What are orthotics?

An orthotic device is a type of insole that can be fitted into your shoe. These can easily be swapped from shoe to shoe. At Bushey Foot Clinic we will write a prescription which takes into account factors such as symptoms, style of shoe, your normal type of activity/sport etc.

What is biomechanics?

Definition: ‘The study of the mechanical laws relating to the movement or structure of living organisms.’


Biomechanics, as applied to the foot, is concerned with how foot posture and alignment can have impact on other parts of the body during standing, walking running. Podiatrists can influence the foot’s mechanics by prescribing inserts in the shoes known as orthoses or orthotic devices.


Poor foot function can be improved with the use of orthotic devices. If the foot ‘rolls in’ excessively, a movement also known as pronation, this can impair the foot as an effective shock absorber, therefore causing problems elsewhere. Some problems that could be a result of poor foot functions are:

  • Pain in the joint of the big toe

  • Neuroma

  • Pain in the arch of the foot

  • Heel pain

  • Shin splints

  • Knee pain

  • Lower back pain

How are orthotic devices made?

We will initially take your medical history and ask about symptoms. How you stand and walk will be reviewed and various measurements are taken to look at the relationship between the foot and the leg. Once this is done a plaster-cast is taken of the foot in a corrected position. The finished cast is sent to an independent laboratory who makes the set of devices according to our Podiatrist’s prescription.


The devices take approximately 10-15 working days to be made from the time the cast is sent to the lab. Express orders can be returned in approximately one week for an additional charge.

Will these fit into all my shoes?

This is dependent on shoe type. We will ask you to bring in an example of the style of shoe you normally wear. Orthotic devices are custom-made so it is possible to make the devices low profile or with reduced bulk to allow them to fit into shoes with limited space. You might have certain shoes that you will not be able to wear your devices with, e.g. high heels.

Can orthotic devices be made for different styles of shoes?

Yes, orthotic devices can be made for specialist sports shoes e.g. trainers, golf shoes, football boots, ski boots. Orthotics can also be made for smarter shoes and sandals.

Can I wear the orthotic devices immediately?

Yes, but remember that your gait and posture will subtly change when you start wearing orthotics and we recommend a period of ‘wearing in’. This typically involves wearing your devices for no longer than 20 minutes on the first day and gradually building up the time you wear them – this normally takes about a week.

How long do I have to wear them?

You orthotic devices help to reduce the symptoms of poor foot function whilst they are being worn. Without them, symptoms can reoccur. Children will outgrow their orthotic devices once their feet have grown approximately 11/2 shoe sizes - a new cast will then need to be made.

Will I have to have another cast and biomechanical exam if I want new orthotics?

Not always. The laboratory will do a 3D scan of the cast and a record is kept indefinitely. As long as your feet don’t change significantly it is usually possible to reorder insoles of either an exact copy or devices for other styles of shoe. If a few years have passed since the fitting of orthotic devices it might be necessary to take a new cast. Children will need to have a new cast once they outgrow their devices.

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