Sports Orthotics: Can They Help Treat And Prevent Injuries?

When you hear about your friend’s orthotics from the pharmacy helping cushion their feet, your colleague’s new pair of shoes coming with in-built orthotics for support, or your young niece’s orthotics that stopped her from in-toeing, understanding how orthotics could help you recover from or prevent injuries when you’re playing sports can get really confusing.  The reality is that custom foot orthotics are a powerful and specialised treatment tool that improves the lives of our patients every day. Our podiatrists use orthotics to help treat a range of injuries sustained during sports, as well as helping prevent the injury from recurring or developing in the first place. But what exactly are orthotics, how do they work to help with such a wide range of problems, and what conditions can they help with? Today, our podiatrists are talking all about foot orthotics for sports injuries.  

What Are Foot Orthotics?

Custom foot orthotics are medical shoe inserts that adjust the way that your feet are positioned and aligned when standing on them, which affects the way your feet and legs work together to produce movement, which we call biomechanics. They can also offload painful areas of the foot, give you greater support in the areas you need it, add more stability to your ankle, help your feet better absorb shock, correct a leg length difference, and act in many other ways that they are carefully designed to.   

How Can Orthotics Help With So Many Problems?

The easiest way to answer this is by considering how prescription glasses can help with so many different – and often opposite – vision disturbances. The answer? Because that’s how your optometrist prescribes them. It’s exactly the same with our orthotics.  Our podiatrists have extensive knowledge on how to manipulate your foot alignment and biomechanics to produce the specific results you need, based on the problems you’re experiencing and the findings of your clinical and gait exam. We combine this with a 3D digital cast of your foot, to produce a pair of custom foot orthotics that are completely unique and made for your feet Every aspect of your orthotics is carefully selected – from how many degrees your heel will be inverted or everted to help optimise your performance on the field, to how each joint at the ball of your foot will sit to help prevent a specific joint from being overloaded and painful, to how thick your heel cushion should be to help your body better manage the forces as you sprint along the track.  Every pair of custom foot orthotics we dispense is created with significant skill, experience and care – and with one clear goal: to improve your quality of life by helping you reach your goals, whether that’s pain relief, optimising your sports performance, preventing future problems or something else.  

Can I Use Orthotics From The Supermarket Or Pharmacy?

You know how people can refer to both their supermarket glasses and their prescription optometrist glasses as just ‘glasses’? It’s the same umbrella term with orthotics. The products you purchase out of a packet can be referred to as ‘orthotics’, but really they are cushioned ‘inserts’. These inserts are created using the same mould in a factory, with stock standard sizing, no consideration of your problem, what caused it, your unique circumstances or medical conditions, or how the bones and joints of your feet are aligned or functioning. For those who employ marketing tactics to target a specific condition (often heel pain), they presume that all feet are the same and need the same care – which couldn’t be further from the truth.  Ultimately, this is why many people talk about their frustration with their ‘orthotics’ – having purchased this stock-standard option and feeling frustrated that they didn’t work for them like their friend’s custom prescription orthotics did – without understanding that the two products couldn’t be more different.  

Orthotics For Sports Injuries

When we injure our hand, for example, we can go a long way in performing alternate movements so that we minimise how much we use the injured hand, therefore preventing overloading it and worsening the injury. When it comes to the feet and legs, this is much more difficult because we lead busy lives and can’t just stop walking to let the damaged structure rest. This is where orthotics come in. Custom foot orthotics are often a key part of a treatment plan for a sports injury because the orthotics can be specifically designed to offload the injured structure every time you walk, while supporting the associated bones, muscles and ligaments to help reduce the stress and tension on them. This means that you can still lead a normal life – going to work and spending time with your families – while remaining on the path to recovery. If the injury was caused by alignment issues in the feet – like a flat foot type that was straining the plantar fascia – continuing to wear orthotics when playing sports after you have recovered can help prevent the injury from recurring, by keeping the arches supported.  

Which Sports Injuries Can Foot Orthotics Help Treat?

