There have been some monumental advances in custom made orthotics (orthotics insoles) in the last 10 years with research and development occurring on the materials and fabrication side, as well as the conditions which do and do not benefit from orthotic therapy.
For us it’s been super exciting to be a part of this research with PridePlus Health podiatrists working at LaTrobe University (watch out for Jade Tan’s upcoming PHD into foot orthotics for knee osteoarthritis!) as well as working with our partners at Footwork Podiatric Laboratory trialing the latest in 3D printing with some exceptional results.
What better chance to break down some of the myths and talk about the
7 Benefits of Using Custom Made Orthotics
1. Pain Relief
This is the main reason that anyone would go down the orthotic path. When we are in pain, we seek solutions and custom made orthotics are an excellent solution to pain from overworked feet, ankles, shins, knees and more.
Custom made orthotics work in a couple of interesting ways however the ability to alter the load (load optimisation) on strained tissues is one of the best understood in the literature and in our clinical practice. They have been proven additions to exercise therapy or even work on their own for treating painful complaints such as knee pain, heel pain, forefoot symptoms, arch pain, plantar fasciitis and many more.
2. Reduce Injury Risk
Injuries are problematic for all of us whether we are elite sportswomen or a weekend warrior looking to stay on the park, track or bike. Custom made orthotics play an important role in the injury prevention toolkit where we assess what areas are at risk of injury and move load around to less at risk areas. Of course, this is coupled with a program to increase the capacity of tissues to tolerate load so overall risk is reduced as well.
3. Enhance Performance
This is a new and exciting area for custom made orthotics to be entering into. We have been working hard with our partners at Footwork Podiatric Laboratory to get into the performance enhancement side of orthotic therapy.
Our cycling orthotic range is the first of what we hope is much evidence backed custom made orthotic to offer performance-enhancing effects. These orthotics are designed with your individual biomechanical profile and chosen cycling cleats to maximise power transfer from your feet to the crankshaft.
With the Nike Vaporfly 4% in the news for its benefits as a performance-enhancing shoe there will certainly be more research and potentially exciting changes to custom made orthotic therapy for performance enhancement as well in the future in relation to running and field sports.
4. Improve Shoe Fit and Comfort
We often have to wear shoes that aren’t quite perfect for our feet. Whether that be a corporate business shoe, safety boots or those heels which make you feel 10 feet tall and invincible there are often reasons relating to the shoes or our foot profile that makes them uncomfortable.
The good news is that there is a solution as custom made orthotics can alter the loading and pressure points within shoes to improve fit and comfort.
5. Prevent Lesion Development
Lesion. The word itself sends shivers as it just sounds horrible but that’s not even close to the feel of painful lesions on the feet. These lesions can include corns and calluses, ulcers and painful blisters. One of the biggest reasons a painful lesion starts to occur is too much pressure at that site. A custom made orthotic can be used to reduce the peak pressure at that area by re-distributing it to other areas.
6. Heal Diabetic Foot Ulcers
Diabetic foot ulcers are a serious life and limb-threatening condition which can be prevented and healed with appropriate load optimisation. In this example, custom made orthotic is used to reduce peak pressure and often shear friction as well to allow healing to occur. Depending on diabetes foot disease progression they are often accompanied by exercises, custom footwear and input from other specialists (such as endocrinologists, vascular surgeons) to give the best chance at a positive result.
7. Reduce Risk of Amputation or Deformity Progressing
The odds aren’t good for those who suffer an amputation related to their diabetes foot disease as mortality and morbidity are greatly affected. To reduce the chance of an amputation occurring in the first place, a custom made orthotic should be utilised to prevent the preceding ulcer from forming.
In the case of those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, the painful condition where the immune system starts attacking our own joints, a custom made orthotic has been proven to slow deformity progression.
Considering these 7 Benefits of Using Custom Made Orthotics, there’s plenty of positivity about orthotic therapy when utilised for the right reasons at the right times. There are conditions where custom made orthotics haven’t been proven to be as useful as exercise therapy or even prefabricated orthotics. In these cases, you can be assured that the team at PridePlus Health have the relevant expertise to provide you with your best solutions.
If you would like to learn more check out our page on custom made orthotics or book in with one of our podiatrists in Melbourne CBD, Pascoe Vale or Emerald.