Sports Podiatry – what are orthotics?
orthotics are orthopaedic devices that are placed in an athletes shoes in an attempt to correct lower limb biomechanical abnormality. They are made out of a variety of compounds including rigid materials such as carbon fibre. At meditech we feel that the orthotic should not compromise the shock absorbency of the sports shoe it is worn in so all our orthotics are made from compounds that are used by the leading sports footwear manufacturers. Many professional athletes wear our orthotics a testament to how comfortable and effective they really are.
The aim of a foot orthotic is to correct dysfunctional biomechanics and therefore:
Prevent or halt the development of foot deformity
Provide better positioning
Relieve pressure on a certain area of the foot
Improve the overall biomechanical function of the foot and the lower limb
Help prevent lower limb injury
Speed up rehabilitation after injury
Types Of Orthotics
There are three types of orthotics: soft, semirigid, and rigid.
A soft orthotic is pictured here. Its function is to provide cushion, improve shock absorption, decrease shear force, and redistribute pressure. This type of orthotic is indicated for a rigid foot. It provides little support which is not needed in this particular instance. The most important aspect is to cushion the rigid foot and decrease the force so that injury is prevented.
The next is a semirigid orthotic which is seen here. This orthotic functions to control or balance the mal aligned foot as well as provide some flexibility and shock absorption. It has increased compliance and is the most common orthotic prescribed. Those individuals with flat feet are the beneficiaries of this type of orthotic.
Finally, the rigid orthotic serves to control gross unwanted motion. It is not accommodating and offers no shock absorption or cushioning. This type of orthotic is indicated for the neurologic patient that has poor control of their feet.
Think You Need Orthotics?
If so it is advisable to have a consultation with a sports podiatrist to have a full biomechanical evaluation to determine whether or not you have a biomechanical problem that would benefit from an orthotic prescription. If you think you need orthotics check out our sports podiatry clinic index for a sports podiatrist in your area.