An orthotic is a device worn in shoes, designed to align the foot and ankle into the most anatomically efficient position. Orthotics support, correct and prevent foot abnormalities or deformities. A well designed orthotic controls how the foot strikes the ground, absorbs shock and reduces stress through the feet, knees and hips.
There are many different types of orthotics including;
Prefabricated Orthotics- These are already made orthotics that are usually made from Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) which is a more flexible material. These orthotics have a standardised (minimum) amount of correction and come in various sizes that fit most shoes. These orthotics can be modified by the podiatrist to increase the correction or add further cushioning.
Precast Orthotics- Precast orthotics ‘Joeys’ offer a range of corrective and contoured devices with the same premium padding options as custom orthotics. The main difference in comparison to custom made orthotics is the correction and sizing is done by tracing the foot and matching it with the most suitable template. The orthotic material can be made out of various densities of polypropylene which is a more rigid material than EVA and usually lasts longer.
Custom made orthotics are made using various densities of EVA or polypropylene and are made using direct plaster molds or scans of the feet. The podiatrist will perform a comprehensive biomechanical assessment and determine the exact amount of correction required to realign foot posture to reduce tissue stress. Custom-made orthotics are recommended when a prefabricated and precast orthotic is unable to offer the necessary correction or specific accommodation needed for the pathology.
Do I need orthotics?
If you are suffering from foot, ankle, knee, hip or lower back pain, it is recommended that you have a biomechanical assessment with a podiatrist so that they can check for any abnormalities and contributing factors to injury and tissue stress. Foot pain is not normal but many people go on suffering when treatment is a phone call away.