While we highly recommend seeing your podiatrist to check if orthotics are right for you and your injury, some common injuries that we often use orthotics to help treat include:  

Beyond Sports Injuries

While getting injured in sports is one way to stop you from being on the field or doing the things you love, there are other conditions and problems that can get in the way of your athletic pursuits that orthotics can help with. Knee osteoarthritis is a common example, with orthotics being proven to help relieve the pain associated with knee arthritis affecting the inside (medial aspect) of the knee.  

Are Orthotics Right For You?

The only way of knowing if orthotics are right for you or could help you is by speaking to one of our experienced podiatrists. For any questions or to book an appointment, give us a call on 09 523 2333 or book online here.    

Busting The Top 3 Orthotic Myths!

For those that haven’t had orthotics before or vaguely remember them from earlier years, a lot of questions or misconceptions may exist. Orthotics are far from the big, bulky devices that they may have once been. In fact, they become unnoticeable for regular wearers and more than that – a true lifesaver providing much-needed relief from pain and discomfort. So today, given our speciality in orthotic prescription and manufacture, we thought we’d bust 3 common orthotic myths that may start to shift your hesitation or fear about getting orthotics.

Myth One: I don’t want to wear weird, large shoes…

Great news – you don’t have to! These days, orthotics are made to fit well into your joggers, work shoes, work boots, and a variety of other shoes. Certain women’s brands, like Ziera and Frankie4, stock a wide range of orthotic-friendly sandals and dress shoes too. These brands are actually designed by or with the input of Podiatrists, making them both stylish and incredibly comfortable – and of course, accommodating for orthotics! The integration of orthotics into general shoes these days is so seamless that you can’t even tell who is and isn’t wearing orthotics. However, there are some shoes that require special types of slimline orthotics, or are unlikely to fit orthotics. Soccer shoes are a great example of requiring slimline orthotics, because of the extremely narrow base of the shoe. Ski boots are another. Shoes like ballet shoes are an example of those that are unable to take orthotics – which really would be pointless (ballet joke…) anyway because of their need to flex.

Myth Two: Once I get orthotics, I’m going to need to keep wearing them…

Nope! False. If you get orthotics to help you recover from an injury, then you only need to wear them until your muscles or tissues fully repair and recover. Now, IF the reason you got injured is something that orthotics can help with, then yes we recommend that you continue to wear your orthotics but only when you’re active and likely to injure yourself again. For example, say you have very unstable ankles and you suffered an example sprain. And you got orthotics to help hold your ankle in place, facilitate healing, and stop you from rolling and injuring your ankle again while your ligaments are in their damaged and vulnerable state. Then, the ligaments heal and regain full strength and functional capacity. Technically, you don’t need to keep wearing your orthotics. However, if you’re worried about sustaining more ankle sprains in the future, especially because you play basketball (where your initial injury occurred) as it has lots of side to side movements, then by wearing your orthotics during basketball games and training, you can reduce your risk of injury. Which makes sense!

Myth Three: Orthotics don’t work

It’s unfortunate that most people know someone who claims that they’ve had orthotics and they haven’t worked for them. We’ll be as blunt and honest as possible about this one. Say you want an item of glass created by a glassblower for you. If you engage a knowledgeable and experienced glassblower, you’re highly likely to receive the piece that you need. If you engage a junior glassblower that has more of an interest in ceramics than glass, while working for a company that does both, they’re not likely to produce the best result for you, even though they’ve had training in it. The same can be said for hairdressers, financial planners, and so many other professions. But it doesn’t mean that getting custom glass pieces made, getting haircuts, or investing finances doesn’t work. It does. You just need the right person. That’s why our team specialises in orthotics and we actually make our own, exactly how we want them (and how you need them) from scratch. That’s our difference and why we lead Auckland in this field. To book an appointment with our expert team, give us a call on 09 523 2333 or book online here.

