Orthotic therapy, otherwise known as insole therapy is a form of treatment that Podiatrists can use to manage a variety of complaints. Orthotics are devices that are designed to sit inside your footwear and interact with the foot. This interaction has a direct influence on the body, affecting posture, balance and function. They come in a wide variety of forms, shapes and materials, each having a particular use.
Orthotics can be designed in various forms to suit each individuals needs.
At Fluid Movement Podiatry, we specialise in the assessment and prescription of orthotics to assist our patients. Each patient functions differently and therefore needs different requirements to assist in their normal day-to-day life. Whether this be with sport, balance improvement, injury management, pressure distribution and/or rehabilitation, orthotic needs can vary enormously.
As part of our service, we look holistically at each patient’s function. This involves assessing how the foot, lower limb, knees, hips and lower back function together. This process is known as a biomechanical assessment. Simply, a biomechanical assessment reviews the way you move relative to your problem and aims to establish areas of weakness or high stress so that we can build a plan that will normalise the stress or weakness. This assessment allows us to best identify the most appropriate form of treatment required and whether orthotic therapy will be of benefit.
Orthotic treatments are tailored to the individual and range from firm, semi-flexible and soft insoles. They can be functional in their role, therefore influencing joint stress or muscle function. They can also be palliative in their role, thus reducing pressure on an area of the foot that is susceptible to break down or ulceration, like in a person with diabetes. Insoles can be custom-made to suit your foot and specific condition and we also stock a large number of pre-manufactured insoles that we can modify and mould to suit your treatment needs.
Orthotic therapy is generally only one part of the overall treatment plan. Orthotics can certainly bring about improvements on their own, however they are best complimented with other forms of treatment. When we involve a variety of forms of treatment in your management plan, we usually see more rapid changes in comfort and a greater ability to ensure long lasting benefits.
Common complimentary therapies that we at Fluid Movement Podiatry use along side orthotic therapy are:
- Dry needling
- Massage therapy
- Injection therapy
- Strapping techniques
- Padding techniques
- Stretching – passive and active
- Exercises – to improve muscle function, balance and movement patterns
- Footwear modification and advice
- Re-introduction to normal day-to-day or sporting activities – rehabilitation
“I like to think of an orthotic as a type of aid. They may not necessarily perfect someone’s alignment however they are a tool that can be used in a variety of circumstances and age groups with good effect.
They can be used to alter stress across a certain joint, muscle or tendon to normalise the stress. This can help with recovery from an injury or be used as a way of helping prevent injury in the future. Also they are often used to manage load on a certain area of your foot to improve weight-bearing distribution. This can assist with improvements in balance and help prevent falls and also help manage the consequences of higher foot pressures, such as corns and calluses.
While in the UK, I worked with a large number of people who suffered from hip and lower back concerns, mainly chronic. Assessing how the feet interact and influence the rest of the body can give us great insight into how to stabilise some of these concerns. Managing a patient’s function from a foot and lower limb perspective can dramatically improve loads through their knees, hips and lower back. It can allow a patient to improve day-to-day comfort and help them progress their rehabilitation or exercises therapy.
Orthotic therapy is often best complimented with other therapies. These can further enhance the orthotic benefits and aim at ensuring long-term effect. Complimentary therapies can include exercises, massage, dry needling, stretching and activity modification.”