What are Orthotics?
An orthotic is an externally applied device used to modify the structural and functional characteristics of the neuromuscular and skeletal system. The orthotics used at the Clinic are specialised insoles for shoes which change the position of your foot in your shoe, to correct postural and gait abnormalities.
Orthotics are an essential part of ensuring good posture whilst on your feet - whether you are standing still, walking about or taking part in sport. The positioning of your foot influences not only the biomechanics of your foot, ankle, knee and hip, but can also have a profound effect on your overall body posture and spinal mechanics. It is therefore important that you are getting it right!
Why might I need orthotics?
Good orthotics to correct biomechanical foot problems can play an important part in the treatment of many common problems including
- sore and aching feet
- plantar fasciitis
- hallux valgus (bunions)
- dropped arches
- recurrent ankle strains
- chronic or recurrent knee and hip problems may also be compounded by an underlying foot or gait problem
- chronic back pain will often benefit from correcting an imbalance in the foot that has gone un-noticed
- for those demanding high level performance from their bodies, small changes in the pattern of foot fall can have a huge impact on their level of achievement
What happens in an assessment?
Osteopaths are expert in assessing foot structure and function, and in understanding how this can affect other areas of the body. Within an hour, it is usually possible to carry out a thorough biomechanical assessment of the foot and its effect on the lower limb, pelvis and spine, and then custom-fit a pair of heat-mouldable orthotics.
Foot inversion is a very common finding, and not only puts additional pressure on the structures of the foot and ankle, but the subsequent rotation of the knee and hip can cause chronic or recurrent pain in these joints and the muscles around them, as they struggle to work efficiently at abnormal angles.
If your joints are already showing signs of wear and tear (as in osteoarthritis), any extra strain on the joint and supporting tissues from foot inversion can cause more pain, and accelerate any deterioration.
How long does treatment take?
Some people will need time to adjust to the changes that orthotics can make, and a phased period of introduction may be necessary, gradually wearing the orthotics for a little longer each day.
In cases that require a substantial adjustment this can be done over a period of time to allow the body to adapt gradually to the changes that are being demanded of it. Patients will generally be reviewed after 4 to 6 weeks and any minor adjustments made.
With normal use, these orthotics should last for about 2 years, but subtle changes may be recommended within this period. The orthotics we use come in a range of sizes, densities and fittings which means that we can accommodate most feet.
How much will it cost?
The cost of orthotics will normally be within the range of £40 - £50, and they can usually be fitted within a standard consultation which is charged at the ordinary rate of £49 for an initial consultation and £42 for subsequent consultations.
What do I do next?
If you think that you might need orthotics, please telephone the Clinic to make an appointment to see an osteopath. Both Jonathan Penny (Principal Osteopath) and James Horwood have undertaken additional post-graduate training in orthotics.