If you have ongoing foot or leg pain orthotics may be the solution.
Many people suffer with ongoing or recurrent pain or injury in their legs and feet. They are baffled as to why they continually have problems, whereas other people they know do not. Because of the pain or injury, they seek help in the form of localised treatment to the injured part. They may take pain killers or anti-inflammatory medication. Unfortunately, these measures don't cure the problem or may only help in the short term. In these cases we recommend a biomechanical assessment of your feet and legs, to see whether orthotic correction is indicated.
What are orthotics?
Orthotics are inserts that fit inside the shoe. They are designed to decrease abnormal motion of the foot, while allowing for normal movement. Orthotics realign your feet to a more usual or "neutral" position, restore balance. They often improve sports performance and serve to eliminate or reduce foot, back and leg pain by improving function and efficiency.
How do I know if I need orthotics?
Orthotics benefit people with faulty foot mechanics. Some mechanical problems are obvious. They include: flat feet, excessive pronation, bow legs, knock knees, pigeon-toes, "duck feet" or high-arched feet. However, many mechanical problems in the feet are subtle, and are not detected until symptoms occur.
If you have recurrent or chronic foot or leg problems, you should consider having your biomechanics assessed by your physiotherapist. Sometimes prescribing correct footwear is all you will need. In some cases, your physiotherapist can use corrective taping to simulate the action of an orthotic to determine whether an actual orthotic will help you. Very often, your physiotherapist will, based on past clinical experience, simply be able to recognise that you need orthotics; to help you achieve full resolution of your pain or injury.
Custom made or off the shelf?
The next question is whether to have custom made, or off the shelf orthotics. While there are pros and cons for both, you will receive benefit from either. If orthotics are required, your physiotherapist will help you decide.
Are orthotics the end of the story and who should I see?
Many physiotherapists have developed an active interest in orthotic prescription. They are skilled to prescribe the orthotics themselves; in conjunction with treatment such as corrective exercises and physiotherapy modalities. In short, if you have recurrent or chronic leg or foot problems, speak to your physiotherapist. In some instances, further referral to a podiatrist may be warranted. Your physiotherapist can discuss this with you.