What are orthotics?

When people talk about orthotics, they are usually referring to rigid inserts that are placed in a shoe in order to provide increased support for the foot.


Why might I need orthotics?

Historically, orthotics are often prescribed to improve the arch support of a foot, where the arches are too high, or too low. Most commonly, the foot is excessively ‘pronating’, that is, the arches are flatter than what is considered normal.

When and why we use orthotics has changed over time. The latest research suggests orthotics should be used as a short term treatment, rather than as inserts that are used for life. That is, they should be used as a strategy to support the foot when it is very sore, but not permanently as the body will learn to rely on them. The goal in the longer term is that we develop the appropriate strength and control to do without the orthotics.  When it comes to control, we need to be looking at the body holistically, ensuring not just that the feet are strong, but that other areas such as the knees, hips and back are not causing the feet to be pushed into undesirable positions.

What about children?

Our body changes over time as we grow. Often arches develop further as we get older. Having ‘flat feet’ is not necessarily a bad thing, if that is what our body is used too. Orthotics should only be considered if we feel the positioning of the foot is causing us considerable pain or strain. If we have flat feet, but they are not causing us
issues, we should leave them alone. And if we do decide that orthotics are appropriate, most of the time they should only be used as a short term strategy to control pain.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our staff.


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