Orthopedic insoles

What are orthotics?

Orthotics are prescription medical devices worn inside the shoe to correct foot problems and relieve pain. They are custom-made to fit the feet and are designed to last a long time, over a period of several years. They are removable, so they can be used in combination with different pairs of shoes. Orthopedic insoles should be prescribed by a qualified podiatrist working in a specialized orthopedic service. This is because the correct prescription requires a detailed assessment of the biomechanical dysfunction of the foot and analysis of the effect on gait.

Orthopedic insoles are prescribed medical devices that are worn inside the shoe to correct foot problems.

Why are they made?

There are a wide range of conditions and deformities that can affect the feet and gait, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome
  • Arthritis
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Sever’s disease
  • Flat feet
  • Shin splints
  • Bunions

Custom insoles can reduce pain, improve walking, reduce stress on other parts of the body and stop or prevent the development of foot deformities.

What is involved?

An initial appointment should last at least 40 minutes, where the podiatrist will perform a detailed assessment of the foot problems and how they affect the way you walk. The podiatrist should then decide whether orthotics are the best form of treatment, or if an alternative treatment would be more appropriate (see below). Most orthotic insole services include scanning of the feet to create the model of the insoles. Some clinics may offer “express” services that manufacture and deliver the insoles the same day. Fitting is the final stage of the process. It is important that you bring with you the shoes you wear the most, because, although the insoles can be removed and reused in different shoes, they are designed to work best in one pair. If you are given a plaster cast of your feet, it is important to keep it as it can be used to design any other insole.

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Insoles are designed to last for several years, but should they break or need repair, the clinic should offer a repair and maintenance service.

Alternatives to this treatment

Orthotics can be helpful in correcting a number of biomechanical problems in the foot, but it is not always the correct treatment or the complete solution. In some cases, proprioceptive insoles may be a better solution if poor posture is the main problem you are experiencing. Foot problems can also affect what shoes you can wear. In this situation, you may benefit from fitted footwear in addition to orthotics. There are also a range of orthotic devices other than insoles that may better treat your condition. These devices can include fabric supports, carbon fiber leg braces, ankle braces and knee braces.

Finally, some conditions, such as iliotibial band syndrome, may be best treated with other treatments as a whole, such as physical therapy and stretching exercises.