What are Orthotics?
Orthotics are shoe inserts that have been designed to correct, support and improve the foot and
lower leg function. Also known as orthoses, orthotics help to control the movement of the feet and
restore and support the alignment of the foot. Orthotics can also be used to treat knee, hip and
lower back pain.
Orthotics can be used to support injury recovery, for playing sports, or to help with long-term
chronic foot issues.
There are different types of orthotics available, including prefabricated orthotics, custom orthotics
and even insoles that can be purchased at a chemist or sports store.
Types of Orthotics
Prefabricated orthotics are a ready-made and somewhat generic orthotic option that can be purchased from chemists and sports stores. The insole options available at sports stores and chemists have been designed to provide support but because of the materials they are made from, they are usually not able to be tailored to suit you and your specific needs.
Also referred to as semi-custom orthotics, there are some prefabricated orthotics that can be customised, not quite to the same extent as custom orthotics, but more so than other prefabricated options. At our clinic in Watsonia, we offer DOLA orthotics as our prefabricated orthotic options, as they are made from materials that can be modified quite extensively to suit your feet. These prefabricated orthotics are available in both ¾ and full-length orthotics.
Custom orthotics are ones that have been designed for your specific biomechanical profile and are
made using an impression of your feet. Custom orthotics are personalised to you, and made for your
feet and your specific needs, meaning they provide thorough and accurate support and will usually
provide the best results for any issues you may be experiencing.
How Do Orthotics Work:
Designed to help support the structures of your feet, particularly those that are weak, injured or not functioning properly, orthotics help place your feet, ankles and lower legs in proper alignment to allow them to move in the most effective way.
As your feet support your entire body when you’re standing, walking, and running, the way your feet function can affect your entire body. Improper foot function can lead to issues in many areas of your body, including your ankles, knees, hips and back.
Rather than changing the structure of your feet, orthotics provide support and help redistribute the pressure on your feet, which can relieve the strain in multiple areas of your body.
What Are Orthotics Used to Treat?
Orthotics can be used to treat and/or prevent a number of common foot issues including:
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Ankle Instability
- Various Tendinopathies
- Knee, Hip & Back Pain
- Limb Length Discrepancies
- Flat Feet
- Shin Splints
- Stress Fractures
Why See a Podiatrist for Orthotics?
While orthotics can be used by anyone and to treat a wide range of issues, they may not always be the best course of action. As a podiatrist specialises in the function and health of your feet and lower limbs, they can advise you whether orthotics are right for you.
At Watsonia, our team can assess you to determine a treatment plan that can work with your condition, budget, and lifestyle.
Our thorough assessment can be broken down into three parts:
- Sit Down Assessment
- Standing Assessment
- Walking Assessment
To learn more about our orthotic assessment process read our guide to orthotics “Orthotics 101: Your Guide to Everything Orthotics.“
Custom Orthotics at Watsonia Podiatry
The custom orthotic process is a detailed and thorough process that is only entered into once we have conducted a full biomechanical assessment of your feet.
Once we have conducted this assessment and before beginning the custom orthotic process, we will usually tape your feet in a position that will mimic the support of orthotics. We do this as a final check to see whether orthotics are going to provide support and relief for your feet. We may also prescribe a strengthening program that may help in decreasing your pain.
While custom orthotics are a very effective treatment for many conditions, they are a long-term and expensive commitment.
If custom orthotics are determined to be the best treatment option for you, the process is undertaken over three appointments:
Appointment One–Foot Assessment and Impressions:
The first appointment is our biomechanical/scanning appointment – further assess your foot posture and gait.
We also scan your feet with a laser scanner and software to take impressions of your feet. Your prescription form is completed.
Appointment Two – Orthotic Issue.
You bring the shoes you wear most often, and we help fit your orthotics into them. The orthotics should contour your feet and support your feet correctly. We make modifications if required at this point. To ensure that we can fit them properly to your shoes, we order our orthotics in one size larger than your shoes to give us some extra materials to work with.
Appointment Three: Follow up
We will conduct a follow-up appointment 5 weeks after the orthotics have been issued to ensure your orthotics are doing what they should.
At Watsonia Podiatry, we usually make our orthotics out of a material called EVA. This is a softer and more flexible material than other options and tends to fit into shoes slightly better than other materials. This material is also easily modified by our team for any required corrections.
Ongoing Care and Treatment at Watsonia Podiatry
Our custom orthotics usually last around 5-6 years and we like to have our patients come in every 12 months to review how the orthotics are working for you!
Our aim is to make sure that you are receiving the correct and best treatment for your condition, so we can ensure the long-term health of your feet and lower limbs.
While we are here for all of your orthotics needs in Melbourne, our team of highly qualified podiatrists can help you with a variety of services. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your feet or lower limbs, come visit the team at Watsonia Podiatry today. Book you appointment by calling us on 03 9432 2689 or Book Online Here.
We’ll help make sure your feet can be the best they can be.