Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Pedorthist?

A pedorthist is an individual who is trained in the assessment, design, manufacture, fit and modification of foot appliances and footwear for the purposes of alleviating painful or debilitating conditions and providing assistance for abnormalities or limited actions of the lower limb. A pedorthist provides devices and footwear to assist in:

  • Accommodation of foot deformities
  • Re-alignment of anatomical structures
  • Redistribution of external and internal forces and pressure
  • Improvement of balance
  • Control of biomechanical function
  • Accommodation of circulatory special requirements
  • Enhancement of the actions of limbs compromised as a result of accident, congenital deformity, neural condition, or disease

Pedorthist – a person who provides medical grade footwear and/or orthotic appliances, and appropriate advice to a patient after assessment and analysis of the patient’s problem(s). This includes the provision of prefabricated footwear,  modification of prefabricated footwear, custom designed and manufactured footwear and/or orthotic appliances, and advice on the need and application of medical grade footwear, orthotic appliances, and other footwear.

What are some common conditions pedorthists can help with?

  • Metatarsalgia – pain in the ball of the foot
  • Plantar Fasciitis – pain in the heel or arch area of the foot
  • Numbness or Tingling in the toes
  • Achilles Tendinitis
  • Tibialis Posterior Tendinitis – shin splints
  • Arthritis – pain and swelling in the first toe joint and ankle
  • Diabetic foot
  • Bunions
  • Calluses
  • Knee Pain
  • Hip Pain
  • Low Back Pain
  • Leg Length Difference

These conditions are treated and can be alleviated by the re-alignment of anatomical structures and the redistribution of external and internal forces in the foot using orthoses. Orthoses can also help to accommodate foot deformities and improve balance.

What are orthoses (also called orthotics)?

An orthotic is any device used to support and align a part of the body. Custom-made foot orthotics are precision medical devices, worn inside shoes, that are custom-made to correct your specific imbalance. They are used to relieve pain, improve skeletal alignment or improve the function of your foot and lower limbs.

I can’t find appropriate footwear for my foot condition, what solution can a pedorthist offer?

Where prefabricated footwear is not appropriate, a Certified Pedorthist Custom Maker may prescribe and supply custom-made pedorthic footwear to correctly accommodate and support your feet & ankles and improve your gait.

I have a child with special needs. Do you provide orthotics and footwear for children?

Yes, we do. Our certified pedorthist members can manage conditions such as flat feet, club foot, sever’s syndrome and cerebral palsy.

What is the most common treatment for over pronation?

Over pronation can be controlled via foot orthoses/orthotics.

Anti-pronation orthotic insoles provide a unique foot support system that aligns the lower body. The major cause of foot and leg pain is over pronation (rolling over of the feet), which causes excessive pressure on the muscles, ligaments and bones of the lower body. These orthotic insoles treat the underlying cause of over pronation and prevent future occurrences of the associated foot or leg condition. Patients have reported relief of symptoms within 30 days of using orthotic insoles.

What can be done to treat and alleviate calluses?

Many people try to alleviate the pain caused by calluses by cutting or trimming them with a razor blade or knife. This is not the way to properly treat calluses. This is very dangerous and can worsen the condition resulting in unnecessary injuries. Diabetics especially should never try this type of treatment. In order to relieve the excessive pressure that leads to callus formation, weight should be redistributed equally with the use of an orthosis. An effective  foot orthotic transfers pressure away from the hot spots or high-pressure areas to allow the callus to heal. The orthotic should be made with materials that absorb shock and shear (friction) forces. Women should also steer away from wearing high-heeled shoes. If the problem persists, consult a doctor that specialises in feet. Recommendations for the prevention and curing of calluses:

  • Footwear with high, wide toe box (high and wide space in the toe area)
  • Removable insoles for fitting flexibility and the option to insert orthotics if necessary.
  • Rocker Soles designed to facilitate ambulating (walking) and to reduce callus build-up at the ball and other areas of the foot.
  • Custom moulded orthotic insoles designed to provide comfort, support and extra cushioning are also recommended.  Orthoses made with the material Plastazote are often recommended because they mould to your feet to provide customized comfort. The proper footwear and  orthoses will reduce pressure on a callus to provide a comfortable and healthy environment for the foot.

What are the most common treatment options for plantar fasciitis?

The key for the proper treatment of plantar fasciitis is determining what is causing the excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. When the cause is over-pronation,  a custom moulded orthotic with rear foot valgus posting and medial longitudinal arch support is an effective device to reduce the over-pronation and allow the condition to heal. The goal is to get the foot to be in more aligned or “neutral” position of approximately 90 degrees. Over-pronation that stresses the plantar fascia has the foot in more of a valgus position (foot collapsing inward).

Rocker bottom soles are beneficial in the propulsive phase of gait while walking. Rocker bottom soles help do some of the work for the foot and extrinsic muscles during supination so the body can get over the foot with less strain on the plantar fascia.  A pedorthist can add rockers to any footwear.

Medial flares and medial wedges are footwear modifications that can be done to your pre-existing footwear to offload and support the feet on the medial side (inside).

Every time your foot strikes the ground, the plantar fascia is stretched. You can reduce the strain and stress on the plantar fascia by taking precautions. Avoid running on hard or uneven ground, lose any excess weight, and wear shoes and orthoses that support, accommodate, and bio-mechanically offload your arch to prevent over-stretching of the plantar fascia. Cushion the heel, absorb shock and wear proper footwear that will accommodate and comfort the foot. Footwear with higher heel heights will help to offload the stress on the heel – where the plantar fascia inserts.

Recommendations for Plantar-Fasciitis:

  • Custom moulded orthotic insoles
  • Supportive Footwear like: Drew, Kumfs, Finn, Rockport and New Balance Sneakers
  • Shoe Modifications like: Rockerb ottom soles, medial wedges and medial flares.

What is the best footwear solution for people with bunions?

  • Wear wide fitting shoes, preferably with a leather upper which will allow a stretch
  • Avoid high heeled shoes
  • Orthotics can help slow the progression of the bunion and treat the associated symptoms