How Orthotics Help Arthritic Joint Pain

Osteoarthritis (OA) is painful, frustrating and limiting for many New Zealanders. OA affects almost 50% of those aged over 60 years, and almost all over 80 years old. This makes it very important to both manage the symptoms effectively when they arise – as well as reduce the rate that it develops too! While the reality of osteoarthritis is that it is degenerative and irreversible in nature, there is one particular thing you can do to improve your comfort – and your quality of life. That is to get a good quality pair of custom orthotics for your feet! Let us explain…

Orthotics ease the pressure on your joints

Osteoarthritis describes the state where the cartilage at the ends of the bones that form your joints are worn down. Because cartilage helps your body absorb shock and creates a slippery surface for your joints to move effectively and without friction, cartilage that has worn down has very painful consequences on your joints and body. Orthotics help your feet and legs absorb shock through their precise support and cushioning, easing the impact on your joints. This means that with each step you take, instead of ground reaction forces (from the impact of your foot hitting the ground) moving up through your joints, the force is dissipated through the orthotic and have much less of an impact on your joints.

Orthotics change the way your foot moves

Custom orthotics are also made specifically to your foot and where its bones and contours are located. This means they will work to give back function or limit painful movement, depending on your specific feet and problems. This is prescribed after a thorough assessment of your feet. The orthotic is then prescribed with the best features to help you feel comfortable, stable and decrease your pain.

Not all orthotics are custom orthotics…

It’s important to understand that the orthotics you purchase from the pharmacy are NOT custom orthotics. These are a one-size-fits-all orthotic that does not feature anything specific for your individual feet. While these may improve daily comfort for those that don’t have any foot pains or problems, they won’t work to effectively improve your OA joint pain like custom orthotics are able to. Furthermore, our podiatry team all specialise in the biomechanics of the feet and legs and orthotic prescription.

It starts with an appointment

The first step to creating your custom orthotics is an appointment with one of our Podiatrists. From there, we’ll assess your symptoms and what’s going on to rule out any additional causes to your joint pain, assess the range of motion and movement in your feet and legs, take a cast of your feet and create the prescription. It then gets sent to our orthotic laboratory where your orthotics are made! You can book an appointment by calling 09 523 2333 or using our online booking system here.

Orthotics for Children: The Gait Plate for In-toeing

The position of your children’s feet will determine will either keep them free to run and play, or can have them tripping, falling and in pain. A common foot position in children that can stop them from reaching their full potential is in-toeing. So why does in-toeing develop and what can you do about it? Today we examine the easy and effective solution to correct in-toeing in kids: the gait plate.

In-toeing: The low-down

In-toeing, which is often referred to as pigeon-toeing, can affect both children and adults alike – although adult toeing is usually a result of childhood in-toeing not being treated. It’s very easy to spot because of the inward rotation of the feet.
While it may appear like a funny or wobbly walk, the reality is that in-toeing:
  • Causes tripping and falling
  • Shows there is some irregularity within the structure or positioning of the bones of the lower limbs
  • May be a precursor for further problems and pains
It is typically caused by one of three ways: (warning, we’re about to get technical here) Metatarsus Adductus describes the inwards curve of the forefoot (toes) on the rearfoot (heel). This may be described as a ‘banana-shaped’ foot and is thought to be a result of the position of the baby in the womb, so is always present at birth. Tibial Torsion is the inward rotation of the shin bone, otherwise known as the tibia. Because the tibia is turned inwards, so is the ankle and foot, resulting in in-toeing. Here, correcting the position of the shin bone will correct the in-toeing. Femoral Torsion is the inward rotation of the thigh bone (femur). This also rotates the shin bone and the foot, causing in-toeing. This is one of the reasons that children are discouraged from sitting in the ‘W’ position – because it rotates the thighs inwards.

Correcting in-toeing with the gait plate orthotic

A gait plate is a special type of orthotic that encourages the feet to straighten with every step in the shoe and orthotic. It is designed very specifically to the landmarks of a persons’ foot, which is measured during a biomechanical assessment. It works by encouraging the outward rotation of the feet with every step. The orthotics replace the regular inner liner of a shoe, and can be moved from shoe to shoe. The best part is – kids can’t even tell that they’re there! That means no tears and frustration (for both kids and adults!), it’s just pop your shoes on and go.

