When should orthotics be used for treatment?
Podiatrists know that offloading a specific tissue with an orthotic reduces the stresses placed upon that tissue therefore giving it time to rest and heal. If orthotics are used in the correct manner, they can be very effective in the treatment of many lower limb conditions.
In most cases people use orthotics to help treat a condition or pain. Others will wear orthotics to try and correct foot posture (correcting flat feet). Both have been common practice for a long time. New models of treatment within the Podiatry profession focus more on the 1st point rather than the 2nd. This model concentrates on treating the foot when it is injured or in pain rather than just to correct foot posture. Correcting foot posture does not necessarily prevent an injury. There is a saying that fits for this particular situation perfectly – Why fix something that isn’t broken?
When the foot is flat (rolls in) it will predispose a person to certain types of injuries just as having a high arch (rolls out) foot does. Therefore correcting a foot before it is injured will not necessarily prevent a future injury. Preventative orthotic therapy does have a place in Podiatry and in most cases is used to prevent a previous injury from reoccurring. A good example of preventative orthotic therapy is to stabilise the foot and ankle to prevent ankle sprains in a person with chronic ankle instability.