Do I Need Orthotics?
Orthotics are becoming more and more prevalent, and as a result, they are becoming more and more expensive. Far too many people are being unnecessarily prescribed orthotics for issues which don’t exactly require them.
The most common reason I see people getting orthotics is due to ‘flat feet’, or ‘fallen arches’. Your feet become sore after running or other exercise, so you go to a foot or orthotic ‘specialist’. They then will charge you huge amounts of money for insoles for your shoes to line up your arches to a more neutral position.
These orthotics usually work pretty quick and give you relief. That is the problem. It is a quick fix to a long-term problem, and quite often leads to further issues down the line.
Orthotics change the alignment of your foot and as a result of this, the alignment of your knee, hip and pelvis alter also, and this can often lead to discomfort in any of these areas due to the changes that have occurred. So, you have fixed the pain in your foot but now you have aches and pains somewhere else.
Now, these pains are not as a result of anything serious or long term and will eventually subside. Your body will eventually adapt to this change and you shouldn’t have any long term issues as a result, as long as you continue wearing orthotics forever and keep updating them whenever they wear out, costing more and more money as you go.
What if I told you there was another way? A cheaper and more effective way in the long term.
If there is a problem with the alignment of your foot or with the strength and stability of your foot, it can be fixed naturally. Your foot is the same as any other part of your body, if it is weak it can be strengthened, if it is unstable it can be stabilised and so on. For example, if you had a weakness and lack of stability in your shoulder, you wouldn’t strap it up constantly to keep it in one position and stabilise it, you would strengthen it and do some stability exercises to fix it.
The reason your foot can be sore is the very same as most other areas of the body. Most often, there is one or more muscles not functioning 100% as you would like. As a result of this, other bigger muscles need to work much harder to compensate for this. If those muscles are working really hard constantly, they become tired and eventually sore, leading to foot pain. So how you fix this is, you get the lazier muscles working harder, which helps the bigger muscles work more efficiently and eventually the whole foot works better and pain free.
Just like the orthotics, this will have a long-term effect on your knee, hip and pelvis also, but this is a positive effect. The strengthening, activation and stabilisation exercises for the muscles in your foot will also help to strengthen activate and stabilise the muscles the whole way up your leg and into the pelvis, leading to an overall stronger and more efficient lower body.
So, in summary…
Do Orthotics work? Yes, similarly to how a painkiller works, it masks the problem but fixes nothing. Do you need orthotics? Probably not, if you are willing to put in the work to improve your long-term health and wellbeing.
How do you know what muscles don’t work properly?
That’s where your Physical Therapist can help. We can assess your foot and leg and see what needs specific addressing. We will then direct you towards the best exercises to fix the problem long term. If it’s for only prevention purposes, we are more than happy to help you out as much as possible.
Enquire about our Free Discovery Visits we offer for situations like this.