Do I Need Orthotics, by Shane Brennan, chartered physiotherapist and orthotics specialist at Mid West Physiotherapy, Limerick. Shane has a special interest in foot biomechanical disorders and specialises in the prescription of custom orthotics. Here, Shane explains the common questions that our patients have regarding orthotics.
Do I Need orthotics?
There are 2 distinct groups of people who need orthotics. Firstly – those who attend the clinic with foot/ankle/leg pain in the presence of a biomechanical abnormality in the foot. The second group are those who attend without pain, but who have a foot shape or gait pattern that could lead them to developing issues down the line.
What do you mean by a biomechanical abnormality?
In simple terms, a biomechanical abnormality means that when you walk, the forces aren’t going down through the foot and ankle in the most efficient way. This puts the smaller bones, joints and muscles in the foot and ankle under more pressure than they are able to tolerate. Sometimes this can be painful straight away, or sometimes it can take some time for the pain to develop.
I have a flat feet, do I need orthotics?
People are born with all different shapes and sizes of feet. Some people with flat feet can go through their whole lives without needing orthotics, while some can’t bring out the bins without pain. The key to finding out whether or not you need orthotics would be a thorough assessment.
What does the assessment involve?
The biomechanics assessment is made up of a few different stages:
Firstly, I will look at the feet and carry out some strength and flexibility tests. Then I will have a look at you walking. Based on what I see there, I will start constructing an orthotic prescription.
I will then stand you on a prescription platform and use small temporary inserts to alter the position of your foot. I will re-test some movements to assess the impact of these adjustments. Once I am happy that these adjustments have improved the load-bearing ability of the foot and ankle, I will make note of what adjustments have been used, and have the lab build those into your orthotic.
The final part of the orthotic process is to do a 3D scan of the foot. Our 3D scan allows us to get a clear, accurate outline of the foot to optimise comfort of the orthotic. This is what makes the orthotic yours – It ensures that the shape of the orthotic is moulded to your foot, and allows us to make very subtle alterations based on our assessment findings.
Will I still need physio after my orthotics?
Most people see an improvement in their pain once they get used to the orthotics and the load-bearing ability of the foot and ankle is enhanced. For a lot of people, this improvement will be supplemented by strengthening and flexibility exercises, so ongoing physiotherapy may be needed.
How long do the orthotics last?
Because most of the orthotics we prescribe are 3D printed, they are much more durable than traditional orthotics. Also, because of the 3D printing process, the covers adhere better to the orthotic so less refurbishments are needed. With proper care and correct usage, the 3D printed orthotics can last for years.
Can I book an appointment with you?
Yes! If you would an orthotics assessment, you can book an appointment with our orthotic specialists, Shane and Donnacha, via this online link, or your can contact our Reception by ringing 061-201444 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much do orthotics cost?
- Assessment charge – €65
- Custom orthotics – €300
- Prefabricated insoles – €80.00
Where can I find more information about orthotics at Mid West Physiotherapy?
Click here to read more about our orthotics services.