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Do I Need Orthotics?
We commonly get asked by people “Do I need orthotics?”. The answer depends on a lot of factors which are detailed below.
People often use the term “flat feet” to describe the motion that is actually “pronation” or rolling inwards of the feet. Pronation is a necessary and normal part of gait required for shock absorption and even high arched feet can be pronated. Problems tend to arise when people excessively pronate or pronate at the wrong phase of gait.
Supination is the opposite of pronation, when the feet roll outwards. Supination is also a necessary and normal part of gait required so that the feet can become rigid levers to propel the body forward. Excessively supinated feet tend to be quite poor at absorbing shock which means they are not ideally suited to prolonged high impact activity.
The following photos & links show various foot mechanics. When viewing these, draw comparisons to a car’s wheel alignment or a building’s foundation, ie; they should be vertically aligned and a stable base for the above structure.
Our commitment to our patients –
- Expert assessment, diagnosis & treatments, every time
We will assess your mechanics, footwear, activities, etc. & explain everything in plain language so that you can make an informed decision.
- A 4 year orthotic shell guarantee
If your custom made orthotic shells break within 4 years, we will replace them free of charge.
- A 1 year top-cover guarantee
If your original top-covers wear out within the 1st year, we will replace them free of charge.
- Free 1st year review consultations
If you have any issues with your custom made orthotics within the 1st year, we will see you & alter the orthotics free of charge.
- A 20% discount on a 2nd pair of custom made orthotics
Order a 2nd pair of orthotics within 2 months of the 1st pair and you will receive a 20% discount off the original orthotic costs.
The Orthotic Solutions Podiatry commitment to our patients is subject to the Terms & Conditions detailed on our website.
Click here for our Maroubra clinic reviews.
Click here for our Bondi Junction clinic reviews.
Click here for our Kensington clinic reviews (we only opened in July 2018, thus not many reviews yet).
Ideal foot mechanics
Note the alignment of the foot relative to the shin.
Pronated Foot Mechanics
This high arched foot is excessively pronated – note the stress area.
Supinated Foot Mechanics
Whereas this high arched foot is excessively supinated.
The height, shape, mass, alignment, flexibility, etc. of each person’s body all play a part in the suitability for high impact weight bearing activity such as running. Furthermore, some people have hyper-flexible ligaments which means their joints often move past an ideal range, creating an unstable base (think of wobbly front wheels on your car…).
Typically, hyper-flexible people respond very well to orthotics as the excessive motion of their feet is minimised. Bodies are rarely symmetrical, thus people can have different leg lengths which require treatment via heel lifts or orthotics depending on the amount of the difference.
You may not like to read it, but it’s true that we all wear out at some point and for a lot of people it starts in their 30s to 40s. Not many professional athletes continue past their early to mid 30s as their muscles & tendons are less supple or their joints may have early stages of the dreaded osteoarthritis.
Thus, the older we get, the less our body copes with misalignments or wear & tear. Again, back to the car analogy – if you ignore a poor wheel alignment in an older model car and keep driving it for long enough, worn tyres will be the least of your problems.
Aches & Pains
Quite simply, if you have aches & pains every time you stand, walk or run, something must be wrong with the way you stand, walk or run. It may be that the injuries from times gone by are coming back to haunt you, but they don’t necessarily have to cause so much discomfort.
Level of Activity
The more high impact weight bearing activity (such as running) that you do, the more you magnify all of the factors mentioned above, especially in the modern, concrete world.
Types of Orthotics
If you do end up needing orthotics, the team at Orthotic Solutions Podiatry will not use rigid plastic or rigid carbon fibre orthotics. We believe that feet should move naturally and that orthotics should guide them into better positions rather than rigidly blocking pronation – remember that pronation actually helps absorb shock from the concrete world.
We often use Formthotic pre-made orthotics for those milder cases of pronation and they are our preferred option for children whose feet are still growing (for more information on children, please see ‘Children’s Flat Feet Treatment – The Truth About Kids Orthotics‘). When a patient does need custom orthotics, all our podiatrists use flexible ‘sports orthotics’ the majority of the time as these are worn comfortably by our patients. Please watch this video for more information.
The Orthotic Solutions Podiatry commitment is subject to the Terms & Conditions detailed on our website.