To start taking control of your health…

Give our team at Kane Orthotics a call on 09 523 2333, and we’ll get you on your way to making foot pains and problems a thing of the past! You can also book online here.

What Having One ‘Slightly Shorter Leg’ Really Means For Your Body – And Pain

We’ve all heard how most of us have one foot that is slightly longer than the other. It may be an unnoticeable difference, or it may be half a shoe size – or more. Well, the same goes for the length of our legs! Whether it’s our femur (thigh bone), our tibia (shin bone), or tight muscles that are causing an apparent shorter leg when we walk, many of us will have a shorter leg and not even know about it. But what does this mean? And will it cause any symptoms or pain? Today, the Perform Podiatry team are talking all about how leg length differences can cause a great deal of pain without you even knowing what is going wrong.

How limb length differences cause you pain

Picture yourself standing straight with one leg being longer than the other. The short leg will be completely straight, and the longer leg will have to bend slightly to compensate for the difference. Your pelvis will be tilted, and the stabilising muscles and ligaments around your hips and pelvis will eventually get used to this tilted position and adjust accordingly. The muscles and alignment of your back will be affected, and the way that you walk will be affected. The longer left leg will have to perform a compensatory movement when it straightens to avoid hitting down into the ground as you walk. You may hike your hip upwards or move the leg out and around as you swing through your step. As your body compensates and starts moving and using muscles differently, your risk for straining and overloading muscles and joints increases. For those whose leg length differences are big enough to cause symptoms, they may experience:
  • Hip pain
  • Back pain
  • Knee pain
  • Muscular strain and tendinopathies
  • Uneven loading and pressure distribution between the legs

How big does the difference need to be to cause pain?

There is no universal value for how many millimetres of difference causes you pain. It varies from person to person and depends on your body, too. In our clinic, when we suspect a limb length difference because a patient has come to us with pain, we usually measure a difference of at least ~6mm. With this said, we’ve also seen patients with a 6mm that don’t experience any symptoms. To confirm that you have a limb length difference, after identifying a notable difference in our clinic (we wouldn’t classify anything less than 3-4mm as ‘notable’), we then refer you for a scan where your bone lengths will be measured radiographically. You’ll receive the precise difference in limb length, and this will help to direct your treatment.

What can be done to help painful leg length differences?

Treating a leg length difference includes both helping to correct the difference, and treating any problems that it has already caused. We start with a comprehensive biomechanical assessment to find out exactly what muscles have been affected so that we know how to best direct your treatment. We often use custom-prescribed orthotics to help correct the difference by adding a raise to the orthotic for the shorter leg. This helps to equalise the leg length when wearing the orthotics and bring the pelvis and joints back into alignment. We can also make modifications to your shoes to add height to the shoe on the shorter leg. We’ll then work to help rehabilitate any painful and strained muscles that have become damaged because of the leg length difference. Our goal is to help you stay healthy, happy and pain-free not just now but also for the years to come. To book an appointment with one of our experienced Podiatrist, you can call us on 09 523 2333 or book online here. We’re located at the One Health building on Remuera Road, just up from Broadway, Newmarket.

Why Not Having Your Orthotics Checked Every Year Can Put Your Feet At Risk

Orthotics can be fantastic devices. Like glasses that help us see and perform our best each day, orthotics work to alter the way our feet, muscles and bones move with the goal of optimising our overall function and reducing pain, excess pressure and unnecessary fatigue. Unlike glasses, however, that do not come into direct contact with our eyes, the daily force placed on the orthotic can cause them to wear out over time. While this is not new information and is (or at least should be) detailed by your Podiatrist when discussing orthotics, it is something that can be easily forgotten or taken for granted when your foot pain is gone and you’re performing well – until your pain quickly returns and you’re not sure why. To put things in perspective, here are 3 quick reasons why you should be seeing your Podiatrist for an orthotic check every year – or two at most.

