Orthotics – they are a useful tool but not a long term solution for walking (gait) pain. Gait analysis and training will have long term results

Orthotics have their place in treatment of certain conditions or rare extreme structural issues.

But ultimately they give temporary relief at the expense of long term dysfunction.

They are often given to reduce pronation.

However pronation is a natural part of the gait function. It’s beautifully designed as a shock absorber. If we prevent this from happening when we walk, our body has to compensate and absorb the ‘shock’ in many other ways.

It’s better to address the reason for the pain or over pronation. Which could be coming from the knee, or hips, or breath, or simply the foot needs strengthening.

I was in orthotics from 10 years old until 13/14 for knee and ankle pain.

I understand that sometimes we just don’t have the time and capacity to address the root problem and retrain, in which case they work wonders as a temporary crutch.

But anyone who’s been in them for years knows ultimately that they are not sustainable, because we don’t wear shoes 24/7 and they don’t work in all shoes. So the hours of the day when we are not wearing them – what then? Without addressing function, this confused the system even more going from a hard cast orthotic (potentially weakening and reducing function) to barefoot or in summer shoes etc. Long term that is perhaps worse for the body?

I’ve seen such quick foot function changes in people when they put their mind to it. The foot is mainly muscle and tendon – it can be trained, as can the whole body above it, which is all part of the same.

I’ve studied my own biomechanics for years so I get it.

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