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Orthotics (or orthoses) are shoe inserts that control or correct structural problems within the foot. They may be used to treat many conditions such as heel pain, knee pain and sports-related problems. There are a number of different types of orthoses, with varying degrees of control. Orthoses are suitable for all age ranges, from children to the elderly. With some conditions, orthoses required be used to cushion areas of the foot rather than correct structural problems. Orthoses can be made specifically for a person's foot (casted orthoses) or off the shelf (non-casted). A podiatrist can advise on the most suitable type of orthoses for your problem after performing gait analysis.

Types of Orthoses

There are two main types of orthoses, these are:

Casted Orthoses

The podiatrists at Manchester Podiatry can provide casted orthoses. These are made specifically to fit your feet and meet your requirements. An impression of your foot is taken by your podiatrist. This impression is then sent to a specialist company and they manufacture the orthotic, based on the impression of your foot. The podiatrist provides the manufacturer with numerous fine details as to the requirements of the orthotic, for example, materials, raises, support.

There are various types of materials that can be used to make orthotics, including plastics and carbon fibre. The material used is determined by your need, for example, some people need a very firm insole if they are wearing it for high impact sports, whereas an elderly person with arthritis may require something softer. Your podiatrist will decide on what you require after a full assessment of your condition and needs.

Non Casted Orthoses

These are made on a large scale and are not made for an individual; they are 'ready made'. These may be suitable for certain people and are often a good starting point if you have not worn orthotics before. They are also cheaper than having ones casted. However, for an athlete functioning at a high level or person with certain medical conditions, one tailored to your own feet may be more beneficial.