To buy orthotics, or not?

The importance of foot mobility

I hear a lot about people wanting orthotics, and how that will “fix their alignment issues”.

But you see I don’t get that at all. As humans we have evolved from being always barefoot, to now having shoes on for most of our days.

Do you really think that whilst we were in the wild, hunting and gathering for our meals that arch support in any way bothered us?

In my opinion; the fact is, supportive shoes are not the be all and end all for many of my clients with foot and lower limb complaints. I believe they can cause the foot to become more rigid and indeed contribute to developing leg pain.

I am not suggesting that there is not a place for orthotics in the medical world of musculoskeletal conditions (indeed I have used them myself at certain periods), but that a true analysis of the entire lower limb is required.

Let’s take shin splints. It is a given that this is related to loading going up the leg, and the foot is a main component of which. But in my opinion without a thorough analysis of what is happening from the big toe to the thoracic spine, and possibly above, then orthotics very well might be a waste of your hard earned cashola.

If, for example, someone is not activating well through their deep hip muscles (which control rotation of the femur bone when we walk) then this might allow rotation inwards of the femur and then rotation of the tibia. This then presents as a rolling inwards of the foot, and may even develop foot pain. Thus, the functional pronation may be a symptom rather than a cause –  which is simplistically what most orthotics are trying to fix.

Suddenly that $600 for your custom orthotics sounds pretty steep.



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