Custom Foot Orthotics
We take pride in providing only the highest quality care to all of our patients. Our clinicians specialise in the orthotic management of foot conditions and injuries.
What are custom foot orthotics?
Custom foot orthotics are bespoke devices made specifically for your foot and your condition. This means they will be tailored exactly to you and not created based on a generic template.
We are able to customise the foot orthotic to suit your footwear, lifestyle and presentation depending on the outcome of the assessment we provide. Foot orthotics can be broken into 3 sections and the options available at each segment can be used in combination. The design and features used will depend on your assessment and what we are aiming to achieve.
Here are some common features of a foot orthotic.
Heel cupping, selective offloading (ie for heel spurs), wedging, height increase (to alter ankle pitch or accommodate for a leg length discrepancy)
Selective offloading (ie plantar fascia grooves), medial arch support, arch control, lateral arch support, transverse arch support
Forefoot wedging, metatarsal domes, selective offloading, metatarsal cut outs, hallux cut outs
The density of the material we use for the device will also vary according to height, weight, age, activity and clinical presentation.
How do foot orthotics work?
The human foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints and over one hundred tendons, ligaments and muscles. This structure is remarkable in its function, however things do go wrong. The result may be acute pain, inefficient biomechanics, stress injuries, chronic issues or bad posture of the foot leading to ankle, knee, hip and back pain amongst other problems.
If we provide support and correction to the foot, we can address many issues by protecting or reducing load on the stressed tissues. By supporting the bony structures of the foot we can offload tired overworked muscles and encourage the activation of other muscles which may not be as active due to the malalignment.
Foot orthotics will not magically heal your issue, only your body can do that, but we will encourage an environment which will make this possible. Most patients do notice immediate pain relief when wearing their foot orthotics.
Everything is connected! For example, a flat foot which overly pronates (rolls inwards) may suffer from aching arches and lateral (outside) ankle impingements locally, but the flow on effect internally rotates the tibia, causes the knees to dip inwards (valgus malalignment) and the pelvis to drop. The gluteal muscles are then required to work harder to prevent internal rotation and adduction at the femur which could aggravate lower back pain.
Some patients with knee osteoarthritis find foot orthotics and suitable footwear will reduce some pain in their knees as the ground reaction force is shifted to the less damaged region of their knee.
Foot orthotics are best used in conjunction with suitable footwear, which your orthotist can advise you on.
Do I need foot orthotics?
Do I need foot orthotics?
The answer to this question is generally based on these factors:
Pain - If you have a high level of lower limb and foot pain, your pain is worsening, or your foot pain has been persisting for a longer time we may be more inclined to suggest foot orthotics. If your foot pain is low and reducing then we may suggest other options first.
Age - If you are younger and growing, or older and not healing as well or the pain is limiting your mobility foot orthotics may be required.
Biomechanics - An assessment of the structure and function of your foot will assist this decision. If during the assessment and gait analysis we note issues we can immediately address, foot orthotics may be a good option for you. (e.g. hyper mobility, flat feet, very high arched feet, pronated foot posture, bony prominences, painful rigid joints, osteoarthritis, foot structures which cause torsional forces in the foot).
History -What have you done previously? Have you tried other options or changed your footwear recently? Have you recently started training for a marathon? Are you noticing your feet change shape? The answers to these questions will assist us to determine a course of action. If there are things we can modify in your life such as activity level we will advise accordingly.
Diagnosed conditions- If you have a particular condition which we know responds well to foot orthotics we will be more inclined to suggest foot orthotics as a treatment.
What is the comfort guarantee?
We will ensure your foot orthotics are comfortable. We offer unlimited appointments for 3 months after fitting to solve any fitting and comfort issues. Our orthotists can adjust the devices on the spot without the orthotics being sent away, so it will not require excess appointments or long wait times to fix issues.
If it is required they are remade due to an error on our behalf, there will be no charge for this.
Common conditions that foot orthotics treat
- painful flat feet
- rigid high arched feet
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Stress fractures
- Ankle pain and impingement
- Midfoot collapse
- Diabetic ulcers
- Lateral column overload
- Medial column overload
- Shin splints
How do I get started?
We will start by asking you about your history and lifestyle, progressing to a thorough assessment of the foot, ankle, knee and hip and some gentle palpation of the affected/painful areas.
Measurements may be taken at this point, particularly joint angles.
We will then conduct a full gait analysis and report in plain terms our assessment and findings and begin to formulate our prescription.
Based on the assessment, we will capture a physical or digital impression of your foot. For particularly troublesome feet we will manipulate the foot into a corrected position and take a physical impression and sometimes even cast the feet in the position we need using plaster.
