Functional Orthotics: The Support you Need

Functional Orthotics

Most foot pain is the result of a faulty relationship between the bones and muscles of the foot. Even the slightest misalignment can result in a number of problems such as flat feet, persistent ankle sprains, bunions, corns, calluses, and heel spurs.

These problems may cause a great deal of discomfort, even knee, back and neck pain. These foot problems can be alleviated by the use of prescription, custom-made foot insert also known as an orthotic. If you think prescription functional (dynamic) foot orthotics might help you, speak to your podiatrist. You may be surprised at how easily they can provide relief.

  • What are Orthotics?

    Functional (dynamic) foot orthotics are specialized medical devices that are designed to be placed in a shoe; they support, align, or improve the function of the foot with each movement of the foot with the ground. Foot orthotics have been used for decades in the treatment of various different foot problems. Since the mid 1980’s they have become increasingly important in the treatment of various sports related injuries where overuse of muscles, tendons and ligaments occur.

  • Why choose Dr. El-Onsi ?

    Well, you may think of them as “arch supports” or “insoles”, but the prescription orthotics that Dr El-Onsi recommends are custom-made to suit your individual needs and biomechanics (the way your body moves), and custom made to the shape of your feet. The generic supports that can be purchased at a pharmacy or the pre-fabricated supports that are sold in many health and sports specialty stores do not provide the same support as the custom made orthotics that are prescribed by Dr El-Onsi.

  • What conditions can be treated by orthotics?

    Dr. El-Onsi may prescribe functional foot orthotics for your particular foot problem after a comprehensive assessment, taking into account your own biomechanics, evaluation of your footwear, and occupational and lifestyle factors. Functional foot orthotics provide valuable long-term solutions in the treatment and prevention of corns, calluses and ulcerations by redistributing the pressure of the body’s weight on the feet. They also help with rehabilitation of acute and chronic foot conditions such as tendonitis, recurrent ankle sprain and stress fractures, by providing consistent postural control to name a few.

  • How do Orthotics work?

    Custom functional foot orthotics correct biomechanical dysfunction by maintaining proper foot and ankle position. They remove the abnormal stress and strains on the foot and ankle, alleviating pressure on sensitive areas of the foot.

    Orthotics DO NOT cure your foot problem, any more than glasses cure your vision problems. Orthotics will not correct the position of a misplaced bone; they will not correct the way you walk. They compensate where the foot is at fault. You will always walk a certain way. An orthotic is device fabricated specifically for a patient’s foot’s shortcomings. So when a patient walks, the orthotics act to counter the foot’s natural (faulty) biomechanics to result in optimal biomechanics.

    Pressure points, improper rotation of the foot, painful muscle strain – all are eliminated because your foot is functioning properly.

    Remember, your feet are the foundation for your entire body. They do an awful lot of work each day. Even the slightest misalignment of the bones and muscles can cause a lot of discomfort. If you’ve ever had a blister on your foot, you’ve tried to avoid placing pressure on it by adjusting how you walk. If you do that all the time for a few years, you’d end up with a lot of back or hip pain. That’s how a small change in optimal biomechanics of the foot can lead to a variety of pains. Often, back and neck pain are the result of foot problems. Obtaining and consistently wearing prescription functional foot orthotics can be the best investment you can make in your overall well-being.

  • Why are functional foot orthotics used for so many different conditions?

    To answer this question, you must first understand that functional foot orthotics are primarily used to control foot function and “normalise” foot posture. When foot function is incorrect (eg. foot over-pronation/ over-supination), then many overuse problems start to occur. These symptoms of overuse may include pain or discomfort in the feet or legs. Sometimes symptoms will occur in the hip, the back or even the neck. Functional foot orthotics can help to control abnormal foot motion and allow normal foot motion and therefore prevent many of these symptoms.

    People sometimes wonder how orthotics can control knee or hip problems. Have you ever had a blister on the bottom of your foot? If you have, you know that you try not to put pressure on it. You change the angle of your foot when you walk and the next thing you know, your knee or hip hurts because you’re walking differently. Or you may have a sore back or hip, and when you alter the way you walk to compensate, your feet begin to hurt. There are many reasons for aches in the back, legs, and feet -accidental trauma, poorly fitting shoes, or simply signs of age.

    That’s why people whose feet are not “biomechanically correct” or in in-perfect alignment, often experience pain in other parts of their body.

  • How long must you wear functional foot orthotics?

    If functional foot orthotics have been prescribed for you then generally they will be needed indefinitely. This is because functional foot orthotics are similar to eye glasses or false teeth… they only work while you are wearing them. As you get older foot posture usually improves as long as your orthotics are worn for at least 80% of your weight bearing time. For this reason, your functional foot orthotics should be checked for accuracy and excessive ‘wear and tear’ every six months.

  • When is the best time to start wearing orthotics?

