I attended a lecture on podiatry and orthotics last night for physios by Sean Pincus.
It’s so important for the different disciplines to share their expertise so that we know when and where we should refer our patients onto someone else.
Podiatry deals with the foot in health and disease. Form dictates function, that is, the shape of the foot has a direct influence on how it functions. Incorrect form causes incorrect function and incorrect function becomes form.
So what are orthotics and when do we need them?
Orthotics are in-shoe devices that redirect force, redirect the joint axis and limit or enhance motion in order to correct foot function that has been identified as been an aetiology or detrimental to the overall foot and or body function.
In other words, when someone is complaining of continued foot and/or knee pain, excessive blistering, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, bunions, sesamoiditis and is generally getting repeated injuries of the foot, knee, hip and the lower back and treatment is not helping, it may be time to get a podiatrist to assess the foot function and determine if the problems are arising from there.
A podiatrist will use specific video analysis of the gait and check hip, knee and lower back control. He will look at the shape of the foot, the movement of the foot in the sagital plane and the movements around the subtalar joint. He will also asses the mechanism of the foot and any limb length discrepancies. Stress in the soft tissues can also cause repeated injuries.
A variety of materials are used to make orthotics depending on the problem. Rigid orthotic devices are typically made of plastic or carbon fibre, whereas soft orthotic devices are made of soft, compressible materials such as silicone or foam.
Foot pain can be very debilitating….they carry all our weight and we need them to be strong and healthy to keep us agile and grounded.
Foot dysfunction leads to many other aches and pains in the body so do not wait…get it checked out. (sais she, who on my off day decided to walk around the shopping centre in high heels as a change from my normal bare foot working day – the result….. very painful feet and very grumpy!)
Give Sean a visit if you are needing some help on the foot front. He has been around for many moons and knows his stuff.