What Do Orthotics Do?

By December 23, 2020Blog, Orthotics
custom made orthotics

If you experience foot or heel pain, you have probably thought about buying an orthotics shoe. These are shoe inserts that help support the abnormal movement of a foot and subsequently reduces the pain. The supports are made of various materials and are of different quality. However, before you make the decision to purchase these shoes, it is important that you understand how they work.

They amp up the feedback

Imagine that you are walking in a grass field without shoes and your foot comes into contact with a smooth rock. Since this is a sensitive area, the foot’s response is to activate muscles in the foot and lower leg in order to prevent excess pressure on the arch. Orthotics take advantage of this. They work by keeping contact with the arch of the foot comfortably. This changes the muscle activity in the foot and lower leg. With this change in the activity of muscles, the movement pattern of your foot and lower leg is changed. This subsequently reduces stress on the injured tissues.


This is the manner in which a technician changes the angle of the forefoot and heel portion of the orthotic. When the inner side of orthotics is thicker, the thickness keeps the foot from rolling in (pronating). The objective here is to post orthotics enough for subtalar joints to bear the weight in a relatively neutral position instead of spending most of the time pronated fully. When it is pronated, stress on the soft tissue structures will be increased and this may become painful.


This refers to everything that can be removed or added from the orthotic so as to address the specific problems that a person has. For example, metatarsal domes (gel-like bumps) can be added under the forefoot so as to spread the metatarsal bones out and help create room for the nerves that run between them. The addition is often used in the treatment of Morton’s neuroma.

There are many other modifications and additions that are used in orthotics. At The Center for Physical Health, we will help you pick the addition or modification that is best suited to address your condition. We also take pride in being the best physiotherapy clinic in Pickering and Ajax.

The orthotic manufacturers build their products to do one of two things:

  • Provide comfort and cushion: For this purpose, the orthotics are flimsy and constructed using memory foam. They provide added comfort to the insole. However, it is important to note that memory foam orthotics are simply a short-term fix.
  • Support abnormal movement of the foot: Having foot pain is not a normal thing. Orthotics promote proper foot movement and alignment especially when you experience foot pain because of an abnormality in the foot. The flimsy memory foam will not offer this support. Sturdier material is thus used to offer more stability and support to keep the foot in place.

While a lot of health debate may arise among clinicians who make orthotics, the research is not complete. You should always talk to a physiotherapist before purchasing an orthotic. CP Health is a sports medicine clinic, offering physiotherapy in Ajax and Pickering. To book an appointment CALL NOW at ? (905) 239-5001

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