What’s the best type of Orthotic for me?
The best orthotic for you depends on what your condition requires to give you the mobility you need. Orthotics have come to mean a support for the foot, but the term really covers all types of devices from the most simple insole to the most complex custom brace. In summary foot orthotics fall into four types:
Orthotics that provide cushioning
If you have tired and aching feet these orthotics are designed for your relief. Our Total Comfort orthotics are made to the pressure profile of your feet when either walking or standing. They're not corrective orthotics, nor are they designed for people who have significant structural changes in their feet. They are primarily designed for the large number of people who don’t have a painful condition, but can’t wait to get their shoes off at the end on the day as their feet ache.
Orthotics that redistribute weight
If you have changes in your foot structure that have created high pressure areas and inflammation the Total Support orthotics will help. The changes in your feet may have occurred from:
Arthritis; causing joint stiffness and deformity
Diabetic pressure areas; increasing the risk of potential ulceration
Previous injury; permanently altering the foot structure
Our Total Support orthotics are designed to redistribute the weight effectively off the pressure areas, ensuring that the areas the weight will be transferred to are able to cope with the increased stress. They are made from materials that absorb shock to protect the tissues and make walking much less uncomfortable.
Orthotics that limit excessive motion
Do you have genetically loose joints? Sometimes called 'double jointed, your feet and ankles are unstable and often significantly roll in or out. Sometimes the foot just collapses. The strain on the muscles and ligaments becomes very high resulting in continual tiredness, foot ache and will often lead to you not wanting to be active. Being inactive can then lead to weight gain making the condition worse.
Our Total Support orthotics use a medium density EVA material providing a balance of shock absorbtion and support. Your individual prescriptiom is designed to limit excessive motion that can become abnormal and through adaptation over time, lead to increased risk of injury.
Usually, when Total Support orthotics are prescribed, we provide a structured exercise plan with the aim of intrinsically improving the function of the joints and proprioception of the associated tissues. As the overall function of your feet improves, our Total Support orthotics can be easily adjusted to help achieve the maximum possible function of the auto supportive mechanisms of the foot.
Orthotics that correct the function of the feet
If you need to have your feet functioning at their absolute best Total Custom orthotics aim to restore your foot’s function to as close to optimum as possible.
Your individual prescription is designed to encourages your body weight to move through each foot so it is in the right place at the right time. This is important so forces are normalised through the structures that are designed to take them. In doing so your joints, muscles and tendons are aligned to work optimally.
Your Total Custom orthotics can be made from a large range of materials, depending on the required use for sport, work or active lifestyle, your shoe type, the level of correction you require and your body’s requirements.
How do we know which orthotics are best for you?
The key is to know what the orthotic needs to do to address your individual concerns. This will determine how complex the prescription needs to be.
If you want the best solution, the prescription is everything.
Often orthotics will cover more than one type, for example they may be designed to redistribute weight and be cushioning, depending on the material used. Exercise programs are also an integral part of the treatment process. If we're trying to offload painful arthritic joints, we'll aim to strengthen the muscles involved.
With orthotics that are designed to correct the function of the foot, we have a staged program of strengthening to ‘rehabilitate’ the functional auto supportive systems of the feet, with the aim that ultimately, the orthotics are not required in day to day living.
At your initial examination, we start by understanding what your condition is and whether orthotics may be required initially, or after we have addressed other components that make up the reason you are having pain or limited mobility, such as inflammation, stress reactions, tissue damage etc.
As part of the initial examination we use our 6 metre pressure walkway to assess your natural walking as well as functional movement and other research based examinations.
To have the best effect orthotics should be designed to your individual concerns. At Total Care Podiatry we have a range of orthotic options priced from $180 - $380 per pair. Some people find it's handy to have two pairs for different shoe types so we offer a 50% dicount for your 2nd pair, along with a $100 voucher toward a pair of our orthotic friendly footwear.
At Total Care Podiatry all our orthotics are made in our own milling lab so we can control and guarantee the entire process from the design to the end result.
Our Total Comfort range of predesigned orthotics come in a midfoot control or a rearfoot control design.
Our Total Custom orthotics are individually prescribed and designed using CAD (computer aided design). A Biomechanical Analysis is required to design the correct orthotic prescription for you. Your orthotic prescription takes into account five sources of information:
- Our understanding of your concerns and what you want to achieve
- The examination from both the Initial Consultation and your Biomechanical Analysis
- The 2D and 3D image models of your feet
- The pressure mapping (force placement and timing) of your feet in standing , walking and running (if applicable)
- The high speed video of your gait; both front and side views
Once the design has been created in the computer, it is sent to our milling machine to have the exact design created for you.
Often you may be given exercises, have mobilisation of the joints of your feet and ankles or be referred for soft tissue therapy, to ensure your muscles and joints are able to adapt to the correction of the orthotic, and will work with the orthotic not against it. These supportive treatments also make getting used to the orthotic correction during the ‘wearing-in’ period a whole lot easier!