T4 Physio

Orthotics: Are They the Answer to Your Foot, Leg, or Back Pain?

A Physiotherapist, Podiatrist or a Doctor may prescribe orthotics to treat foot, leg or back problems.

Orthotics act a lot like eyeglasses, they are precisely calibrated devices designed to correct any areas of poor function within the foot and optimise the performance of your body.  Like eyeglasses your prescription must be based on an accurate diagnosis of any pathology and an assessment of how your body functions.

Read on to discover the conditions orthotics can treat and how effective they can be.

How to tell if you need orthotics

Orthotics can be part of a comprehensive treatment plan to address various symptoms, usually having to do with pain and discomfort of the feet and legs. Orthotics can be used for:

  • correcting foot deformities
  • helping the foot or ankle function better
  • providing support to the ankle
  • reducing the risks for further injuries
  • Alleviating foot pain.
  • Controlling or correcting abnormal gait patterns.
  • Improving the shock absorbing properties of a foot.
  • Providing padding (cushioning) to rest sore areas on the foot such as corns and calluses.
  • Helping the older foot with support.
  • Reducing symptoms from lower back, hip, knee, ankle and foot that may be generated from foot abnormalities.
  • Controlling of lower limb function in competitive athletes.

Orthotics are more than just a heel pad or shoe insert you can buy at most pharmaceutical stores. They’re highly customized inserts custom made for your feet.

What conditions are orthotics used to treat?

Orthotics may be prescribed to treat a number of medical conditions. Examples include:

  • Arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can cause discomfort in the feet and poor positioning that orthotics may help to correct.
  • Back pain. Sometimes poor positioning of the feet, such as arches that roll inward, or lack of cushioning can cause pain that orthotics can lessen.
  • Bunions. Bunions are painful bumps that can develop at the base of the big toe and cause foot deformities. Orthotics with a wide toe box can help to reduce pressure on the big toe.
  • Bursitis. Inflammation of fluid-filled sacs in the heels and toes can cause bursitis pain and discomfort. Orthotics with heel and arch support can help to reduce bursitis discomfort.
  • Diabetes. Sometimes, a person with diabetes can lose sensation in their feet, a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. When this occurs, orthotics can help to reduce excess stress and pressure that can lead to foot ulcers.
  • Flat feet. Flat feet can cause foot, ankle, and back pain. Orthotics can help to support the feet and promote proper foot positioning.
  • Hammer toes. Hammer toes often occur as a side effect of bunions on the big toe. They cause second-toe pain and deformities on the ball of the foot. Orthotics can provide additional support to the feet and reduce the likelihood that hammer toes will worsen.
  • Heel spurs. Heel spurs are conditions where excess bone grows on the back or bottom of the heel. Orthotics can support the foot and reduce inflammation.
  • High arches. Very high arches can stress muscles in the feet and lead to a number of conditions, such as shin splints, knee pain, and plantar fasciitis. Orthotics can help prevent a person’s feet from rolling excessively inward or outward.
  • Injuries. People who’ve experienced trauma to their feet and ankles may require extra support during the healing process with orthotics.
  • Plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain. Doctors may sometimes recommend orthotics to support the heel and foot.

Some other conditions which orthotics can benefit include:-

  • Forefoot pain (Mortons neuroma, Metatarsalgia etc)
  • Heel pain (plantar fascitis)
  • Arch pain
  • Ankle pain
  • Muscular pain in the legs, feet and ankles
  • Hip pain
  • Lower back pain

How can orthotics help?

Orthotics reposition the foot structure to achieve optimum skeletal balance, thereby reducing the stress on the joints that are causing the discomfort. They do this by controlling joint movement, and by altering some angles to prevent excessive motion.

Ideally, orthotics and other treatments can help a person avoid more invasive treatments, such as surgery.

At T4 Physio, we would like to invite you to a free consultation to find out more about orthotics so you can decide for yourself whether they would be right for you.

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