Evidence based research across many countries and decades has shown that orthoses, or orthotics as they are frequently called, have beneficial effect in treating many musculoskeletal conditions of the lower limb and the foot. The Ultimate aim of such orthoses is to alter angular alignments and function of various foot and lower limb joints, redistribute excessive pressures and loads, and reduce excessive muscle loading, ultimately to bring about overall improved postural stability and function, and also help to reduce lower limb pain. Custom made devices are obviously far more effective at providing this as they are tailored made (see below). Podiatrists are foot and lower limb specialists educated in the prescription and manufacture of foot orthoses. Podiatrists at Karak and Wilson Podiatry group stress the importance of a combined treatment program of stretching, rest, strengthening, footwear selection etc. to complement an orthotic program especially to reduce symptomatic pain.
Prefabricated or ‘off the shelf’ orthoses, as per rigid and soft orthoses, are designed to alter angular alignments of the feet to reduce excessive pressure and loads, and therefore improving postural stability and ultimately reducing symptoms associated with lower leg and foot pain. Prefabricated devices however do differ significantly to custom orthoses in that they are designed for a general fit (length, width and arch contour) and not from a three dimensional plaster cast of the foot, and therefore are not always as effective as a custom made alternative. Your podiatrist will biomechanically assess your feet and overall posture and inform you if these softer generic devices are appropriate for your needs. Often your podiatrist will need to alter angulations of control built into such devices to ‘customise’ them to your needs. To make an appointment refer to our contact link for practice details.