What are Orthotics?
Orthotics are devices or insoles worn inside shoes to help correct the position of the foot. Poor position of the foo t can cause pain in the foot, ankle, knee, hip and back. They work in a similar way to braces on your teeth, by gently exerting pressure on your feet to bring them back into proper alignment. Once your feet are working in the way they were designed to there will be reduced muscle strain, as the body does not have to try to control the poor mechanics, and shock absorbing will be improved.
How do I know if I need Orthotics?
There are several ways in which you can tell if you have faulty foot mechanics, and could therefore benefit from a pair of orthotics.
These include experiencing the following symptoms:
Localized foot pain
Bunions or hammer toes
Arch or heel pain
Leg or knee pain
Hip, back or even neck pain
Prescription orthotics can help relieve your pain by realigning and stabilising the bones in your feet, restoring your natural walking pattern and offloading tissues under strain.
Help My Orthotics don t Fit!
This is a common complaint we hear from patients who arrive at our clinic. And on occasion we have had patients arrive with a bag full of orthotics that they can t wear! At Wicklow Physiotherapy Clinic we know that prescription of orthotics is not always a straight forward task. We as experienced practitioners pride ourselves in being able to choose the correct orthotic for a patient. Sometimes in more complex cases there is a little trial and error and we will make sure your orthotic is comfortable, wearable and reduces the stresses on your body.
It is also important to note that an orthotic alone is not always going to solve your pain. We as musculoskeletal therapists are skilled in recognising any muscular weaknesses or other postural abnormalities you may have and we will always address any deficits in these in addition to providing an orthotic thus ensuring the best possible outcome for your symptoms.
Off the Shelf vs custom Devices
Are you put off the idea of orthotics because you think they are too expensive?
There are many varieties of orthotics available and they range in price from less than twenty euro to over one hundred. The more expensive orthotics are generally what we call custom made devices. A customised insole is one which is specifically made for a patients feet by an orthotic laboratory.
The less expensive opitions are known as off the shelf devices. These can also be altered by your physiotherapist as necessary. The range of off the shelf orthotics devices has expanded greatly over the last number of years and the quality of the insoles is high.
At Wicklow Physiotherapy Clinic we find that the majority of patients will be helped by an off the shelf device. It is our aim to provide the patient with an orthotic that corrects the problem without breaking the bank. The most expensive device isn t necessarily the most effective one!
What does a biomechanical assessment involve?
Your physiotherapist will first focus primarily on the biomechanics of your feet and legs. You will also be screened for any other postural abnormalities or contributing problems eg a stiff hip or spine. We will then look at how your limbs interact with the ground beneath them as you walk and run to determine how this has caused your specific foot, ankle, shin, knee, hip or even lower back problem.
We combine the findings of the biomechanical assessment with the postural assessment and then will provide you with options for which orthotic we feel will suit your needs best.
We want to ensure you get back as soon as possible to whatever it is you do. We offer long term solutions to existing injuries and also ways of keeping you in your game or the activities you have a passion for for longer without sustaining further injury.