1. Regardless of how long you’ve had them, your orthotics are working every day.

Whether you realise it or not – your orthotics are constantly under a lot of pressure. To be precise, you’ll be exerting at least all your body weight over both orthotics – and when you’re running, this can increase to 3 – 4 times your body weight. Gradually, this can lead to the wear down and compression of your orthotic materials, which affects their ability to provide the support, control and function that they were designed to – and initially would have. Just like how you’d sharpen a blunt knife so it could keep working effectively, it’s important to check that your orthotics are still doing their job. If they’re not, it doesn’t mean that you’ll always need a completely new set of orthotics. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of replacing the top cover, reinforcing the control of your orthotics or replacing your pad or addition. You won’t know until you have them checked – and it can be as quick and easy as a 15min check appointment!

2. If your orthotics helped alleviate your original symptoms – how would it affect your life if they came back?

Orthotics are not an ‘on-the-whim’ purchase. They’re a medical device and an investment into your health and mobility for the years to come. They have a very specific function that was prescribed and created by a foot health professional with years of experience in relieving symptoms and improving quality of life. This function may be to stop your foot rolling in and flattening so much, as it was irritating your posterior tibial tendon or plantar fascia and causing pain down the inside of your foot and ankle or the heel. It may be to provide additional stability to your foot and ankle as you’d suffered repeated ankle sprains and had developed some chronic ankle instability along the way. It may have been because your high-arched foot was lacking the shock absorbing function it needed to keep your feet from feeling sore and tired after a long shift on your feet. Whatever the function – if your pain was alleviated (or at least significantly reduced in the case of arthritic pain) by your orthotics, then there’s a good chance that without the adequate support and control from your orthotics, that this pain can come back. And it’s not only the pain that comes back. Pain happens for a reason. It’s a sign that something is wrong – that an injury has occurred – and the pain is a by-product of the damage. When your pain comes back, it means an injury has again occurred and that’ll take time to heal and for the pain to go, even after you repair or replace your orthotics. And that can take a significant toll on your quality of life!

3. Your foot structure and position, along with your bone and muscle strength and function, change over time. Your orthotics may need to too.

As with everything in our lives, we are always changing – and so are our bodies. Our muscles may grow stronger or weaker. Certain medications or events may affect our tissues and the way they function. Our feet change, but they do so very gradually, at a rate that we may not be able to notice. So while we may presume that our feet are the same today as they were 3 years ago, there’s only one way to find out – and that’s to have them checked! When you come in for an orthotic check, we assess the function of your orthotics against both the reason you needed your orthotics in the first place, and against your feet in their current state. The ultimate question that we look to answer is:
are your orthotics in their current state effectively supporting and controlling your feet in their current state?
If the answer to this question is yes, then that’s fantastic! It’s exactly what we want. If the answer to this question is no, then we’ll figure out why (is it your feet, is it the orthotics, are there other influencing factors like your footwear) and discuss with you the best ways to correct this so you can stay happy, healthy and active for the foreseeable future.

Need that orthotic check after all?

Easy – just book in using our free online booking form here, or give our team a call on 09 523 2333 and book in your appointment. We hope that you’ve been feeling great and performing well – and hope to see you soon!    

Three Ways Orthotics Will Help The Pain At The Ball Of Your Foot

This article is for you if you have:
  • Pain at the ball of your foot (forefoot)
  • Have been wondering if orthotics could help decrease your pain or improve your comfort
  • Have orthotics but unsure how they are working (and if something could be done to make them even more effective!)
Orthotics have the ability to reduce pain, facilitate the healing of injuries, make walking and running much more comfortable and really add positively to your quality of life. While a lot of expertise and care goes into each orthotic prescription we make, you get given this device that replaces the inner sole of your shoes, without perhaps knowing the inner workings and theory behind it. As you start feeling the difference, you may be left wondering exactly how the orthotics are working and resulting in your symptom relief. Perhaps you know someone whose orthotics haven’t produced the same great results that yours have. Well, today we’re answering all these questions and sharing three ways that orthotics can start helping your forefoot pain today! Here we go…

#1. Orthotics take pressure away from damaged joints, tissues, ligaments and bones

