How Orthotics Can Reduce Pain and Improve Movement

In the quest to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, many individuals encounter various forms of musculoskeletal pain and movement challenges.

Orthotics, a commonly recommended solution, play a crucial role in addressing these issues, offering a blend of comfort and support. This article delves into the science behind orthotics, exploring how they can significantly reduce pain and enhance movement.

Understanding Orthotics: More Than Just Insoles

Orthotics are devices worn inside shoes with the intent to correct biomechanical foot issues, such as problems with walking, standing, or running. They can also try to help in managing pain caused by medical conditions such as diabetes, plantar fasciitis, bursitis, and arthritis.

While often confused with regular shoe inserts, orthotics can be tailor-made to fit the unique contours of an individual’s foot in an attempt to address specific medical conditions.

The Admirable Objectives of Orthotics Should Be:

Correcting Biomechanical Imbalances

Orthotics may try to align the foot and ankle into the most anatomically efficient position by
correcting over-pronation or over-supination, which are common causes of foot, knee, and hip
pain.

By realigning the feet and ankles, orthotics may also try distribute weight more evenly and reduce
joint stress, thereby reducing pain.

Cushioning & Support

For those suffering from conditions like arthritis or plantar fasciitis, orthotics may try to provide
additional cushioning and support.

This cushioning should help to absorb shock and relieve pressure on painful areas of the foot, such as the heel or ball of the foot.

Improving Foot Function

By providing proper arch support, orthotics should enhance the foot’s natural functionality.

This support should lead to improved balance and mobility, especially in individuals with flat feet or
high arches.

Enhancing Overall Stability

Orthotics should improve stability in the foot, and in turn benefit the entire lower kinetic chain,
including knees, hips, and lower back.

This increased stability should lead to better posture and movement efficiency.

Types of Orthotics

functional orthotics

​Functional Orthotics

Designed to control abnormal motion, these are typically made of a semi-rigid material like plastic or graphite. They are used to treat foot pain caused by abnormal motion and to treat injuries such as shin splints or tendinitis.

Accommodative Orthotics

These are softer and meant to provide additional cushioning and support. They are often used to treat diabetic foot ulcers, painful calluses on the bottom of the foot, and other conditions that cause discomfort.

​Stepflex Orthotics

​​​​Step Flex orthotics are a type of proprioceptive innersoles that are
manufactured in Germany and are available in many countries across the globe, including Australia.

They were first introduced to Australia in 2004 and have been fitted to many feet, either by doctors and therapists or through the Step Flex team.

Step Flex orthotics are designed to be both functional and accommodative. They are designed according to a principle which is quite the opposite of the one that is applied to almost all traditional orthotics.

The Step Flex Approach

The Step Flex approach is this:  The foot will change its shape to an improper shape from wearing improper footwear. Similarly, by wearing the well-balanced Step Forward orthotic, the foot can regain its correct shape and restore a proper balance and posture.

What is different about Step Flex Orthotics? 

Most foot supports are made to fit the shape of unbalanced or troubled feet. Such orthotics will not correct problems. They will provide a kind of crutch that will try to enable the sufferer to move around on
unchanged defective feet.

In stark contrast, Step Flex orthotics are made to the shape of a perfect foot. Your feet will gradually adapt and conform to this correct shape of the orthotic, thus enabling your feet to work more like nature intended.

Step Flex orthotics flex as you walk, much like walking barefoot on sand, grass, dirt, mud and gravel. You can expect relief from the pains caused by poor body alignment.

Before wearing Step Flex orthotics, your troubled feet will have been walking on their bones and your under-developed muscles will need to be strengthened steadily over a period of weeks. If Step Flex
orthotics are worn properly your muscles and ligaments will learn to conform to the proper shape of the
orthotic and enable your feet them to work more like nature intended.

Why should we want to mould orthotics to match the shape of your feet if your feet are the wrong shape?
It is much better to change the shape of the feet back to what we know is the correct shape (i.e. the Step
Flex shape). 

Your foot has three arches – Not one.

It is generally not realized that the foot has three arches, not one:

  • Medial
  • Lateral and
  • Metatarsal arches.

​The largest and best-known of the foot’s arches is the medial arch which forms the long hollow under the inner side of the foot.

The smaller lateral arch, on the outside of the foot, lies parallel to the medial arch.

The metatarsal arch reaches across the underside of foot immediately behind the toes.

Your foot has three arches: Medial, Lateral and Metatarsal.

Step Flex orthotics are light, flexible, and comfortable. They provide ideal support and alignment to the three arches, of the foot aligning knees, hips, and back.

Step Flex orthotics are also economical and good value

Step Flex orthotics are also economical and good value, with a typical life of 10-15 years.

They can be swapped from shoe to shoe, and fit 90% of footwear.

They increase circulation, strengthen the foot, and are used by athletes for better performance.

Getting Fitted for Step Flex Orthotics

The process of getting fitted for orthotics typically involves a thorough examination of your feet, ankles,
and legs and the simple process of taking an impression of the size, shape and alignment of your feet.

The therapist will look at your physical activities and any current pain points to advise on the appropriate
orthotics for you.

Your musculoskeletal therapist can conduct this examination.

Conclusion

Step Flex 0rthotics offer a comprehensive solution to foot-related pain and movement issues. By
addressing the underlying biomechanical imbalances, providing necessary support and cushioning, and
enhancing overall foot function, orthotics can significantly improve quality of life.

For those considering orthotics, consulting with a foot-care musculoskeletal specialist like Michael R E
Butler is an essential first step in understanding how these devices can specifically benefit their individual
needs.


With the right pair of orthotics, many individuals find they can move more comfortably and live more
actively.