    People of all ages with a variety of foot, ankle, lower leg, knee, hip, lower back problems wear functional foot orthotics prescribed by a podiatrist to their individual needs. Athletes are often prescribed functional foot orthotics by their podiatrist to help maximise their performance, as well as to address mechanical problems.

    Functional foot orthotics may be used in children as young as three years of age, however, this is rarely necessary. Most children have relatively “flat feet” as a normal variant and should develop a normal arch by the age of seven. Children should be assessed as early as possible to ensure normal development occurs. Functional foot orthotics are often used as treatment intervention when a child’s foot posture is not within its normal range. This intervention attempts to control common childhood foot and leg problems including growing pains, aching feet and legs and poor co-ordination.

  • How long do functional foot orthotics last?

    Functional foot orthotics can last anywhere from six months to a couple of years. There are many factors that will affect wear and tear which is why regular reviews for accuracy are so important. Functional foot orthotics, just like shoes, do wear out and do need replacing from time to time.

  • Dr. El-Onsi’s personalised approach

    First, Dr. El-Onsi performs a complete clinical assessment and makes a diagnosis of your particular foot problem. If orthotics are necessary, a 3-D optical foot scanner makes an impression of your feet held in its neutral (ideal) position. This 3-D scan is sent to a laboratory where it is used to produce your custom made orthotics as per Dr. El-Onsi’s specifications.
    If functional foot orthotics are recommended by Dr. El-Onsi, he will design a treatment care plan for your individual needs. This plan will outline your diagnosis, the type of prescription foot orthotics you have been prescribed, appropriate exercise regimen, proposed footwear to wear with your orthoses, lifestyle changes you may need to make in order to address your particular problem, as well as any additional treatment which may be required.

    When prescribing functional foot orthotics, Dr. El-Onsi is unique in providing a comprehensive service to ensure safe and effective foot care, including:

    • A full clinical assessment of your foot problem prior to prescription.
    • Prescription functional foot orthotics tailored to your individual needs.
    • Provision of any additional treatment required.
    • Advice regarding exercises, appropriate footwear, fitting of your orthotics and training methods where relevant.
    • Comprehensive follow-up, including initial and ongoing treatment plan.
    • Fine-tuning or adjustment of any problems experienced in wearing the orthotics.
  • 9 ways how custom functional foot orthotics can help you!

    Many foot, ankle, knee, hip and low back problems as well as many muscular-skeletal and diabetic problems are a result of biomechanical dysfunction. Custom functional foot orthotics correct biomechanical dysfunction by maintaining proper foot and ankle position, removing the abnormal stress and strains on the foot and ankle, relieving and alleviating pressure on sensitive areas of the foot.

    1. Add balance to life – The fact is, we are not symmetrical. This fact is further exacerbated when patients suffer from pronation and the body tries to compensate. With custom functional foot orthotics, balance is restored, the body is no longer compensating, and the result is that many pains and physical complaints suffered by patients are alleviated.
    2. Absorb shock – Secondly, only restoration of balance is the importance of decreasing the heel-strike shock that our systems experience in the day-to-day activity of walking and stress. Heel-strike shock is a major cause of muscular-skeletal difficulties that, when left unchecked, can lead to harmful consequences.
    3. Help reduce biomechanical aches and pain – Custom functional foot orthotics positively impact critical functions of the foot: support, locomotion, and shock absorption. The long-term effect caused by abnormalities of the gait (walking) cycle leads to asymmetrical compensation by the body. When the body responds in this manner, aches and pains develop throughout the body as symptoms. By preventing or correcting the critical functions, custom functional foot orthotics relieve the problems before they begin.
    4. Improve the biomechanics of the knee – By reducing the angular relationships in the hips and knees, custom functional foot orthotics relieve stress to the knee caused by pronation (inward motion of the ankle). Without the added stress, the knee (one of the first casualties of any gait abnormalities) stretches and rotates properly.
    5. Align the body – By addressing all the above factors, custom functional orthotics serve to improve foot alignment and symmetry and, ultimately, help improve overall body alignment.
    6. Attain better posture– With the body in alignment and the patient unburdened by aches and pains, he or she can concentrate on achieving correct stance and posture.
    7. Alleviate complications from conditions that affect the feet – With many diseases, such as diabetes, there is added stress to the feet that cause complications which can lead to amputation. Since properly fitting footwear is crucial in this case, alleviating the factors that bring about ulcer formation by using custom functional orthotics offers a cost-effective preventative measure.
    8. Increase athletic performance– Because custom functional foot orthotics significantly influence pelvic rotation and stride length, and also serve to reduce fatigue and improve balance, athletes experience a more consistent performance.
    9. Put more spring in your step– Custom functional foot orthotics affect the total body, make the wearer feel better, and reduce the affects of fatigue while walking.