Orthotics

INTRODUCTION TO ORTHOTICS

An orthotic is best described as an appliance or device, which can control, help, or correct biomechanical or structural abnormalities of the foot and lower limb. Left untreated, these often lead to sore feet, shin pain and lower back pain. Orthotics are used extensively for correcting abnormal posture and related problems, such as high arch and bunions, and there are quite a few different types of orthotic devices available. The three basic types of orthotics are : Rigid, Semi Rigid and flexible.

Rigid Orthotics
Rigid orthotics are made from a variety of materials such as plastics and carbon-fiber. They can range in thickness depending on the prescription.

Semi rigid Orthotics
Similar to rigid orthotics, Semi-rigid orthotics are also made from a variety plastics or carbon fiber but are generally thinner and more flexible than rigid orthotics.

Flexible Orthotics
Flexible orthotics are designed and manufactured using many different types of materials. As the name ‘flexible orthotics’ suggests, they generally provide more cushioning than rigid or semi rigid orthotics and can be very useful in the sports industry for their shock absorbing capabilities.
The type of orthotic device needed depends on the problem or pain occurring and where the problem exists. For example, symptoms of shin pain, bunions, a high arch, or general sore feet would all be treated differently.

Orthotics are used extensively and have extremely good rates of success when used for improving biomechanical abnormalities, enhancing posture, joint position and performance, reducing pain and prevention and speedy recovery from sports injuries. Orthotics are effective means of both treatment and prevention.  As described earlier, orthotics are used for the correction of biomechanical and structural abnormalities of the foot and lower limb.  Orthotics can correct a range of biomechanical problems that often hinder your daily routines. The following is a basic overview of some of the conditions that orthotics can be used for.

Pronation
A complex triplane motion that consists of abduction, eversion and dorsiflexion of the whole or part of the foot.  This causes the whole or part of the foot (flat foot) to collapse towards the ground in static stance or in gait.

Supination
A complex triplane motion consisting of adduction, inversion and planter flexion of the whole or part of the foot.  This causes the whole or part of the foot to weight bear on the lateral side of the foot giving the impression in some cases of a high arch.

Both the above conditions can lead to many lower limb problems including shin pain and sore feet, and can be assisted or corrected by orthotics.