What are Orthotics?

Orthotics are devices which are placed inside your footwear and are designed to support, biomechanically align or improve the function of the foot. There are various types of orthotics, the most common types are (OTC) over the counter type and custom orthotics. Whilst (OTC) devices have uses, they are not comparable to the devices prescribed by Podiatry North in terms of function, fit and longevity. Therefore custom orthotics are generally what Podiatry North will recommend as they are prescription devices custom made to suit your individual biomechanics (the way your body moves)

Whats the difference between over the counter (OTC) and custom othotics?

Over the counter orthotics are a made to fit a general, average foot type, and as such are limited in the correction they provide. They are typically made from compressible foam which have a short life span and which can distort quickly dependant upon activity and weight of the patient, although they do offer short-term pain relief in certain circumstances and therefore occasionally have a place in treatment. Custom orthotics are just that custom made and prescribed to your specific condition and needs, and are made of durable materials which last on average 2-3 years depending on your footwear and your sport or activity levels.

Who wears orthotics?

People of all ages with a variety of foot or lower limb conditions wear orthotics. Sportspeople are often prescribed orthotics by Podiatry North to help maximise their performance, as well as address any biomechanical faults. However, anyone suffering from foot pain or a chronic foot or lower limb condition, which may limit their mobility or independence, may benefit from wearing orthotics.

Who needs orthotics?

Orthotics are prescribed by Podiatry North for a number of reasons. The most common being:

Overuse lower limb complaints like;

Do I need a referral for orthotics?

No, however many patients are referred from G.P’s, physiotherapists, sports physician or fitness trainers.

Orthotics are widely used by Podiatry North to treat a range of foot and lower limb problems in conjunction with other therapies which often include, stretching and strengthening different muscle groups. We offer a range of devices to suit patients, assessing which devices will most suit your needs and lifestyle, taking into consideration the condition, footwear, patients lifestyle and budget. These range from Custom made devices, semi-customised and prefabricated devices. We offer orthotics in a range of different materials and densities such as semi-rigid and soft devices as rigid or "hard" orthotics are not for everyone.

Signs that you may need to have your feet checked can include;

  • Persistent calluses and corns (this shows an uneven pressure distribution in the foot and should be investigated),
  • Uneven wear patterns in footwear,
  • Pain in feet, and or legs, or tired or "burning feet".


WARNING : This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional podiatric advice. Treatment will vary between individuals depending upon your diagnosis and presenting complaint. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following a personal consultation with a Podiatrist.