Foot orthoses are shoe inserts designed to support, align, or improve the function of the foot. They are also often commonly referred to as ‘orthotics’. Orthoses fit comfortably inside your shoes.
There are many different kinds of orthoses. The orthoses recommended by your podiatrist are prescription devices, custom-made to suit your individual needs and biomechanics (the way your body moves).
People of all ages with a variety of foot or lower leg problems wear orthoses. Sportspeople are often prescribed orthoses by their podiatrist to help maximise their performance, as well as to address mechanical problems.
Anyone suffering from a chronic foot or lower limb condition which is limiting their mobility or independence may benefit from wearing orthoses.
Your podiatrist may prescribe orthoses for your particular foot problem after a comprehensive assessment, taking into account your own biomechanics, footwear, and occupational and lifestyle factors.
Orthoses provide valuable long-term solutions in the treatment and prevention of corns, callous and ulceration by redistributing the pressure of the body's weight on the feet. Orthoses also help with rehabilitation of acute and chronic foot conditions such as tendonitis, recurrent ankle sprain and stress fractures, by providing consistent postural control.
If orthoses are recommended, your podiatrist will design a care plan. This plan will outline your diagnosis, the type of orthoses you have been prescribed, proposed footwear to wear with your orthoses, lifestyle changes you may need to make, as well as any additional treatment which may be required.
Cushioning orthoses provide cushioning and padding underfoot with shock absorption during walking. Pressure relief orthoses offer additional relief by redistributing the pressure on problem areas of the foot. Moulded cast or non-cast orthoses offer similar features with superior fit, whilst prefabricated orthoses provide relief with the benefits of being customised by your podiatrist. Functional foot (customised kinetic) orthoses offer all these features, plus the benefit of postural realignment.
Podiatrists are the primary health care practitioners for disorders of the foot and lower leg, dealing not only with diagnosis and treatment, but also prevention and rehabilitation. When prescribing orthoses, your podiatrist provides a comprehensive service to ensure safe and effective foot care, including: