Physiotherapists and podiatrists have been prescribing orthotics for years, and for good reason. Here is a little write up about orthotics and how they can help you.
The basic idea is that orthotics stabilize and help control your feet and lower limbs, allowing other components of your treatment to be more effective, and more rapidly. This helps to reduce foot and posture related pain, injury and muscle fatigue, so you can recover more quickly – Ideal right?
So why do we need foot support?
Yes, we, as humans, have been around for thousands of years, roaming the earth in all sorts of footwear and a lot of the time in plain old bare feet. But the thing is that the environment that we live in has changed – quite a lot for most of us. We didn’t evolve to be walking around on artificial, hard surfaces all day long and our feet weren’t made to be cramped up in little foot coffins (shoes) for a lot of the day. These two things force our feet to flatten, twist and compress with each step.
We also have changed what we do during the day – less tree climbing, less mountain climbing and fossicking, instead watching more TV, sitting at desks and wearing high heels or hard business shoes. So when we do go and push ourselves physically it is a bit of a shock to the system because more often than not our bodies are deconditioned and are put under more stress and strain than they are used to.
And I’m not even going to get started on the jandals, heels, ballet flats and other poor fitting shoes that really mess with our feet. Far too often are shoes worn for their good looks than their functionality.
Luckily, this is where orthotics come in. They can be slipped into almost any shoe (meaning you can still look good!) to do the job of absorbing undue pressure, correcting proper biomechanics and supporting your arch.
So what can orthotics help with?
Pain related to or associated with your feet can be felt anywhere from your low back to your big toe. The main areas that orthotics can help with are:
Low back pain
Foot pain or plantar fasciitis
If your are having trouble in any of these areas, it may be worth asking your physio whether orthotics would help you, and if you don’t have a physio – drop in and see one. Physio’s are perfectly placed to prescribe the right orthotics for you – if they are even needed. And remember, a treatment plan for any injury or pain is not just about wearing the right shoes or orthotics, often it can include the right strengthening and stretching exercises and possibly even changes to your lifestyle habits. This is because orthotics do help, especially it the short term but it always pays to address any strength deficits as well, for long term relief.
A physio can help guide you through making changes that, in the long term, will save you money, save you a lot of pain and discomfort, and help you get the most enjoyment out of life.
How do you really know if they will help you?
There is actually a great test we can do that will give us a better idea if orthotics can help. A physio can strap up your feet in such a way that they mimic the effects of a orthotics – leave this on for up to 2-3 days and if this helps you then orthotics generally will too!
Variety – Which ones are best for me?
There are also different orthotics to suit different shoes so that you wil be comfortable in what ever you are wearing, whether it is heels, work boots or football boots. We can generally order these in, within 1-2 days, if they aren’t in stock.
Here at PhysoSteps in Ashburton, we are now stocking one of the most trusted brands of orthotics – Formthotics, who have been in the industry for 30 years. Come in and see one of the friendly team to see if orthotics are right for you