Orthotics: Why Your Shoes May Be Limiting Your Recovery
June 23, 2018
If you’ve got pain or injury at your:
Orthotics have a specific function to help you recoverOrthotics 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