Podiatrist Lance Penn from Footsport guest posts
An orthotic is a custom made device designed to off load abnormal forces that can lead to damage of soft tissue structures, joints and bones.
What causes injury?
The direct cause of pain is a consequence of damage to the body (muscle/tendon/ligament/joint) as a result of abnormal forces. If the body cannot adapt to these loads then injury occurs. Physiotherapy principles aim to strengthen and or stretch tendon/muscular structures so that they can cope with the abnormal loads. Ideally, physiotherapy aims to achieve removal of the overloading forces directly from the sore tissues by spreading the abnormal forces more evenly about the area.
Orthotics work by altering abnormal loads around the joint axis, thus reducing the stress on the tissue. The best course of treatment is to tackle it from
both sides, strengthen/stretch and off load.
Certain feet are prone to over loading forces and this has nothing to do with the arch height. We now know that 'flat feet' are at no greater risk of injury than a 'normal arch'. Traditionally foot assessments were based all around motion. Excessive inwards roll or 'over pronation' was presented as the root of all evil. This model of assessment has more or less been debunked. Current understanding is based around forces especially abnormal forces, and how they fit in with motion.
We still are not clear why some feet exert over loading forces while some do not and there is no link between over load and flat feet.
At Footpoint during our comprehensive biomechanical assessment we are able to identify the foot types that have abnormal loading forces and thus prescribe the correct orthotic that will reduce these forces. Pronation (or rolling in of the arch) is normal and in many cases we are trying to promote the natural ability of the foot to pronate. Most of our orthotics prescribed are flexible and always comfortable as we use the most up to date scanning technology that captures an accurate cast from which the orthotics are moulded to.
The orthotic process starts with the biomechanical assessment, casting then prescription of the orthotic. Once we fit the device we review you 6 weeks later to assess for the need to optimise the orthoses. This is part of the customisation process as fine tuning is needed to optimise function and comfort.
Orthotic customisation has come along away and we pride ourselves with having a comprehensive process that allows for easy communication and delivery of great clinical outcomes.
To find out more about Lance and his amazing orthotics, visit http://www.footsportpodiatry.com.au/ or call 9231 2707.