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.

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.

A slight difference in leg length – does it really matter?

limb length discrepancyA lot of us have heard that it’s not uncommon to have a slight difference in the size of our feet or even legs. We often advise patients to buy shoes to the size of the larger foot so that toes don’t get cramped and cause pain. But when it comes to having a slight difference in the length of the legs, does it make any difference or have any effect on the body? Let’s start with the basics about limb length discrepancies.

What effect does a leg length difference have on a person?

For some, having a small difference in leg length won’t cause any problems, and they may not even be aware of the problem. For others, it can cause painful symptoms, alter their gait pattern (the way they walk), contribute to the development of other complications and negatively impact their quality of life. The extent of the effect largely depends on the measurable difference between the two legs and how the body is functioning (or not functioning) to compensate for the difference.

What causes a difference in leg length?

Differences may be caused by:
  • Growth abnormalities
  • Bone injury that results in healing in a shortened position (like a break or a fracture)
  • Damage to the growth plate during childhood
  • Bone disease and infection
  • Neurological conditions
  • Inflammatory conditions affecting the joints (like arthritis)
  • Abnormal foot biomechanics
  • Tightness and contractures of tissues
  • Ligament laxity and weakness
You’ll notice that some of the above are talking only about muscles and tissues and not the bones – don’t worry, we haven’t made a mistake! This is because differences in leg lengths can have either a structural or a functional cause. Structural differences describe a difference in the bone length of the thigh bone or the shin bone. This can result in a tilt of the hips and affect various joints and bones throughout the feet and legs, as well as the spine. Functional differences describe an observed length difference when standing because of biomechanical issues involving the way the muscles, connective tissues and jones function together. These occur even if the bone length of the shin bone and thigh none are identical. This is often due to muscular contracture, particularly at the hips, as well as ligament laxity or tendon dysfunction that affects one foot more than the other.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can vary greatly depending on the extent of the difference and the resulting misalignment of the lower limbs. This position of the bones, joints, muscles and connective tissues will determine what structures are overloaded, stressed, stretched and limited in the way they move. Because of this, it is difficult to pinpoint precise symptoms, but may include:
  • Altered gait pattern such as limping
  • Shorter steps on the affected leg
  • Slower walking speed
  • Uneven loading and pressure distribution between the legs
  • Stress fractures
  • Muscular strain and tendinopathies
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Back pain

What should you do?

The first step is to get your leg length difference professionally assessed by your Podiatrist. We measure both structural and functional differences and ensure to get to the root of the problem and can address any factors playing a role in the difference to get the best results for you both now and into the future. After determining the presence or absence of a difference and its extent, we’ll be able to formulate the best treatment plan for you, your age, your symptoms and the risk of future problems. This may include: Orthotics to help correct any functional abnormalities and help bring the limbs into alignment with one another Footwear modification, such as building up one shoe to bring the joints of the lower limbs into alignment Stretching and strengthening tight or weakened muscles to help improve biomechanical function If the case that the difference is severe and cannot be managed conservatively, surgical correction may be required – though this is much less common so don’t worry and just start with getting it checked out, so we all know what we’re dealing with. Either way, our expert team at Perform Podiatry will be right alongside you every step of the way! We specialise in clinical biomechanics and restoring great foot function and health. For more information or to book in, give our team a call on 09 523 2333 or visit us at the One Health building in Remuera, just up from Broadway, Newmarket.

Why Do I Have Heel Pain, Again?

You’ve had heel pain before and were ecstatic when it finally went away. Weeks, or even months, of taking it easy, wearing the right shoes and orthotics, doing the right stretches and following the sound advice of your Podiatrist had paid off. You were able to hit the ground running, literally, without that gnawing pain, dull aches or any discomfort. Life was back to its happy, healthy self.

So what changed and why is the pain back?

Let us first assure you that pain doesn’t come back for no reason or without a cause. It’s also not a case of that it never healed in the first place. Your injury was indeed completely healed if you were able to resume life and daily activities without pain or symptoms. And it can be completely healed again.


Just like how we can throw a ball through a window, repair the window, and throw a ball through it again, we can re-injure the same muscle, tendon, or ligament twice. But this time, there’s usually more to it. When you sustain an injury for the first time, there’s a good chance it could be an unfortunate wrong-time, wrong-place injury. You ran too fast for the ball, tripped over, and snap. Or you went for a 12-hour hike for the first time, something you’re likely never to do again, and your feet flared up from injury. In cases like these, and most accidents, as Podiatrists we look at managing your symptoms, relieving your pain, and helping you get better and heal as fast as possible. But when an injury re-occurs, that’s a red flag for us to further investigate whether there is something else, either intrinsic (to do with your bones, joints, muscles, tissues) or extrinsic (to do with your footwear, with a sport you play and factors outside of your body) that is causing or contributing to your injury.

Usually, there is a cause we can control

This is why it’s important for us to conduct a comprehensive biomechanical assessment. A biomechanical assessment looks at:
  • Your foot posture
  • Muscle strength
  • The range of motion through the joints of your feet
  • The way you walk (gait analysis)
  • Structural abnormalities
  • Footwear assessment
  • Various other tests depending on the findings
From this, we can deduce likely causes for your heel pain and tissue damage. If you have flat feet, wear footwear with relatively low support, occasionally run and get plantar fascial heel pain, it is likely that the repetitive strain on your fascia from running without support is causing damage and leading to pain. Or it could be that you’re getting the same pain at the back of your heel during soccer season again, when you’re training lots and wearing the same soccer boots that have a low-set heel. These boots will put greater strain on the insertion of your achilles tendon and paired with strenuous activity, can definitely overuse and damage your achilles tendon leading to heel pain.

Treating the cause, not just the symptoms

In these cases and so many more, it’s not just about treating your existing symptoms, but putting appropriate measures into place to stop the pain from coming back. This is one of our key focuses here at Perform Podiatry – preventing re-injury so it won’t keep bothering you in the future. We offer comprehensive biomechanical assessments from expert Podiatrists that specialise in Sports Medicine and Clinical Biomechanics. We’re proud to be trusted by hundreds of patients each month to help them feel great and perform at their best. We often use orthotics to control the movement of the feet and reduce the strain on otherwise overused and tired muscles. We also use strengthening techniques to get you back to your best. If your injuries keep coming back or you’re experiencing any issues with your feet or legs, give us a call on 09 523 2333 and one of our friendly team will be happy to answer any questions you may have!