Do I need orthotics?Back to FAQs
A common question encountered in physiotherapy clinical practise is ‘Do I need orthotics?’. The use of orthotics is often indicated in patients with abnormal lower limb alignment and biomechanics, particularly of the feet. That is, they stand, walk or run, with less than ideal posture or movement patterns. Lower limb biomechanical abnormalities are often associated with the development of lower limb, pelvic or lower back injuries.
One of the most common biomechanical abnormalities seen in clinical practice is overpronated feet (flat feet). Flat feet frequently contribute to the development of numerous injuries. However, if you have flat feet, you don’t necessarily need orthotics. Many people who have flat feet never develop an injury associated with their foot posture. Usually orthotics are only indicated when a patient presents with abnormal lower limb mechanics AND they have an injury that is related to their poor biomechanics.
It is important to note that other factors related to the development of the injury also need to be addressed to ensure an optimal outcome. Wearing orthotics alone is usually inadequate to completely recover from an injury. Physiotherapy assessment and treatment can assist in identifying other contributing factors (such as muscle tightness, weakness, joint stiffness or lifestyle factors etc) and can correct these through appropriate treatment and exercise.
The prescription of orthotics in patients suffering from injury is usually indicated if foot postural taping (i.e. supporting the arch) causes a reduction in symptoms. Physiotherapists and podiatrists are experts in assessing the need for orthotics and should be consulted to assess the suitability of orthotics for a particular condition.
Appropriate footwear is also important and needs to be specific for the particular orthotic. There is a variety of orthotics available on the market, both “off-the-shelf” varieties and specifically casted orthotics designed for your individual feet. If you think you may need orthotics or are wondering ‘Do I need orthotics?’, a review with a physiotherapist or podiatrist is recommended. Click here to find a physiotherapist in your local area.
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