Custom orthotics have features or additions. When we talk about forefoot pain, we often talk about adding an addition to the forefoot and midfoot that will actually remove the regular pressure away from damaged bones and joints – or at least decrease it significantly. Picture this. Your big toe joint is injured. Every time you walk, you put pressure along the whole foot including that joint. You put a big cushion beneath the foot, but not beneath the big toe joint. As you walk and your midfoot is supported and cushioned, the big toe joint drops down in front of the cushion but doesn’t really touch the ground. No direct pressure means no pain. And voila! Of course, it’s a lot more technical than that. You can’t actually put a giant cushion beneath your foot. You won’t be able to walk normally or wear normal shoes so ultimately you’ll put your regular shoes back on and BAM – painful symptoms. Instead, we incorporate this carefully into your orthotics that work with your everyday shoes, through pads and cut-outs and various other techniques we have up our sleeve. And by techniques, we mean evidence-based thoroughly-researched and proven techniques.

#2. Orthotics support the bones and tissues of the arch, stopping their collapse and the narrowing of the space between them

Hold out your hand, bring your fingers flat together, and imagine these fingers as the long bones of your feet. Now, imagine that there is something between the bones. It could be a nerve, ligament, muscle, a common mass like a cyst, or something else. If that structure gets damaged, one of the first things that’ll happen is that it will swell. When it swells, it gets larger and takes up more of that space between the bones. The bones then will rub against it and push on it, it will be sore and painful, and this will continue until you put your feet up and rest. Unfortunately, when you put your feet back on the ground, the process just starts up again until you can relieve pressure away from the area for long enough for it to heal. Sounds pretty hard to keep the foot up when we’ve got jobs and daily tasks where walking is essential, right? Yep! The solution? An addition within the orthotic that supports the foot and opens up the space between the bones. Good amount of space = no direct rubbing = healing can proceed. No magic here, just good ol’ science, precision and biomechanics.

#3. Orthotics help absorb shock and hence the impact forces through the forefoot

To help explain this one, we’re going to backtrack back to physics. Remember Newton’s third law? The one that says that every force has an equal and opposite reaction force? Let’s start here. If you hit your foot hard against the ground right now (please don’t), your foot won’t bounce back. Instead, you’ll feel a force, and maybe some shock or pain, coming back through your foot (the opposite and equal force). Now, imagine this kind of force occurring every time you run or jump. Did we mention that you exert a force equal to three timesyour body weight during running? For some, the force will be transferred effectively through their feet, bones and tissues, and they’ll feel little impact. For others, inefficient gait (movement) will result in much more stress and shock through the feet, which can lead to pains and problems. Here’s where the orthotics come in. Where the biomechanics of the feet are lacking, orthotics can step in and work to absorb shock and ground reaction forces as we take step after step. This can mean a significant reduction of pain and symptoms through our feet, and have us feeling much more comfortable after a long day at work. So there we have it! Just three of the many ways that orthotics can help with forefoot pain, among the variety of other foot and leg pathologies they can help with. Keep in mind that not all orthotics are created the same – each custom orthotic is made following the precise script of the prescribing practitioner – that’s why it’s very important that you see a Podiatrist that specialises in orthotics and lower limb biomechanics. This also explains why orthotics work brilliantly for some people and not so for others – because they weren’t designed or created as optimally as they could be. If you feel like your current orthotics just aren’t doing the job and would like to book in with our orthotic specialists here at Perform Podiatry to have them checked, give us a call on 09 523 2333 or book online here.

Orthotics: Why Your Shoes May Be Limiting Your Recovery

If you’ve got pain or injury at your:
  • Heel
  • Midfoot
  • Forefoot
  • Arch
  • Ankle
  • Shins
  • Knees
Then orthotics can be a fantastic component of your treatment. The efficacy and function of your orthotics, however, can be influenced by your footwear – especially if they’re one of those ‘I know I probably shouldn’t be wearing these’ pair. Here’s why.

