Prescription Orthotics Information
Introduction to Orthotics
Foot orthotics are custom-made shoe inserts engineered to restore your natural foot function. They eliminate foot discomfort and make it easier for you to stand, walk and run.
At Feet By Pody, our expert team of podiatrists has many years’ experience in biomechanical assessment, gait analysis, and prescribing and fitting custom-made orthotics to treat a range of foot and medical conditions.
The word ‘orthotics’ originates from the Greek word, ‘ortho’, which means to straighten. This is central to the role of foot orthotics, which are designed to exert gentle pressure on your muscles and bones in order to bring them back into the correct alignment.
Prescription orthotics are used to treat walking imbalances (biomechanical conditions), which result in heel pain, arch pain, and Achilles pain. By restoring your natural foot function, they help to alleviate pain in other parts of the body, such as knee pain and pain in the lower back.
Orthotics can also be used in the treatment of various medical conditions, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, and for sports injuries. In some cases, they can be prescribed for comfort and shock absorption.
Common Foot Conditions Requiring Orthotics
Here are some of the more common foot conditions that require prescription orthotics.
Orthotics for Flat Feet
Flat feet, also known as fallen arches or over-pronated feet, means your feet have little or no arches. This is one of the most common conditions requiring orthotics, which maintain the arch in a neutral position and prevent the foot from rolling inwards.
Orthotics for Achilles Tendonitis
Also known as Achilles Heel, this is an inflammation of the tendon that connects the heel bone to the calf muscle. Orthotics relieve this painful condition by supporting the arch and providing shock absorption, cushioning and foot protection.
Orthotics for Heel Spurs
A bony growth on the heel bone, heel spurs can cause sharp, uncomfortable pain. Orthotics provide arch support, which relieves pressure, and offer protection and shock absorption to the heel.
Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis
A common cause of heel pain, plantar fasciitis is when the ligament connecting the heel to the toes becomes strained or stretched, leading to inflammation. Orthotics provide arch support, while heel cushioning provides the necessary shock absorption.
Orthotics for Runners
Running puts a lot of strain on your joints. Pain caused by runners’ knee (pain around the knee) and shin splints (repetitive pulling of the shin muscles caused by running on hard or uneven ground) can both be alleviated by orthotics.
Orthotics for Metatarsalgia
Metatarsalgia is the generic name for a symptom or group of symptoms causing pain or discomfort in the metatarsal region – the ball of the foot. You may feel a permanent dull ache, a bruise-like pain, or tingling and numbness. Orthotics relieve pressure on the ball of the foot and provide support.
Orthotics for Knee Pain
Sports injuries, accident trauma or biomechanical issues such as over-pronation all place unnecessary stress on the knee joint, causing knee pain. Orthotics help to realign the muscles and bones, and alleviate pain.
Orthotics for Back Pain
Foot problems such as over-pronation, over-supination, plantar fasciitis, and even bunions can all cause pain further up the body, notably in the lower back. Orthotics helps to correct the root cause of the problem and alleviate pain.
Prescribing Your Orthotics
The type of orthotic you’re prescribed depends on your foot or medical condition. For this reason, we always carry out a biomechanical foot assessment and gait analysis to assess your foot function, and take a cast of your feet. This ensures your orthotics are tailor-made for your requirements.
We offer a complimentary fitting consultation and a four-week review to check how you’re getting on and whether you require any adjustments.
It’s possible that you may experience some aches and pains in the first weeks of using your orthotics, as your muscles adjust to their new positioning. We recommend wearing orthotics for an hour or two a day during the first week, then gradually building up. Please check with us before using them for any sporting activities.
We prescribe orthotics as part of a holistic treatment program, so we may recommend you undergo a series of stretching and strengthening exercises, and we might also refer you to another specialist, such as a physiotherapist, chiropractor or orthopaedic consultant.
Consult our fees page for details of our pricing structure.
How Long Do Orthotics Last?
Although we don’t specifically advise on the lifespan of your orthotics, the core should last for several years. However, certain parts may wear down with usage, such as the top cover or foam padding. It may be possible to replace these parts without needing new orthotics.
Bear in mind that your feet may change shape over time, meaning you might require a different prescription (just like your glasses when you visit an optician).
To prolong the life of your orthotics, we recommend that you remove them from your shoes every night to let them breathe. Wash them weekly using mild soap and cold water, and let them dry naturally.
If you experience any sudden pain, especially in your back, knees or hips, you should stop using your orthotics and consult your podiatrist.
Orthotics at Feet By Pody
If you’re suffering from pain in your feet and lower limbs or you simply want a check up to ensure your feet remain in the best possible health, book a podiatry appointment and biomechanical assessment in one of our four, state-of-the-art London clinics.
To find our more, call Feet By Pody on 020 7099 6657 to speak with one of our friendly, knowledgeable healthcare professionals, or book online.