We will create either a plaster or digital representation of your foot and modify accordingly. This is dependent on the assessment but usually involves increasing the arch height, correcting the hindfoot, offloading any prominent or painful areas and generally correcting the biomechanics of the foot to resolve the issue you presented with. This is done by a tertiary educated professional orthotist who has studied in depth, lower limb anatomy and biomechanics.
Our orthotics are made in Orthotics Plus’ onsite workshop laboratory. Unlike the vast majority of podiatry groups in Australia, we will never outsource our custom foot orthotics to be made by a central fabrication group. The clinician who assessed your foot will be the clinician who creates your orthoses.
We use high density EVA in our orthotics. This material is more expensive than plastic, increasing our cost of manufacture and the time required, but it has excellent properties which lend to foot orthotics perfectly.
The EVA is either milled by our carving machine into the design created by the orthotist or heated and vacuum formed over the cast in multiple layers to capture the shape required.
The foot orthotic is then hand finished by the orthotist to fit your shoe and comfortably correct and support your foot.
After the fitting has been deemed successful, we will generally cover the device with a material (usually fabric, leather or synthetic) for hygiene and aesthetic purposes.
Why should I choose Orthotics Plus?
We never use hard plastics! We manufacture our foot orthotics from EVA.
This shock absorbing material is much more comfortable for the foot while still allowing excellent support and control to be built into the orthotic.
Expertise & Experience
We are the custom foot orthotics experts. We stand behind our product and will offer honest advice from a wealth of experience. All orthotists in our clinic have been actively working for over 10 years
A Trusted Clinic
We are the clinic of choice for many of Melbourne’s leading orthopaedic foot & ankle surgeons. Approximately 60% of our custom foot and ankle work comes on referral from people in the know.
We Make our Own
The clinician who takes your measurements and conducts the assessment will be the clinician who designs and makes your orthotics.
We understand that you don’t want to put up with pain any longer than you need to. Our devices can be finished and ready for fitting within a week.
We do it by hand. Our foot orthotics are made in our own workshops and never centrally fabricated.
FAQ’s for Custom Foot Orthotics
Do you have questions about custom foot orthotics and what is involved? We make it easy for you.
What if I don’t find them comfortable?
It’s normal for foot orthotics to require a wearing in period and there to be some discomfort.
This discomfort is generally muscular as patterns are broken and different (often neglected) muscle groups are used. There may also be some light skin rubbing as areas which were previously non-weightbearing take load and the tissue adapts. This is normal. This usually resolves in a short time frame and many people forget they’re even wearing them.
For the cases when issues do not resolve quickly, we will offer unlimited (within reason!) appointments in the following 3 months after prescription until the foot orthotics are deemed satisfactory to you.
Will foot orthotics weaken my feet?
No. This is a common myth. When used correctly foot orthotics do not ‘take over’ the role of muscles in your feet, leaving them lazy and ineffective. They correct a biomechanical issue and rebalance and normalise the muscle activity in your feet. Many studies and even a systematic review have found a more normalised muscle activity in patients with a flat foot deformity when using foot orthotics.
When aligned correctly the foot will work more efficiently as the muscles and joints are not at the extreme end range of their possible range of motion. Muscles generally work more efficiently and can produce more strength during the middle of the range of motion of the respective joint they control.
Additionally a foot which has a corrected posture will provide a better and efficient structure for human gait during running, walking or sports.
Many elite athletes wear foot orthotics and we regularly see athletes to assist with their chosen sports.
Are foot orthotics the entire answer?
Foot orthotics may be a piece of the puzzle but are rarely the entire solution. We will discuss all the other factors which have contributed to the pain or issue and advise as such.
This may be better selection of footwear, behavioural modifications and lifestyle modifications just to name a few.
We may also prescribe a lower limb stretching and strengthening regime where indicated to assist with the orthotic management and support your recovery, particularly in the case of plantar fasciitis.
When required we will refer you to a specialist if it is outside of our scope of practice. i.e. dietary advice or surgical intervention.
How long will my orthotics last?
The structure of our foot orthotics will last almost indefinitely, the shape may begin to change after a couple of years though, so we suggest a review appointment if you feel like you require more support or things have changed. Top covers which are primarily aesthetic and used for hygiene tend to wear out more quickly and we can re-cover them for you in one 10-15 minute appointment.
What is the comfort guarantee?
We will ensure your foot orthotics are comfortable. We offer unlimited appointments for 3 months after fitting to solve any issues. Our orthotists can adjust the devices on the spot without the orthotics being sent away, so it will not require excess appointments or long wait times to fix issues.
If it is required they are remade, there will be no charge for this