It’s no secret that everybody is different and some people will go through their life with no foot or lower limb injuries or pain, but unfortunately some will. You may have been told by a friend or a colleague somewhere along the way that “You need a pair of orthotics, I couldn’t live without mine”. Which gets you thinking.. Are they right ? Do I need orthotics?
What do orthotics do ?
Orthotics help by redistributing forces (pressure), to unload an overworked muscle or area of the body to relieve pain, recover from injury and increase overall comfort. To truly know if you need orthotics It is best to seek advice from a podiatrist who will carry out a thorough biomechanical assessment, and discuss the history of your foot health. After this the podiatrist will be able to come up with a personalised plan which may or may not include orthotics.
Common reasons someone may need a pair of orthotics:
- You’ve been experiencing foot pain – If you have been experiencing persistent foot or lower leg pain during exercise, after exercise or both this isn’t normal and is worth looking into. The pain you are experiencing could be as simple as a sore heel that is always there when you stand up from the couch or when getting out of bed first thing in the morning. If this sounds like you then seeing a podiatrist to determine if you would benefit from an orthotic is necessary.
- You often feel unstable on your feet – If you have a foot type that moves a lot throughout walking, for example ‘rolling in’ (pronating) or ‘rolling out’ this can cause you to be unstable and unconfident when walking or standing and can also contribute to pain. This is also something that orthotics may be able to help with.
- You’ve had a previous injury – If you have had issues in the past with sprained ankles, sore knees or even a sore lower back, you might find that pain in these areas can come and go depending on which activity you are doing. Strengthening and stretching helps to recover from previous injuries and prevent them from coming back; however , sometimes your muscles and joints can become overworked through other factors such as your gait profile and or foot posture. Orthotics can often be a useful tool to recover from injury and even prevent an old injury from coming back.
So to answer the question: Do I need orthotics?
Maybe! The 3 examples above are just a few of many reasons why we might prescribe orthotics. The short answer is, you truly won’t know if you need orthotics without a full assessment with a podiatrist! We see lots of people in our clinic complaining of pain in their feet and legs with many different reasons as to why they are experiencing their pain. Each of these people receives a personalised management plan that sometimes includes orthotics.