Not many of us were blessed with perfect feet! According to studies, less than 10 per cent of the world population would have what is called a normal or neutral foot, meaning a foot that does not require any special care or support to maintain its shape when loaded with its body weight.
According to foot carer Frank De Lorenzo, your feet are the base of support of your entire skeleton, so they may affect the entire body if they are misaligned or not straight.
Orthotics are inserts added inside the footwear to support the foot’s natural structure. But do orthotics work? Are they good? Are they bad? Do you really need them? Are they worth it?
If you are wondering if you need orthotics, then Frank De Lorenzo has this vital information to help you make the decision. “Here’s what I advise people who ask me if they should be wearing an orthotic, and I think this is a good compromise,” he says. “If foot pain is affecting your ability to move and walk, and participate in your daily activities comfortably, I will prescribe an orthotic.
“I only ever use exceptionally good value (under $100), off-the-shelf orthotics that are extremely effective. I adjust them on the spot and ensure that the foot, ankle, knee and hip are aligned, but then you need to do whatever work it takes, to NOT NEED that orthotic.”
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“In my opinion one of the best exercises is to wear bare feet on softer surfaces to help strengthen the foot. Placing an orthotic under your foot might help the positioning of the knee and hip, relieving knee and hip pain in the short term, when we remove the orthotic and walk around the house, the feet and posture revert to misaligned position.
“Using an external device to prop the leg into better alignment only works when the device is in place. Stable, supportive footwear is absolutely vital and should be the first thing to check to ensure that your shoes are in good shape. Many times that is all that is needed.”
Many feet are stiff, immobile, misshapen and quite rigid adapting to our environment (hard unyielding surfaces) and misshapen shoes.
“I believe it is vital to mobilise the feet to unlock the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles prior to fitting orthotics,” Frank adds.