Pedorthics in Australia evolved from the field of surgical or orthopaedic boot making . All footwear was historically crafted by trained bootmakers/shoemakers . When footwear manufacture moved into larger-scale industrial settings, the generalist bootmaker transitioned to work in shoe factories, shoe repair services or retail shops . The specialist maker continued to produce custom-made footwear and some of them developed relationships with hospitals, orthopaedic surgeons, or specialist societies that looked after people who needed medical grade footwear .
Prefabricated medical grade footwear appeared in Australia during the late 1980s . Prefabricated footwear is commonly known as ‘ready-made’ ‘extra-depth, or ‘off-the-shelf’ footwear. This type of footwear offered more choice to people who had trouble with standard footwear but did not need custom-made footwear . Prefabricated medical grade footwear can be modified to solve foot problems, which led to the development of specialist footwear modifiers .
In 2001, the Pedorthic Association of Australia (PAA) brought custom-made footwear, prefabricated footwear and modified footwear together. The PAA developed a pedorthic certification system based on a national training package . Education and training evolved further with the launch of the Bachelor of Pedorthics at Southern Cross University (SCU) in 2013.
Today’s pedorthists carry a unique set of clinical and technical skills: –
Pedorthists are certified health care professionals.
Pedorthists prescribe prefabricated and custom-made orthopaedic footwear, foot orthotics and ankle braces, and compression garments to treat foot and lower limb conditions.
There are three levels of Certified Pedorthists (CPed) in Australia.
Pedorthists in Australia undergo specialised education and training and are certified by the Australian Pedorthists Registration Board (APRB).
- Pedorthic retailers (CRetPed Au) specialise in advice, fitting, and provision of prefabricated orthopaedic footwear and orthotic appliances.
- Pedorthists (CPed Au) assess clients and modify or customise footwear to meet patient needs and provide prefabricated or custom-made foot orthotics.
- Pedorthist Custom Makers (CPedCM Au) are involved in all aspects of orthopaedic footwear and orthotic appliances, including patient assessment, prefabricated and modified footwear, and prescription, design and manufacture of custom-made footwear and orthotics.
Pedorthists practice all over Australia, with many pedorthists found in capital cities and regional towns. Currently, the ACT, NSW, QLD, VIC, and WA have pedorthists servicing their communities.
Comprehensive and careful assessment are an integral part of our role.
Pedorthists will seek to understand the cause of your foot problem and work together with you to find the best solution.
Pedorthic services include:
- Comprehensive assessments of a patient’s feet and legs
- Developing a personalised treatment plan
- Providing custom-made foot orthotics or prefabricated devices
- Fitting clients with appropriate footwear
- Modifying footwear to accommodate problem areas and biomechanical needs
- Prescribing and supplying custom-made pedorthic footwear when prefabricated or modified footwear is unsuitable.
- Educating people about foot and lower limb health.
Pedorthists like problem-solving.
Pedorthists employ various clinical, technical, and creative skills to find practical and positive solutions to foot problems.
Examples include: –
- finding, modifying, or making a shoe for a foot that has changed shape
- accommodating painful or prominent areas
- improving alignment to achieve more effective movement
- altering forces acting on the foot to reduce pain and stress.
Pedorthists value teamwork.
Pedorthists operate in retail settings, as well as the public and private health sectors. They frequently work together with GPs, podiatrists, physiotherapists, orthopaedic surgeons and other healthcare providers to help people attain lower limb health and function. They may form part of a multidisciplinary health care team, such as a High-Risk Foot Clinic or work within a rehabilitation team. An increasing number of podiatrists are also certified pedorthists and can offer comprehensive lower limb healthcare and medical treatment. Pedorthists are also collaborators in health research.
Pedorthists care about keeping you happy, healthy, and mobile.
Pedorthic treatment can alleviate pain, improve balance, increase circulation, and restore movement and mobility. In addition, by providing appropriate orthotic devices and footwear, Pedorthists help to accommodate foot deformities, realign foot and lower limb anatomy, and redistribute weight properly across the foot.
Pedorthists help with a wide range of foot and lower limb injuries and conditions. Common conditions include:
- Foot pain
- Plantar fasciitis (pain symptoms in the heel or arch area of the foot)
- Metatarsalgia (pain symptoms in the ball of the foot)
- Achilles Tendinitis
- Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (shin splints)
- Callus (when an area of the skin thickens in response to repeated stress)
- Knee, hip and back pain
- Sports injuries
- Leg length difference
- Balance issues
- Overpronation or under pronation
- Cerebral Palsy
- Charcot Marie Tooth disease
Pedorthists also treat patients with less common conditions such as post-polio syndrome, Angelman syndrome, Rett Syndrome, hypermobility syndromes and other rare diseases that can affect the lower limbs and feet.
Pedorthic clients are people of all ages, abilities, diversities, and cultures. Pedorthists aim to create a welcoming, respectful, and inclusive environment for everyone.
 Schott, K.H. (2020). Pedorthics in Australia. Pedorthics Quarterly.