Orthoses (Orthotic devices)

Unlike normal padding orthotics work by changing the way that the foot hits the ground. So they directly change the way you walk. This can lead to reduced stress on the foot and hence less damage and pain.

Orthotics are prescribed for patients by taking a biomechanical examination that will be used to identify issues that are affecting walking. These can be problems in the foot, the shape of the leg, soft tissue (muscle and tendons) or the shape of bones. One leg may be longer than the other (leg length discrepancy).

The examination will normally take about 1/2 an hour and usually involves walking on a treadmill as well as a static examination of the lower limbs.

After the examination if devices are prescribed then a pair of plaster casts of the feet (taken with plaster of Paris bandage) are made and sent off to a laboratory which will manufacture the actual devices.

These devices are then fitted and tested. If necessary they can be altered to adjust for any new requirements.

Orthotic devices don't fix foot problems but they can correct them so that the feet are working more efficiently. In that way they are like a pair of spectacles that don't improve your eyes but do help your eyesight.

You will normally have at least three appointments to get a pair of orthotics - one to prescribe them, one to fit them and a review afterwards.