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Merriefield Podiatry Ferndown Clinic

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t: 01202 855 872
e: merriefieldpodiatry@gmail.com

Located in Ferndown,
Serving Ferndown, Wimborne and Bournemouth
from Monday to Saturday

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What are Orthotics?

Orthotic For FootOur feet were designed to be adaptive to many different surfaces. However, the surfaces we walk on have been changed by man, who has created more stable environments by laying down coverings such as concrete and tarmac which can adversely affect our feet.

An orthotic is a conservative approach to prevent a foot problem. It is an in-shoe device used to make the foot more comfortable and improve movement. The orthotic is not solely an arch-support, it is used to support the foot in a more neutral position so that pressure is distributed more evenly across the sole of the foot. Abnormal or irregular walking patterns can be improved and very often leg and back fatigue is reduced. Orthotic devices are used by people of all ages and levels of activity.

Orthotics can be made of different materials such as EVA, polypropylene or carbon fibre and are available as off-the-shelf and custom made devices. It is preferable they are worn with a heel height of less than 2 inches. Flat orthotics with cushioning properties can relieve pressure and are particularly effective where there is a loss of the protective fatty pad. However, this type of orthotic tends to be bulkier requiring roomy shoes.

How are custom-made orthotics manufactured and are they expensive?

A plaster-of-paris cast or impression is made of the foot to capture the angular relationships between the rear, mid and forefoot. This is then sent to a laboratory where the technicians will ‘capture’ the best functioning position. The body of the orthotic device is contoured to the cast or impression of the foot. Control can be achieved by the use of heel cups and additional components such as post-controls can be added as required.

The orthotic device should fit easily into shoes. However, sometimes it will be necessary to change footwear style. They are generally comfortable to wear after a period of adjustment whereby they are worn gradually slowly extending the time until they can be worn all day. This gradual introduction minimises stress to the muscles of the legs and feet as the body accustoms to a slightly different position than it has been used to.

The initial cost can seem expensive, but the materials used are longer lasting and they can be refurbished unlike off-the-shelf devices. The orthotics are unique to you as a Plaster-of-Paris cast of your feet is used to create a closely fitting device. Many people report being able to walk further with orthotics as their discomfort or pain is reduced and as a result their quality of life is enhanced.

Shoes with Contoured Foot-beds

In the summer a lot of people where sandals and it is often difficult to fit an orthotic. It is now possible to purchase shoes with footbeds which have deeper heel cups, arch supports and modifications to the forefoot to more efficiently disperse forces.

Medical Conditions where Orthotic Therapy can be Helpful

  • Pronation (rolling in of the feet)
  • Flat feet
  • Obesity
  • Hypermobility (laxity in the ligaments of the foot)
  • Chronic heel pain (heel spurs, plantar fasciitis)
  • Hallux Abductus Valgus (bunions)
  • Hallux Limitus (stiff big toe)
  • Metatarsalgia (pain in the forefoot)
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Leg length differences
  • Recurrent ankle sprains

And Finally

It must be said that the wearing of orthotics is a commitment in the same way glasses are worn to correct vision. In addition to providing orthotics, personalised stretching programs may be advised.

For further information please contact:

Debra Pauly BSc(Hons)MChS
Chiropodist & Podiatrist
Merriefield Podiatry
Tel: 01202 690726

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