What are Orthotics?
An Orthotic (or Orthosis), by definition, is a device that adjusts the function of the body by being applied to it, externally. Orthotics is the branch of medicine that deals with the provision and use of artificial devices such as splints, braces, callipers, footwear and (of most relevance to us), insoles. When we use the term “Orthotics”, we are referring to Orthotic Insoles.
Orthotic insoles take many forms but are designed, essentially, to provide a variety of effects that range from Motion Control to Pressure Relief, generally achieved by applying materials with different mechanical properties to a device of a known profile. Different features can also be added to both the top and bottom surfaces of an orthotic insole to create different effects to relieve specific conditions.
In the world of Musculoskeletal (or Biomechanics) Podiatry, Orthotics would generally have an upper surface profile (or arch) designed to fit your foot accurately in order to provide the control needed to correct your gait and relieve your symptoms. In most cases, we can use a prefabricated device that has a known shape and known features. In some cases, patients may benefit from having Full Custom Orthotics made from either a cast or scan of their feet.
Orthotics are not generally activity specific, they are patient specific. Different patients with the same symptom may require different interventions based on weight, age, footwear, activity levels and any other, underlying conditions.