What is orthotics therapy?
Orthotics are a corrective appliance that fits easily into the shoe to gently redistribute the body weight more effectively. They correct any abnormalities in the way that we walk. Orthotics are a great way also to correct any body misallignments that can lead to uneven or excessive foot pressure.
How does orthotics therapy help?
Orthoses help the brain to send messages to the ligaments to correct the firing pattern of the muscles in the body. This corrects poor body mechanics via proprioception from the cerebellium in the brain. The cerebellium is the part of the brain that is largely responsible for reporting unconscious sensory feedback to other parts of the body down the spinal cord. By correcting the body in this way orthotics can help with your foot, knee, hip and lower back problems.
Are there different types of orthoses?
Orthotics can come in the form of simple shoe insoles
which are not corrective but help to offload both feet, which can help with foot pain. Temporary orthoses canalso help to correct and rehabilitate an injury, whilst ongoing treatment is taking place. A permanently prescribed orthotic, is generally used to help with longer term mechanical problems.
What are the advantages of prescribed orthoses vs. temporary orthoses?
It is generally accepted that a temporary devise is fine for short term problems such as helping to resolve a short term sports injury. But, for a longer term solution a permanent orthotic is considered more preferable. Temporary devises generally have a shelf life of around 6-8 months for general usage. They can be used as well to see if an orthotic can help with an injury and then a more permanent device can be used at a later stage if it proves favourable.
Where better control and accuracy is required a permanent orthotic is a better solution. In the same way that you go to an optician to have an eye test, it is advisable to go to a Podiatrist to have a biomechanical assessment. Your feet and lower limbs will be measured correctly. Also, permanent orthoses just do that, the shell lasts for a lifetime, but any postings may require refurbishment in 3-5 years.
What material are orthoses available in?
Orthoses are available in a wide range of materials from carbon fibre, EVA, polypropylene and thermoplastics.
What conditions are orthoses used to help with?
Localised foot pain.
Bunions, hammer toes.
Arch/ heel pain.
Hip, lower back or even neck pain.
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