Foot problems are a feature of modern living, attributable to factors in human development. We, humans, have the unique ability to function as bipeds (we walk on two feet rather than four). Whilst this has allowed us the freedom to evolve, it has had certain drawbacks.
Our two feet have to withstand twice as much weight (as compared to having four feet).
Two and a half times our body weight goes through our feet nine and a half thousand times a day, on average.
We then walk on hard, flat surfaces for which our bodies are not designed.
We often wear shoes that are ill-fitting or that force us to walk awkwardly.
It is hardly surprising, then, that we suffer from stress and pain.
Many foot problems are the result of a faulty relationship between the bones, muscles and ligaments of the foot. This may be a developmental issue, with bones or joints not forming fully or evenly, or may be due to injury, posture, lifestyle, disease, etc. Untreated, these can lead to long term, more serious or diverse problems.
The sooner that these issues are identified and measures taken to correct imbalances, the more effective the outcome. Long-standing problems may also be treated successfully, easing painful conditions and encouraging a return to healthy biomechanics.
Feet can be the source of pain and we may not recognize this fact. Misalignment can result in flat feet, over-pronation, persistent ankle sprains, bunions, corns, calluses, etc. It may, significantly, be the underlying cause of more far-reaching problems, such as knee, hip, back and neck pain. Without many of us realising, poor use of our feet may impair our overall biomechanics and be the cause of a range of aches and pains.
What are orthotics?
Orthotics, whilst they may look similar to arch supports, are special footwear inserts that are individually designed and manufactured.
The orthotics are laboratory-made according to the specifications given by your osteopath. (Although you may have a similar foot size and problem to someone else, the same orthotics would not necessarily fit comfortably or be of benefit).
The purpose of the orthotics is to reposition the foot structure to achieve optimal skeletal balance, thereby reducing the stress and pain on the joints that are causing discomfort.
The orthotics are made from a special lightweight and durable polymer composite material, that has the unique ability to flex but (unlike traditional materials) always returns to its set shape. It also has a greater in-built strength that allows the laboratory to use a thinner shell, thus taking less room in your shoes.
How do orthotics work?
As your foot stands comfortably on the orthotic, it is gently and consistently directed into the optimum position. It allows the foot to function correctly when walking, running or standing.Pressure points, improper rotation of the feet and painful muscle strain are eliminated, as your feet function optimally and in comfort.
Orthotics do not cure your foot problem but, rather like glasses, make corrections to modify the function. This means that you will need to wear the orthotics as long as you want to avoid the problem. They are not, therefore, a short-term fix but a long term solution.
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