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What are Orthotics and why do people need them?

The term “Orthotics” derives from the Greek language and refers to the special branch within the medical field that is concerned with developing devices to be worn externally to support, protect, align or correct areas of the body. An orthotic is the word commonly used to refer to a particular type of orthoses designed specifically for the foot.

An orthotic comes in the form of a shoe insert. An orthotic is designed to control and correct the positioning of the foot, distributing the weight evenly and allowing the wearer to both stand and move efficiently.

Usually they are used to treat imbalances in the foot, which predominantly fall into two categories, pronation (flat foot: rolling-in) which can be treated with an orthotic such as Quadrastep D or supination (high arches: rolling-out) which can be treated with Quadrastep A. These imbalances cause an uneven distribution of weight to the foot which causes added strain, especially during movement. Orthotics attempt to correct alignment and restore full foot function. Correcting alignment helps to prevent further problems associated with imbalances, such as bunions and heel and arch pain.

Orthotics can also be used to support an injured foot and to aid sufferers of medical conditions such as Cerebral Palsy and Diabetes to improve their mobility.

Types of Orthotic

There are three types of orthotic: those which primarily attempt to change foot function, those that are protective, and those that combine functional control and protection.

Healthcare professionals continue to recommend the use of orthotics because they:

  • Help to correct and restore foot function which relieves pain and pressure on the foot
  • Help to support injuries of the foot and prevent further damage occurring Increase mobility in patients with health conditions and allow them to retain a degree of independence
  • Allow patients to continue doing the sports and recreational activities they love, by helping to relieve pain and by providing a preventative measure to stop their condition worsening

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