Foot orthoses are something that we commonly use in our practice to manage a wide variety of foot, ankle and lower limb conditions.
In a Podiatry sense, Orthotics (or Foot Orthoses to give them their correct name) are medical devices that are accommodated within footwear. They can serve many different purposes; to help prevent foot ulcers in Diabetic patients, to help improve the comfort of a patient who has Rheumatoid Arthritis, they are used to treat children’s foot issues and are most commonly used to treat various lower limb musculoskeletal injuries. They can be made of many different materials such as polypropylene, EVA, carbon fiber, graphite composites or polyurethane. They can be custom-made or they can be preformed.
So, when is it appropriate to use foot orthoses? Well that really depends on what we are trying to achieve. For example, orthoses used to treat a painful flat foot would have very different properties to that of orthoses used to treat pain in the ball of the foot, and they would differ from orthoses used to offload a diabetic foot ulcer. Sometimes orthoses would be used for a relatively short period of time to aid the rehabilitation of a sporting injury for example, and in other cases they would be required indefinitely.
Orthoses are just like any other form of treatment, they need to be correctly prescribed for the presenting problem. Where they are incorrectly prescribed, without clear clinical reasoning, you are much more likely to get a poor outcome. At Footcare Scotland we will always use foot orthoses as part of a treatment plan which may include strengthening or stretching exercises, footwear modification/advice, gait retraining or referral to another specialist. If you think that foot orthoses may help your foot/ankle or lower limb issue, then please feel free to get in touch and we can discuss your options.