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What is Podiatry?

Podiatrists undergo a 3 year degree course and are trained in the general management of medical conditions affecting the foot and ankle.

Biomechanics and Orthotics
What is a Biomechanical Assessment?

Biomechanics is the name given to the scientific study of human movement. In terms of Podiatry a Biomechanical Assessment involves a full assessment of lower limb function and efficiency in standing and walking. The aim of the assessment is to identify the cause of painful symptoms and instigate a treatment plan to accelerate recovery and reduce the risk of the same problem occurring again in the future.

What are Orthotics?

Orthotics, or Orthoses, are specialised inserts that fit into the shoe and work by reducing the magnitude of excessive damaging forces acting on structures in the lower limb, thereby relieving pain and improving efficiency in balance, stability and movement. Where injury has occurred as a direct or indirect result of these excessive forces, properly prescribed orthoses can accelerate healing and reduce the risk of the same injury recurring.

Orthoses fall broadly into two categories, Custom and Pre-moulded.

Custom Orthoses

These are made from a plaster or bio-foam mould of the feet and are made to a specific prescription, similar in concept to prescription glasses. They are usually constructed from very light, strong materials such as Carbon Fibre and Polyprolene and are often sports or activity specific. Because they are precision made by hand and therefore cannot be mass produced, they are relatively expensive. Whilst not necessary in all cases, they are generally stronger and longer lasting and therefore can be more cost effective in the long term. They are generally more successful in addressing complex foot pathologies.

Pre-moulded Orthoses

These come in a range of pre-formed shapes and sizes which are designed to fit a broad range of foot and shoe types. As they are not custom made they can be made in greater numbers and this makes them relatively inexpensive. Although they can be modified on a basic level, the general nature of their design means they may not be suitable for more complex foot pathologies.

There are many pros and cons to the various different types of orthoses available, and no single approach will work in every case. Orthoses are just one component of a well rounded treatment plan and are not the answer to everything, contrary to some ‘marketing’ claims out there. Our aim is to give clear and objective advice, with the aim of helping you to recover from your injury as quickly as possible.

Some common musculoskeletal conditions orthoses can help in the treatment of are:

  • Heel Pain (sometimes called ‘Policeman’s Heel)
  • Arch Pain
  • Runners Knee
  • Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (also known as Shin Splints)
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Metatarsalgia, or forefoot pain.
  • Achilles Tendinopathy

If you are struggling with a debilitating injury which is not responding to treatment, it may be worth considering whether orthoses can help you.

Just Ears is an external service that operate out of The Tonbridge Clinic. Please see their website for more info.
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