What do Podiatrists do? Part 5

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Insoles

There are many different insoles and orthotic options available today. Working out what is right for you can be difficult alone. Today we will run through a few different types of insoles, and their benefits and drawbacks.

First up is over the counter or prefabricated devices.JCR_7866 These are available to anyone to buy, or some more condition specific devices may be available to practitioners to buy and dispense to patients.

The benefits of these devices are that they are usually cheaper, have no waiting time to manufacture, have a reasonable life span and the wide array available does give some specificity to them.

However, these are not bespoke and made specifically for you or your shoes. Therefore, they may not fit the anatomical land marks of your foot perfectly, they may not fit easily into shoes, you may not be able to tolerate them, they may not be tailored to your specific bio-mechanics and are not as adjustable.

Casted or semi casted devices.   These are usually rigid or semi rigid devices. An impression of your foot is taken usually by use of a foam box or plaster of paris cast, a material (EVA Carbon Polypropylene) is then molded to the cast, finally additions are made specifically to address your particular bio-mechanics.

The benefits of these devices are that they usually have a long life span, are bespoke to your specific needs and can be used to treat a wide range of conditions due to the large number of additions that can be made.

Drawbacks include higher cost (usually the most expensive), the manufacturing time, no option to ‘try before you buy’ to assess effectiveness, tolerance or accommodation within footwear, they are casted to the foot, not the shoe, so can sometimes be difficult to fit.

Soft or simple insoles. These are my personal favourite. These usually begin life as a temporary device that is made to fit your footwear with padding added to affect the function of the foot andshutterstock_97671347 lower limb using semi compressed felt. This temporary device is then adapted and fine-tuned based on the patients’ feedback, then used as the template to turn it into a permanent device.

The benefits of these devices are that they are tired and tested, all the fine tuning is done before anything permanent is manufactured, a temporary device can be made straight away, they are made specific to patients’ specific needs and footwear, have lots of adaptability and are usually better tolerated.

The drawbacks are they don’t last as long usually 12-24 months, temporary insoles are not 100% effective, temporary insoles will wear quickly and there is manufacturing time for permanent insoles.