Orthotics and Arch Support Therapy

  • Helps to evenly distribute pressure/force on the soles of the feet
  • Allows your feet to function with a normal gait pattern
  • Helps to reduce pain and allow tissue healing

How Do Orthotics and Arch Supports Help?

Customised foot orthotics prescribed by a podiatrist can be very helpful in the treatment of lower limb, foot, knee, hip, and back pain, fatigue, and/or function.

The foot is a very complex structure consisting of 26 bones. It has many ligaments and tendons that help support the arches and supports the body’s entire weight.

The feet form the base of the body, and if there is a misalignment in the feet this can lead to abnormal pressures on the rest of the body, such as the knees, hips, and lower back.

Customised foot orthotics evenly distribute pressure/force on the soles of the feet, alleviating pain and preventing injuries.

Customised foot orthotics (made specifically for your feet) are very different from simple arch supports purchased in a pharmacy or sports store.

They have specific modifications to apply direct forces to certain aspects of the foot. These forces improve postural stability, decrease tissue stresses and improve foot function.

They are like prescription glasses and are only effective while you are wearing them. However, foot posture may improve with continual wear of your foot orthotics, which can last anywhere from 6 months to 5 years.

This is why is it important to have your devices assessed by a podiatrist every 6-12 months.

There are three different types of material that are commonly used by podiatrists in the manufacturer of customised foot orthotics. The softer devices are made from EVA (Ethylvinylacetate) material and the firmer devices are polypropylene and carbon fibre. These materials differ in properties and will be prescribed depending on your symptoms, foot type, activity level, footwear, and age.


Do Children Need to Wear Orthotics?

If your child is in pain or has an unusual walking style they may benefit from foot orthotics, but the age at which they should wear them is very individualised and based on their foot concern.

In some cases, a simple wedge, exercises, and monitoring may be all that is necessary while they are growing.

If you are concerned with the appearance of your children’s feet or their walking pattern it is best to get them assessed as young as possible to ensure normal development.

How Do I Know If I Need Orthotics?

At Well Heeled Podiatry, we undertake a thorough assessment of the way you walk, stand and how your feet function.  We assess your pain and injury to determine if you would benefit from customised Foot Orthotics.

We use 3D digital scanners to take impressions of your feet and high quality materials manufactured in Melbourne to design your foot orthoses.

Our podiatrist will make sure your foot orthoses are as practical as possible when it comes to shoe fitting. Customised foot orthoses allow your feet to function with a normal gait pattern. They help to redistribute pressure under the feet and activate the right muscles. This helps to reduce pain and allow tissue healing.

The Normal Gait Cycle

Consists of a swing phase (40%) and stance phase (60%), with one gait cycle comprising two steps. The stance phase, (where the foot is in contact with the ground) has 3 phases:

1st phase:

Contact phase is when the heel first strikes the ground. The heel should strike the ground at the center, so normal shoe wear should occur on the central outer of the shoe. This phase continues until the foot is flat on the ground and carries into phase 2.

2nd phase:

Midstance is where the weight passes over the foot. The joints in our feet unlock with internal rotation, knee flexion, and forward tilt of the pelvis to allow for shock absorption.

These first two phases total half of the gait cycle and is where patients will experience most heel, arch, and midfoot pain if any abnormalities exist.

3rd phase:

Propulsion phase is the final phase of gait. It incorporates toe-off, where the foot pushes off the ground allowing forward momentum. The foot will lock into place, with external rotation and extension of the knee and posterior tilt of the pelvis. Most forefoot pain will manifest in this phase of the gait cycle.

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