Orthotics. Types, Function and Conditions


So, you’ve been to a health professional, a shoes store, or a family/friend and they’ve said “You need orthotics?”

Maybe because you had flat feet, your feet “roll-in”, maybe you had some pain under your heel or arch and orthotics was said by these people to be the best possible treatment?

Maybe you have spoken to people who have used orthotics and they have said how useless or what a waste of money and just weren’t really satisfied with the orthotics they received.

Well today we are going to talk about types of orthotics, how they function and what they can help treat.

Now before we go on, this is just one treatment modality; there are many others such as Shockwave Therapy, Strength and Conditioning and Foot Mobilisation , which can be part of a great treatment plan to have you pain free.


Orthotics, (or foot orthoses, as they are officially known as) are a device which can help treat a variety of conditions. There are 3 common types of foot orthotics; these being:




All 3 types can and do serve their purpose depending on the person and their injury.


Prefabricated Orthotics are made at one standard specification, in terms of arch height, foot correction and material, normally EVA. They can be purchased in normally 3 sizes, small medium and large. These are made for the general population and are not specific; however, have shown to work at times.


Semi-Custom Orthotics are made to measure; these types of orthotics are great for kids with growing feet, as they are on the less expensive side. These orthotics have the ability for some adjustments and modifications; such as Arch Height, Foot correction, Offloading, Colour, Material (Nylon, Carbon Fibre or EVA) and thickness.

100% Custom Orthotics, as the name states are 100% custom to your own foot. Allowing for every tiny detail to be catered for, allowing you to have the best orthotic possible, suited to your needs. Any possible modification can be made. Including but not limited to: Material, Density, Colour, Corrections, Arch Height, Offloading and Padding. These can be manufactured however possible to get you the best result. Casts are taken by a 3D scanner and sent to a laboratory for these to be made. A great option for persistent heel pain, shin splints, forefoot pain, knee pain.



How do orthotics function?

They function to change the: Amount, Regions and Patterns of Loads going through the foot by transferring forces.

The orthotic transfers the forces from the ground (A ground reaction force) into the orthotic (An orthotic reaction force). By doing this it will alter the load distribution within the foot and lower limb, therefore reducing the load from certain ligaments, tendon, muscles, joints, and bones. By decreasing these loads mechanically, the structures within the foot are then able to rehabilitate without the repetitive forces acting upon them as they would without the orthotic.




What Conditions can orthotics help with?

  • Plantar Heel Pain

  • Plantar Fasciitis

  • Shin Splints

  • Sesamoiditis

  • Arthritis

  • Hallux Rigidus/Limitus

  • Arch Pain

  • Achilles Tendinopathy

  • Knee Pain

  • Bursitis

  • Morton’s Neuroma

  • Plantar Plate Tears

  • Bunions

  • Ankle Sprains

  • Severs Disease

  • Pigeon Toes


Is it true orthotics make my feet weak?

There is no hard evidence that this is the case at all. The orthotics job is to unload overloaded structures to help reduce pain and increase function. They have not shown to cause muscle wastage. However, with any orthotic prescription you will receive a tailored strengthening plan which will aim to strengthen the foot up to the hip according to your deficits and what needs to be worked on.


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