Heel pain is frequently caused by misalignment of the foot or stress on the muscles and tissue. Orthotics act to hold the foot in place, reducing this stress and essentially causing the foot to sit in the correct position by shaping it around the insole.
While orthotics may relieve heel pain while being worn, they rely on manually positioning the foot in place and do not assist in strengthening the muscles of the foot or correcting the misalignment that is the underlying cause of heel pain. This means that to be effective orthotics must continue to be worn long term.
Why orthotics often don’t work:
They don’t fit into most shoes.
This is particularly an issue for females, the reality is that orthotics are just too big and bulky to fit into anything that looks good. Even a flat shoe will struggle to have the depth to accommodate an orthotic. Unless you’re willing and can wear runners all the time you may get very poor results through orthotic therapy because you don’t wear them often enough for them to be effective.
Orthotics must be worn all the time to be effective
On a weekly basis we have disappointed patients in our offices by telling them their orthotics aren’t working, because they aren’t wearing them enough. The reason that they aren’t wearing them enough is that they only fit in their gym shoes and of course most people can’t wear their gym shoes all the time. An orthotic only helps your foot pain while you are wearing them, unfortunately this is often not explained properly to patients when they are first fitted. As a result the patient goes to a great deal of trouble and expense and gets a nasty shock down the track when they don’t get the results they expect.
Orthotics are a band aid solution
Unfortunately, orthotics only correct your foot while you’re wearing them, they don’t strengthen your foot or change your foot alignment long term. They don’t fix the underlying cause of your foot problem, they don’t strengthen your foot long term and they don’t improve the posture of your foot the more you wear them.
What are the issues with orthotics?
While they are a common treatment option orthotics have a number of issues and restrictions such as:
They require shoes to be deep enough and to be enclosed in order to hold the orthotics in place, meaning they are usually only appropriate for lace up, closed shoes
Women find orthotics particularly challenging as they don’t fit many shoe styles, restricting footwear choices
They don’t change the alignment of your foot long term, which means that in order to avoid pain, you have to stay in the orthotics forever
They don’t strengthen your feet, so you never become self-reliant
They can be hard and difficult to get used to
They can blister the arch of the foot or rub uncomfortably
They often require custom prescriptions which are costly to make. The prescription of your orthotics also often needs to be updated over time, creating additional expense.
How do I correct the underlying cause of my problem long term?
The great news is you can, through a treatment called foot mobilisation therapy. Foot mobilisation therapy corrects the alignment of your foot without needing orthotics, or to change your shoes or activity. Foot mobilisation therapy is a gentle hands on technique that corrects the alignment of your foot. We then combine this with exercises to strengthen your foot long term so that your foot adopts this corrected position. The great news is that the changes address the underlying cause, providing a long term solution and allowing you to wear the shoes you normally wear while doing the things you love.
The benefits of foot mobilisation over orthotics are:
No footwear restrictions, so you can keep wearing the shoes you love
You can keep being active and exercising
Changes the misalignment in your feet so that you address the underlying cause long term
Improves nervous system function and strengthens the muscles of your feet
You can walk barefoot
You have better balance
It improves your posture, reducing the occurrence of related complications such as knee and hip pain
Foot mobilisation podiatry coaxes your feet and body back to health by encouraging the joints of your feet to move through their natural range of motion. This corrects the position of your feet with movement and provides permanent physiological improvements. Unlike orthotics, which only work when you wear them, foot mobilisation changes the structure of your feet so your condition continues to improve with time.
How does Foot Mobilisation Therapy work?
The treatment is a gentle series of movements through the joints of your feet guided by the podiatrist’s hands in a controlled movement. These movements may also include your hips and knees.
Is Foot Mobilisation Therapy painful?
Generally-no. Sometimes initial mobilisations may be uncomfortable due to restriction within a joint but generally, the treatment is pain free.
Is my activity restricted during treatment?
Generally, no. We actually encourage you to continue normal levels of activity. This allows us to monitor the treatment’s effectiveness.
How long do I have to continue the treatment for?
Our goal is to make you as self-sufficient as possible after the initial treatment period. The advantage is that we focus on the cause of your pain by improving the alignment of your joints, and strengthening the muscles supporting those joints rather than trying to accommodate the problem, as other styles of treatment do.