Orthotics have a specific function to help you recover

Orthotics work to relieve pressure away from the injured area, alter the way your foot functions so that you have minimal strain, and support the damaged bone, muscles or tissues. They do this because they are prescribed specifically for your feet, your foot characteristics, and your injury and the symptoms you’re experiencing. Despite the umbrella term ‘orthotics’, each pair are usually very different and have different additions and modifications. Your podiatrist knows what you need so you can recover in the shortest timeframe and prescribes your orthotics to achieve this. Your orthotics are then popped into the ‘good, suitable shoes’ we chat to you about and your gait (the way you walk) and stand are assessed to make sure the orthotics are doing what we’d like them to for your feet.

Does this mean orthotics are only suitable for one pair of shoes?

Absolutely not. When we fit your orthotics, we get you to bring in the shoes you’re going to be regularly wearing them in (work shoes, sneakers, etc) and we make sure they fit well into these shoes. The reason for needing to check is because different shoes have different widths at the base of the shoe, with some being significantly narrower than others. If this is the case, we make a few adjustments to the orthotics to get them fitting well in the pairs you’ve brought in.

So, how would my shoes affect my recovery?

If you were to go and put your orthotics into a pair of shoes that haven’t been checked, then there’s a high chance that the orthotics won’t be sitting properly in the shoes. The orthotics may:
  • Be leaning stiffly up against the inside or outside of the shoe (usually if the new shoe is too narrow)
  • Not be completely supported in the heel (allowing the foot to move from side to side and the supportive functions of the orthotic to not work)
  • Cause the foot to sit too high up in relation to the top of the new shoe, causing discomfort, irritation, rubbing or pain (and pain will also change the way you move your foot, changing your gait)
  • Result in a different biomechanical function because of the new foot position created by the way the orthotic sits in the new shoe which may be counterproductive to your recovery
The biggest takeaway from this is that your shoes have the ability to alter the function of your orthotics, resulting in less support for your feet. The more additional strain on the damaged area, the longer it’ll take for you to recover.

And the solution? It’s simple.

When you get your orthotics fitted, or at check-up appointments, bring your shoes to us! Let us have a look to see how the orthotics are sitting in the shoes and how your feet and legs are positioned in them too. It can honestly make a world of difference. The best part? The sooner you’re better, the sooner you can get back to wearing whatever shoes your heart desires without pain or discomfort. If you’re unsure about a pair of shoes and whether you should wear them, you can give us a call too. There may be a good chance that if you get a pair of sneakers in the same brand that we fitted your orthotics to, then they’ll be a good fit. BUT don’t forget that different models of sneakers have different levels of inbuilt support too which can change the way the orthotic will sit in them. So it’s always safest to bring them in for a check. If you’ve got any questions about your shoes, orthotics, or any pain that you’re experiencing, you can give us a call on 09 523 2333 to talk to our team or make an appointment, or you can book online here. We hope that your recovery is going smoothly and we look forward to having you back on your feet and feeling your best!

Maximising The Benefit From Your Orthotics with Physical Therapy

Orthotics are one of our specialties here at Perform Podiatry. Our team are not only experts in the biomechanical function of the feet and legs but happen to be the sole teacher of orthotic prescription and creation at New Zealand’s School of Podiatry. Yes, this specialty and the way we use it to improve the lives of our patients is something we are very proud of! We use orthotics to:
  • Alter the alignment and movement of the lower limbs to reduce pressure on painful muscles, joints, ligaments and bones
  • Get the feet and legs functioning optimally to get optimum performance with minimum energy output to keep you going for longer
  • Correct any abnormalities in the feet or legs or variances between the lower limbs that are problematic
  • Help your feet feel more comfortable so you can feel great, look great, and do the things you love without discomfort
When you start wearing your orthotics, your feet and legs will start to function differently. You may even see some improvement in your upper body, like your spine and the muscles in your back and/or neck. This is, of course, dependant on the purpose of the orthotics you were prescribed. Orthotics are very much like glasses in this sense – they work with you and your body to improve performance. But what can you do to maximise the benefits from your orthotics for your body? Here are 3 great ways to start with physical therapy:
  1. Strengthen your body

