Frequently Asked Questions

Over the years, we’ve had patients have numerous questions about their orthotic care and the medical devices they use. Feel free to also browse through this Glossary of Terms for more information as well.

What is an Orthosis?

An Orthosis is an appliance, which attaches externally to a limb to aid or correct the function of that limb. Orthotics is the term used to describe the use of such an appliance. The Foot Orthotic is simply an appliance used on the foot.

What do foot orthotics really do?

Foot Orthotics correct an abnormal or irregular walking pattern. They perform functions that make standing, walking, and running more comfortable and efficient, by altering slightly the angles at which the foot strikes a walking or running surface. With the proper application, foot orthotics solve a number of biomechanically related problems, not only for obvious foot problems but also for ankle and knee pain, pelvis, hip, spinal pain and even headaches. This is achieved by preventing misalignment of the foot which can significantly alter the way in which the bones move within their joints.

Foot Orthotics take various forms and are constructed of various materials. All are concerned with improving foot function and minimizing stress forces that could ultimately cause foot deformity and pain.

While varying in design all orthotic supports are mostly aimed at the mass market, this is fine in many cases but to be fully effective each support should be tailored to the individual. Increased knowledge of Biomechanics and Orthotic correction of ‘unseen’ problems has led to more specific prescriptive treatment with casting and bespoke individual insoles.

What is pronation?

Inward ankle tilt, known as ‘pronation’, can cause the bones beneath the ankle to shift out of place and thus lead to a considerable alteration to the way the joint operates. Outward ankle tilt, though less common, still occurs in some individuals in the reverse of the above.

This abnormal joint movement in the feet and ankle affect the hip joint and the curvature of the spine. This generally leads to back pain and increased pressure on the hips and pelvis.