Podiatry FAQs

What are moulded orthotics?

Moulded Orthotics are made to measure foot supports made from plaster moulds or 3 dimensional scans of feet.

They give an exact fit and provide degrees of correction and amounts of support to keep the body in straight alignment.

They are used widely for walking and in sports and running to provide shock absorption.

What materials are moulded orthotics made from?

In the past many moulded orthotics were made from hard materials such as carbon fibre and fibre glass.

Recently more specialist shock absorbing materials are commonly used to reduce shock and give cushioning in walking especially sporting activities and running.

The materials used are shock absorbing light and easy to clean. They are used for sports and used widely for walking.

Is it best to have a plaster bandage cast or a 3D scan impression to make moulded orthotics?

There is no research at present to suggest scanning is more accurate than plaster bandage casting

I use both three dimensional digitised scanning and plaster bandage casting depending on differing conditions and height of support required.

Digitised casting is the only repeatable method of taking three dimensional impressions of a foot.

What is the basis of pricing moulded orthotics?

Making accurate moulded orthotics takes time and is skilled work. Plaster bandage is placed around the foot and the ankle whilst the plaster sets can be recorded by a patented system electronically. Or a three dimensional scan may be taken. A positive mould is then made, normally out of plaster or resin.

The chosen material for the orthotic is then heated inside an oven and pressed over the mould of each foot under pressure separately. As the material cools it retains the memory of the shape of each foot mould exactly. Next the height of the orthotic is ground.

Finally the accurate angle of the orthotic is ground using calibrated horizontal belt grinders. These are calibrated to single level degree accuracy. The angle of the orthotics is of the utmost importance. A single degree incorrect at foot level can lead to swaying and leaning at higher back or shoulder levels.

What conditions are moulded orthotics used for?

Moulded orthotics can be used in the treatment of all of the following.

If the feet inroll or pronate this has the effect of increasing internal rotation of the whole leg and therefore greater pressure is placed on the hip joints during each step and also when standing still. 

Shock absorbing materials are used for hips to reduce shock and also to provide the correct support under the foot arches to correct the alignment. Podiatrists make many moulded orthotics where hip pain is present for use in walking ,sports and for running.

Moulded Orthotics are very effective for preventing, reducing and eliminating knee pains. They work by reducing shock and maintaining straight alignment. If the feet inroll or the alignment of the legs is not straight then greater forces go through the knee joints producing pains on standing and when walking or running. Orthotics can correct alignment and eliminate symptoms.  

Back Pain:
Moulded Orthotics are effective in eliminating or reducing lower back pain. They work by reducing the impact forces as the heel strikes down,reducing the shock going up the body. I use the best shock absorbing materials to reduce the shock in walking and running. Orthotics also stabilise the pelvis especially if one foot rolls in more than another. 

Moulded Orthotics are very effective in giving stability to ankles where the ankle joint is weakened or has twisted. Particularly when the lateral (outer) ligaments are weakened. By moulding an orthotic with a high outer border, the orthotic provides additional support for the ligaments to prevent subsequent twists of the ankle. Moulded orthotics fit exactly and prevent the rolling out and twisting. Many sports people who have had ankle twists wear orthotics especially football, rugby players and racket sports players. 

Achilles Tendonitis:
Moulded orthotics are used widely for Achilles tendonitis. The orthotics by stabilising any excess movement of the foot to roll in reduce sideways movements to the Achilles tendon. The orthotics material reduces jarring to the tendon and a small raise can be incorporated into the orthotic to reduce the pulling on the tendon from the calf muscle.