Strength is your body’s protection. The risk of injury and re-injury is reduced by having strong muscles and joints as your body works like a finely-tuned machine. Strength also enhances and optimises recovery from injury. This is a great compliment to orthotic therapy, especially when your lower limbs will be working at their best in the orthotics. During your biomechanical assessment for your orthotics, your Podiatrist should identify any areas or muscles that are weaker, so make sure to focus on these and their advice on strengthening.
  1. Stretch and improve your mobility

If you’ve had a past injury or something wasn’t working quite right (hence the need for orthotics), then there is a good chance you’ll have some imbalance where some muscles may be tight or knotted. Tightness alters the way our body moves and can often be a major contributing factor to injury. Make sure to regularly stretch your feet and legs to get your body feeling and functioning at its best. During your biomechanical assessment for your orthotics, your Podiatrist will also identify areas of particular tightness and give you exercises, so make sure to listen to their advice and follow through.
  1. Check your posture

We all know that posture is very important, but it can also greatly affect our lower limbs and our recovery from and outcome of injury. This is because our posture dictates the constant positions of our bones, joints, muscle and ligaments – and whether they’re stretched, strained and suffering from more damage, or not. Getting on top of (or should we say, in line with) our posture helps all of our other structures as our orthotics work to control them. For any questions on anything we’ve talked about or to book an appointment with our expert team, give us a call on 09 523 2333 and all the best with your recovery!

Orthotics – how do they really work?

If you’re not currently wearing orthotics then it’s likely you know someone who is. But what do they do for your feet and can they really help you? Our experts at Perform Podiatry answer your questions!

So, what are orthotics?

Orthotics are ‘inserts’ or ‘inner soles’ that go into your shoes. However, they are so much more than the ‘cushioning arch supports’ that they are often thought of being. They serve a functional purpose to alter the alignment of your feet and change the way your bones, joints and muscles function each time you take a step. When feet are paired with the right orthotics for them, they can make a significant difference to your pain levels, rate of recovery from an injury and your overall quality of life.

What do you mean by the right orthotic?

For an orthotic to be able to function correctly and be of benefit to the wearer, the orthotic needs to be right for that person’s foot type, their injury if they have one, the motion they have available through the joints of their feet and many more factors. Because foot posture and function varies so significantly from person to person, there is no ‘one type fits all’ orthotic and you can’t expect an orthotic that worked so well to relieve your foot pain to do exactly the same for someone else. This is why it’s so important to get your orthotics from a Podiatrist that completes a comprehensive biomechanical assessment of your feet prior to prescribing the best orthotic for you – and why some people that buy a ‘one type fits all’ orthotic from K-Mart wonder why their foot pain didn’t disappear overnight.

What can orthotics help with?

Orthotics can be a great adjunct to helping treat a variety of conditions and ailments, including helping to:
  • Facilitate healing of damaged muscles and tissues – g. plantar fasciitis
  • Relieve pressure from painful areas of the feet – g. corns, callous, ulcers
  • Improve walking and running techniques
  • Stabilise and support the feet and body
  • Support foot and leg abnormalities – g. limb length difference
  • Reduce pain from systemic conditions – g. arthritis
  • And so many more!
It is important to remember that in order for orthotics to help specific conditions and ailments, they will have the right features to address the issue – including the most suitable materials, additions and pads, and the right positioning with regard to the anatomy of your foot. This is where it’s critical that you see a practitioner that is highly experienced with prescribing the best orthotic to help you and address all of your foot health needs.

Perform Podiatry specialises in orthotics

Perform Podiatry are specialists in orthotic prescription and clinical biomechanics and our team have been doing it for years. We’re proud to be leaders in this field and are committed to bringing you the best podiatric care so you can enjoy doing the things you love without being limited by pain or injury. If you have an issue with your feet or legs, or would like to know how orthotics can help you, we welcome you to join our team of healthy and happy patients! Give us a call on 09 523 2333 to speak with one of our friendly team.